Sunday, March 13, 2011

Les Maisons

Holla, velvet-tippers!

What's going on?

Lots of things are going on around here.  

I'm speaking on a queer panel at Loyola University on Thursday night at 7:30.  
[via ohcardigan]
I'm completely excited!
And...really nervous. 

Past events have proven to me that public speaking is not, um, my forte.  
[by cecart]
How 'bout no.

It's actually kind of odd how nervous I get.
It doesn't make sense.  
For cryin' out loud, I'm an ex-Mormon.

Mormon children are raised speaking in public.  

On the first Sunday of every month, Mormons hold a testimony meeting.  

Anyone can get up and speak, but particular pleasure (and learning from the innocents!)  is taken from watching children still unsteady on their feet toddle up to the microphone to bear their 'testimonies.' 
While all my church friends were standing in front of the entire congregation from the time they could lisp out, "I know thith churth ith true, I love my mom and dad and thitherth and brotherths, I know Josepth Thmith wath a prophet"...

I was never that kid.  I only went up to the pulpit a few times in living memory. 

My mom, encouraging me to bear my testimony more, told me it would be a funny thing to try and picture everybody naked. 
Church seemed a weird place to picture my Sunday School teacher, Sister J,  without her dress on, but... 

Sister J was sitting in the third row back, smiling at me, wearing a floral denim jumper and a turtleneck. 
I was eight.
I had a good imagination.

I could picture her naked easily, looking at her while giving my testimony.

And then I just kind of...trailed off.
[via eyeh8pie]
As I grew older, the public speaking thing grew more pronounced at school.

Never exactly shy, I would still clench my fists, digging my fingernails into my palms, if I needed to get up and write on the chalkboard, explaining how I got the fraction.
[via lesfemmes]
Things came to a head in the 4th grade.
Every week, we had a spelling bee.

I always memorized my spelling word list in preparation. 

As the spelling bee circle commenced, I would furiously calculate which word would be mine to spell when it was my turn.

Waiting for "dandelion" or "rhythm" to land on me wasn't the problem - I knew perfectly well how to spell the words.

It was knowing that I'd have to speak while everyone was watching me.
[via bikinifetish]
To combat anxiety, I would unconsciously clench my ass cheeks together really hard, then relax each buttock - first one, then the other. 
Then clench! 

Then relaaaaax. 
Juuuust waitin' my turn.  

I used to do this in bed all the time, when trying to fall asleep. 

[via r-v-l]
I would marvel at my god-like ability to command my body to do my least bidding, and ponder why I could easily relax my right buttcheek, when my left one seemed more reluctant.

It's actually hard to do it while standing - you have to really focus.
It must have looked hilarious. 

Now: I was still wearing leggings with puffy-painted sweatshirts every day at this point - I hadn't yet reconciled myself to wearing uncomfortable clothes like jeans.

My nervous, twitching buttcheek dance would have been all too visible.
And finally one week, a girl in my class, Jackie, noticed.  

She nudged Kelly, next to her. Kelly nudged Ricky next to her, and pointed. 

Tittering commenced.

Vacation. V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. Vacation.

Clench! Right cheek, relax.  
Left one....relax.

Product. P-R-O-D-U-C-T. Product.

Pretty soon, the whole class was in hysterical giggles. 

Watching me bob, minutely, up and down, silently mouthing along with the spelling bee in my giant glasses.
Mid-ass squeeze, I glanced around the standing circle of my peers.

All eyes were on my thin cotton leggings.

One of the girls, Jackie, couldn't hold it in anymore, and burst out, "Omigod, what are you doing with your butt?"

[by pastel]
Pandemonium ensued.

I became a 'jeans' girl overnight.

So, public speaking, right? Thursday! 
Should be good.
[via joisnotagirlsname]
Also keeping me busy: CJ and I have been having Living Discussions.

We've been tossing around the idea of getting our own apartments.  
[via lesfemmes]
Staying together, but living separately.  
Hopefully within walking distance.

