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November 16, 2007

Formula for Happiness

This whole NaBloPoMo goal of posting a blog entry every day this month is going to be even easier than we thought. Why? Because we're exploiting yet another evil slutty guest blogger! Honestly, it's not just laziness on our parts... we can't help it if our friends are so awesome and talented!

So without further ado, we bring you... Chiquita:

Try to imagine this: you just walk in the door to hear the phone ring. Picking it up, you have the following conversation:

"Hey, honey, it's me. How was your day?"

"Oh, fine; I just walked in the door. Is that your tachometer going?"

"Oh, yeah--I'm trying out a new speed for Wagner."

"Will you be coming over tonight for dinner?"

"Nah, I have to get this down--remember that concert coming up this weekend?"
Now, the couple above...is married. Living apart. Next door. This is the life of this couple: married, living apart. My husband and I are very much in love, granted, we're also newlyweds; however, I've often wondered what it would be like to have a house of my own, decorated just so, and to be free to live as messily or as neurotically cleanly as I pleased. Initially, when reading about successful married couples like the one above, my reaction is...I'm utterly appalled. Indeed, do they have SEX? Do they even TALK? I can't help but think it must be something like having a relationship with your neighbor that doesn't end up with your neighbor's toothbrush in your bathroom. The most natural thing in the world, or so I thought, was for a relationship to progress from a twosome living in separate domiciles to cohabiting a single residence. Having reviewed the national divorce statistics for the US, however, it's easy to see that the standard definition of marriage may not be contributing to marital happiness. So, what could be the outcome of a couple that chooses to reside in separate residences, yet remain, hopefully happily, together?

  • Decreased physical availability of partner for connubial consumption. (How the hell are you going to have sex if your partner spends his/her nights somewhere else?)
  • Kids, should one choose to reproduce; where are you going to raise them?
  • Increased dependence on yourself.
  • Finances: can one afford separate residences?
  • Dissatisfaction with relationship.
However, I've begun to see that the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks. Witness:

  • Increased independence. Hey, having to rely on yourself to change a lightbulb or fix a broken pipe may be character-enhancing.
  • Ability to decorate as you please.
  • Perhaps greater sexual satisfaction.
  • Greater reliance on communication to bridge gaps in differences.
That said, I can see a good argument for why a couple should, at least for a brief period of time, live apart, especially for the woman half of the pair. Far too many women rely on a man to provide for all their material and emotional needs instead of focusing inward on their strengths and capitalizing on them. Remaining independent even in a relationship is rationally sound, although perhaps not emotionally; indeed, a couple would need to be committed to communication and reserving judgment in order to make the leap of faith required, even if they live in apartment units next to each other. However, should one side of the pairing be otherwise incapacitated (i.e., rendered "dead"), the other would still be able to function, suspending emotional grief--an important concept where women are concerned, as too many expect their partners to either outlive them, or to provide a living that sustains them beyond the passing of their husbands (or partners, as in the case of non-traditional pairings). Maybe someday I'll have my small country manor where close friends drop by for tea on a nearly daily basis, next door to my husband's foreboding Tudor mansion with a pack of Dobermans, but until then, I'm quite happy being independent living with, and arguing with, and having sex with, my husband.


Adam said...

"Maybe someday I'll have my small country manor where close friends drop by for tea on a nearly daily basis, next door to my husband's foreboding Tudor mansion with a pack of Dobermans"

I loved this. This shows exactly the reason WHY it's sometimes a good idea to have separate, clearly defined areas. I'm trying to imagine both of those personalities in the same house, and it just ends up... well, funny or just sad.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how to respond to this other than to say in SO FL this would require tons of $$ to do, as I am sure it would in NY. Taxes here run about 25K/year/million in valuation, so about 2K/month in property tax per residence. Then insurance runs about 5K/year per 350K coverage, so if you had two homes in NY with $1M value each, you would be on the hook for about $6.5K/month for the two houses, even if you paid $2M cash for them and had no mortgage. Nice if you can afford it, which I am sure most people can, of course!

I always thought that the secret to a happy marriage was separate bathrooms, but mine did not work out even with that. Maybe it has something to do with love, respect, and selflessness, but what the heck do I know? If you can afford to have side-by-side houses in NY, you can probably have your marriage set-up any way you want it to be. I suppose that there are stranger things than that going on around the city!