Saturday, June 8, 2013

Yet Another Way Dating Just Makes The Crazy Happen

After a certain amount of time in a serious relationship, women almost always reach the point where they are ready to cohabitate. To nest, as it were. If they don't, they are probably not in a relationship with someone they see as a long-term partner. Women are a dormant explosion of floral arrangements and doilies on the couch just waiting for a man (or woman) to come along and spring the timer into action. I have heard that there are men out there who are excited by the idea of domestic bliss, but, like men with feelings,  these are just urban legends created to instill hope in the hearts of women who have nothing more to come home to than the occasional hairball and a reproachful look for not topping off the food dish before leaving for work. 

This movement in relationships stuff is the sort of thing that is important to women. We're all about the "taking the relationship to the next level" shit. Some of us could be having the most mind-altering sex in the entire world and would still be thinking about how we were going to progress this relationship. The man is, of course, merely ecstatic about being able to put his penis in his girlfriend. Those of us who have experienced that scenario should probably start reading articles on living in the moment and taking up self-enriching meditation, but whatever. Obviously the Dhali Lama never had to worry about how to get his S.O. to make room in the dresser.

Men don't want things to change. If things are good, why fix it? Unless it's souping up that beater car he's had in the garage for the last thirteen years, then by all means, fix the shit out that! Change could put them into something they don't like. Or something bad that happened to them before could happen again!! That's SCARY!! And, it's a trap. Once you make that decision, there's no turning back. Ever. Moving in together is the Alcatraz of relationships! Once you're in there, you're in there for life! You couldn't possibly re-evaluate and try something else.

Many women want to live with their partners for a variety of reasons. These could be practical like saving money by splitting the expenses, or emotionally fulfilling by having romantic companionship and being able to explore life with someone. Or perhaps it's having someone to dissect their first impression of you from the first time they saw you.  At one in the morning, while they're trying to go to sleep, when they have a meeting in the morning. We are genetically geared to find someone to share our lives with. Even the most reclusive (yours truly) of the XX chromosomes crave the comfort of belonging in a home. Of actually having a home base to operate from. We get all squishy about that crap. And "his" and "hers" towels. We dig those too. Many men often see this situation as the inevitable restriction of being able to enjoy things they love, being forced to give up all hobbies except for what they can do as a couple while discussing feelings at all times, and losing any sense of privacy they have left. They also see the potential for being responsible for someone else's happiness and well-being. Living together means that she no longer has any need of friends or family, she's got a MAN! 

At this point the relationship has now hit a standoff. Girl wants to live with Guy and snuggle at night, take family photos with the cats, pick out matching sheet sets, have dinner together and all that stuff. Guy enjoys doing those things with Girl, but this is a COMMITMENT. He is resistant to agreeing to such a thing. There is so much for him to do in life! He needs to catalog his beer collection, finish painting the house, re-floor the living room, and all sorts of things that having Girl around 24/7 would Get. In. The. Way. Of!!! She wouldn't be helpful, she would suck the life out of him! She might prove to be a lazy, selfish, awful, AWFUL girlfriend! Why can't they just stay the way they are? Forever. Unfortunately, once the "I need to be with you full-time" time-bomb goes off, it can't easily be swept under the rug. It's a gnawing little beast that takes on a life of its own as it gets stronger and stronger. Conversations go from, "how was your day?" to "Are we going to live together yet?" in a matter of seconds. 

After the Cohabitation Monster has reared its ugly head, Guy and Girl have two choices: they can go their separate ways and try to find a relationship that works for what they want, or they can figure out a way to live together and see how it goes. There is a small section of people who will try multiple other scenarios (polyamory, living next door to each other, etc), but those are often the choices after the failure of the two most common solutions. Generally, if the couple goes with option A, they will often get back together shortly. The two people are in love (or at least full of the hormones that stimulates the love thing) and enjoy being around each other. It will normally take two or three go-rounds for them to realize that they have to completely sever contact, or they will go with Option B and move in together.

Once the couple moves in together there will be a short period (anywhere from a few months to a couple years) where they will be in honeymoon stage and ecstatic and whatnot. Redecorating will happen, they will do everything together, everything is exciting and covered in fairy dust. They will cute the shit out of dinner parties until their friends don't even want them around anymore. Then,  provided they haven't bred, after a certain amount of time, they will slowly go back to their normal behavior. Breeding causes another variable to be introduced to the equation and who knows what will happen. If no breeding has happened, Guy will go back to being able to play in his man-cave with his toys and drink beer with his friends and basically do whatever he wants. He will play with his computer and memorize the periodic table while taking yodeling classes. Girl will go back to hanging out with her friends, going to her groups, and talking about her feelings with people who actually want to hear about them. She will return to her fitness habits and will go on trips to see family members that he would rather chew his arm off than sit in the same room with. They are exactly the way Guy wanted things to be. Exactly how it was before they moved in together, except they now touch feet while falling asleep (as cuddling is way too warm) and bills are less detrimental to the paycheck.

This is a common scenario, most of you know exactly what I'm talking about. I have hit this point in perhaps three relationships. Obviously, I've always chosen option A, but there are those who have actually found someone they love being around, or at least they enjoy the cheaper living situation. And then, after all the struggle, after all the discussions, the fighting, the negotiating, the fear of being smothered in love... this is the most common thing I've heard from men after moving in with their girlfriends:

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