There are two main reasons:

1)  I've never lived by myself. 
[via lesfemmes]
You guys, I'm 28 years old
And I've never lived by myself. 
Without a roommate. 

Nothing in the house, apart from books and clothes, is mine.
I don't own a single dish, pot, pan, stick of furniture, or piece of art.
I cannot picture how I would decorate a space that is wholly mine, because I have no idea what my taste is when left to my own devices.  

And...I think that's a little odd.

I also cannot imagine what I would do with my time if I came home, every single night, to just myself. 
[by becylouise]
And that's even odder. 

I've always, always had a roommate or a girlfriend for a social crutch. 

What happens when you kick the crutch away?
[by Betty turns blue]
2)  CJ is entering her thesis year at school, and she needs. more. space.  

Her art stuff is taking over everything and making us both crazy.
And she needs more time to do work.

We moved here so she could go to school, and I want to give her license to be as selfish as she wants with her time during her thesis year - free to be in her studio from 6 a.m - midnight, six days a week. 
[via hibutterfly]
And while she's doing schooly things, I want to be selfish with my time.

Get to know myself again.
[via artpixie]
But: that leaves us with moving into separate apartments in the city.

And - who knew? this is a HUGE relationship taboo.  
Friends are creasing their foreheads with concern. 

Apparently, you can move in together, but you cannot move out again without the relationship being over. 

Other faggettes keep telling me that you can't go backwards in a relationship - only forwards.
[via leviconverze]

Do y'allfags think that's true? 
'Cause now I'm worried.
Maybe this isn't such a good idea.
[via gloomy-sunday]
My eloquent friend Nadine and her husband Chris came to stay with us for a night, and we walked to dinner.

Holding onto Nadine's elbow to steady her as she picked her way through the slush in completely inappropriate spike heels, I told her all my troubles.
[Nadine Dubois]
Nadine listened thoughtfully and said, "You know, this is one area in which I think the gays actually have more flexibility than the straights. 
I think that because you already live outside of what society expects you to do, you're more open to exploring alternative living situations."

Alternative living situations.  
I like that. 
[via sapphoria]
In my head, my ideal alternative living situation involves me being very rich, with 2 - 3 face-meltingly hot gay women, all of whom love each other and me equally, with all of us living in a kind of harem in a totally gutted, modern house in San Francisco.  

(It'll look like an issue of Dwell, minus the photos of blond children in stripy tights playing in their Ikea-ed-as-fuck rooms.)

[via sunspot]
If the harem doesn't, for some reason, work out, I want what Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had: two side-by-side houses, joined by a bridge. 

The Frida situation is kind of what CJ and I are hoping for now.

But - are people right?  

Can you take step back in your relationship?  

Or is this a venture doomed to failure?

I've never talked to any dykes who've done this.  
It would seem that the only thing gayelles are good at is moving in.

Do relationships only have fast forward buttons?
[via wallofbooks]
Has anyone out there ever tried something different?


  1. I've never tried it but I think it's brilliant. You're both on the same page about why you want to do it, you both want to do it, and hell, you can squeeze your butt-cheeks in private all you want.

    Fuck the naysayers. You don't sound for a sec like you're takin' a step back. How is this different from couples who decide to live apart in different cities for education or work reasons?

    You sound really positive about it. That's the key. Make it happen.

    And try not to squeeze when you speak.

  2. It doesn't sound like this is a step back for you two at all. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Get your separate apartments. It sounds perfect.

  3. if this came up whilst talking about the thesis, ya'll should be fine.
    funny story: first date with a girl, i get drunk because i didn't know vodka takes a while and hits ya all at once. she has two beers. we make out after i politely ask "do you want to be friends or do you want to make out?" she replies what would you like to do? and I say "make out" obviously.
    People in the bar are staring at us crazy lezzies making out like wild animals (i've only dated two girls before... and i'm a virgin at this point) so she seems annoyed with some guys across the bar who are cheering us on.
    I once again, in my drunken brilliance, suggest we go to her house to make out. She resists until I touch her leg. She also mentioned she was "soooo fucking horny" whilst we were making out, so I figure the feeling is mutual.
    Cut to her house, she takes of her pants and underwear, while i'm barely considering whether my masturbatory habit will help out in this situation. Finger-banging away she stops and says, you don't have to do this. so i stop and she puts her clothes back on.
    Next time we slow down, and I don't get a good night kiss. I see her for a third time and we make out on my bed for hours. I have never been so fucking turned on in my life. The next day she goes to Kansas, tells me her sister works at a strip joint and that she got a free lap dance. I get upset... she cancels and reschedules and I see her one more time before she gives me the boot and says that all I wanted to do was make out, and we were supposed to take a step back and we never did. She looks like Brittany from glee. My hand is no longer a virgin, but I remain extremely unsatisfied.

  4. all this talk about leggings and jeans got me hoping for a jeggings tangent. can we talk about their role in our community?

    as for the alt living situation, if you can afford it-go for it. you sound saner than most cohabitation by obligation couples.

  5. i am left to wonder how you could be in the way of her art-making? it sounds like maybe this is a big hint that you need to pick up some time-consuming major project that will get you out of her hair. artist's tend to get all worked up about making GOOD art (making art that is ABOUT the right things, spending enough TIME making art, etc) and if you don't want to end up as a scapegoat for why-anything-isn't-going-well then you should get something good going for yourself and get out of the way, fast.

  6. I like it.

    Not only because it seems like you both agree that this is the best thing and that you will drive each other crazy not doing it (insert epic screaming match) but because it means you have the chance to...
    Acquire more useless shit. That's right. Books. Clothes. Knicknacks. Porn. Whatever. Things that you don't get when you're living with someone else because ohmygod where will it go and i don't have space and what if she judges it and i really don't need a spice-girls-shaped phone (lies).

    When I win the lottery separate-yet-attached apartments (think connected hotel rooms) will be the ultimate living goal.

  7. Okay, woah, who ever said that it's taking a step back in a relationship if you're doing what needs to be done? She's working on her thesis, she needs to get in her zone and often being really caught up in a passion and producing one's best work does mean letting all kinds of relationships simmer for a bit before being put on full boil again.

    Its counter-intuitive but giving your gf(?) her own space and moving out is beneficial to the both of you because A) It's a testimony to how much yall care about each other as individuals B) It demonstrates faith in how strong the relationship is and C) Progress means doing what's right for both of you as individuals, not what's right by society's standards.

    For example, my girlfriend and I live well over 400 miles away from each other. Comparably, you'd live steps away and the appreciation and respect you'd garner for and from each other by moving out so each of you can focus on yourselves will only strengthen the relationship.

    I think it's a great idea and yall should go for it if it feels right. People who shudder at the thought of giving each other space, especially for reasons like CJ's, are, frankly, insecure.

  8. I think it's a good idea, it can work if you can afford it. But another idea might be if you are spending money on your own place and she is spending money on her place, bit here is an idea before yu go through moving- why not take all that money and just getting a bigger place with tons of room for her art stuff and your new spiffy do-dads you want? =)

  9. Annie liebowitz and her partner susan sontag were together for some 20(?) Plus years and they never lived together. They had apartments in paris that looked on to each other so they could go out to their balconies and wave at each other. lovely. The same people who say you can't take a step backwards are the ones who end up breaking up because they try too hard to fit convention.

  10. It's a good idea; and certainly not taking a step back, more like a lateral move that has a lot of practical reasons.

    However, I'd caution you that any new adventure (like living alone for the first time at 28!) opens the door for both welcomed and unexpected (and maybe unwanted) realizations. Alternative ways of maintaining intimacy in your new alternative living situation, will be key to not growing apart.

    Good luck! Practice (not reciting in your mind but saying it out loud) is underrated. It WILL help if your nerves hit and the butt clenches - the tongue will prevail ;-)

  11. I have nothing helpful to add, except that I'm the girl with the brown hair and glasses doing duckface in the third or so photo. Pissed myself laughing when I came looking for a new Effing Dykes fix and saw myself.

    I think so long as you're both changing your housing arrangements for the same reasons, and you stay open with each other about it, then you're doing the right thing.

  12. I have the impression, and not knowing you I could be wrong, that you need people around you at all times. That's not a bad thing, just the way you're wired (if this is true). If so, is this your way of looking at the bright side of CJ's idea? But it also sounds like you have an open relationship, so having others over might keep you happy?

  13. Oh gosh, that's my ideal living situation! I hate having someone on top of me all the time (living space-wise, you pervs!). Go for it! Sounds good to me!

  14. Why does it have to be a step back to live apart? Maybe it's the step forward you've really been waiting for, and it's only been these pressures that have made it easy to do. People live in all kinds of different permutations, and since it's rarer to do it this way, you probably just don't know any of them. But they're out there, living happily next door to each other. It seems like you both have really great reasons for wanting to do this, so I see no reason you shouldn't Go For It! :)

    Oh, and when I moved out to live alone, all that happened without having someone to unload troubles on was that I cried a lot in the beginning. But you know what's great about that.. no one can hear you! Yayyy, for living alone! But all joking aside, it has been a very good and necessary step in life. I hope yours is just as helpful and inspiring! Good luck!

  15. It's not uncommon; in fact, it's apparently currently trendy amongst couples of all sorts. Look up Living Apart Together:

  16. I think when people say shit like oh that's taking a step back that means they aren't busy taking enough risks in their own lives and also they've accidentally forgotten that life is different from tv so they aren't commenting on cheesy drama but instead on someones actual life. How does anyone else know what is going to feel right to you and your gf? What if this year gives you both more dimensions which give you more to love about each other?


  17. My ideal living situation involves separate residences. It really depends on the needs of the people involved, be it two or six.

    I'm left brained introvert who sleeps very, very lightly. I need lots of time and privacy, or I am completely useless to anyone. As much as the idea of snuggling up with someone to sleep sounds wonderful, for me it doesn't work practically. At the very least separate bedrooms are a must.

    Snoring is a complete deal breaker for me. Knowing myself as well as I do, I realized a long tome ago that a large, noisy, social household has no appeal whatsoever for me.

    I think it's awesome that you are thinking about getting your own place. Having a place.of your own will feel very different. It's not taking a step backwards at all - it's recognizing what the dynamics are and honoring your needs.

  18. Ok, so my ideal has always been more Frida Kahlo - y too. But I am actually someone (someone queer) who has done the live together and then move out thing. So, my ex and I lived together for over two years (closer to three, really). We moved out a year ago last August. We broke up in January. One of the things that made me feel better about it when considering it was talking to an acquaintance (straight) who had lived together and then moved out from (not moving to seperate cities, of course) an ex. They stayed together for a year afterwards. Anyway, I've never heard from someone who has lived with and then moved out from someone and stayed together forever. But I've know (and been) people who's done that for a decent long while. I know for a fact that my recent ex (we're still friends, of course) and I would have broken up much longer ago if we didn't move out. But I think that if you've moved out, and it's been a year or more, and then you break up, it's because it was never going to work in the forever way. It's not that you moved out. Although, FYI, part (although only part) of why I NEEDED my own fucking space was the thesis...

  19. I honestly think that if me and my ex had tried this (along with a non-monogamous set up) we would still be together now. We both definitely needed space from each other after 3-and-a-half fairly intense (and mostly awesome) years living together... and we did discuss the whole being-together-but-living-seperately thing but neither of us were brave enough to commit to attempting a whole new version of our relationship. And so we took (in a way) the easier way out and split up. Lots of lovely freedom and space to do everything we wanted. But... I miss her. I say go for it Krista.

    Polly x

  20. I think evaluating your unconscious reasons can be hard and tedious. As much as you're thinking it could be that you have always had a crutch socially and want to investigate it--it could be that you're using this move out as a crutch. An "can I survive being on my own and if I can't, well I still have someone" sort of thing. I think you might drive one another crazy living together through a really stressful time period, but I think that's when you're able to learn the most from one another.

    Granted, I am speaking from a forever perspective. Regardless, I'd try to keep your initial reasons for this in mind throughout. But, I agree with some of the suggestions that you should invest in a bigger place in lieu. Or find your own projects.

    If you really need time to rediscover who you are, new walls won't help that. I think life's all about juggling and relationships are one part of it. You may end up investing more effort to keep something alive living apart when neither one of you has the time or reserves to make that effort. Little things can do wonders. Sleeping together every night when you've both holed up in your own projects can provide just enough to keep things going until you're both able to give more. Ebbs and flows. Embrace it and ride it out-whichever decision you make.

  21. It's not a step back. It's a just another step for you guys. Whatever works for you, you should do and everyone else should shut the fuck up. If it means your relationship will flourish since you both get more "me-time," why not?? I think it's kick-ass.

  22. I have the opposite problem- I've lived alone for so long that the thought of having to share my space with someone else prevents me from getting serious with anybody. I guess I never realized living-separate-together is a valid option. I agree with what your friend said- gays are already flipping the norm in romantic relationships- who says moving in together is what we have to do?
    Thanks for opening my eyes!
    I think the neighboring houses with a bridge idea is brilliant!

  23. I. cannot. believe. you will be at Loyola this week! I mean, my roommate and I LOVE this blog--we have (probably quite creepily, though we don't mean it, honest) dreamed of running into you somewhere around the city ever since you moved here! Suffice it to say, you're a household name for us. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we will both be working on Thursday. D:

    Think if it goes could come back again? Perhaps before we graduate.....this May? (Pretty please?)

    But, really, as bummed as I am about not getting to go to the panel, you should have a great and easy time. The Loyola kids that should be there are a nice bunch--they'll love you.

    I hope everything goes well and that you're able to figure out an apartment situation that can work for you and CJ! I think such a move could have interesting and unexpected consequences--but who's to say your relationship won't be the better for them? At the very least, if it sucks, you could always go back to something you're more comfortable with--no reason to keep at something that's not working!

    Again, good luck on Thursday! Have a blast!

  24. I took this step in a relationship once, we were living together and had to move out into seperate living spaces due to similar reasons, and it did not have any effect on your relationship, apart from the fact that it was sad not to fall asleep in each other's arms every night - but that just made us more grateful for the nights we did get to spend together! It wasn't a step back for us, it was a necessary step, and it worked. We're no longer together but for reasons wholly unrelated to moving out. Go for it if you both agree that it will be best for you both.

  25. I actually kind of just did this. She told me we were moving too fast and that she needed space and time to have fun and do her work (still in school). So we stepped back.

    But. It didn't work. I needed more and she needed less and now we're all the way back to just friends. But I think it's doable with both people truly want to have alone time. If one of you isn't being honest or doesn't know what they want, that's when the trouble starts.

    Now i'm back to square one... Anyone want a gf? lol

  26. My partner and I have been together for a year and the last six months we have lived together. When we started discussing living together, we vocalized the fact that we have been great together, so if things start to get a little rocky once after living together, we just won't live together anymore and would go back to how things were.

    Fast forward to six months after living together and we still love it. We're in a small one-bedroom apartment. She's an artist with a double major, I'm a student. She's done art work in our living room and has just recently signed on for using a studio ($100 a month, 24-hour access, and so much equipment available to her). Also, I make sure to check in with her on her days off if I'm done with school early in the day. What I'm getting at is we try to communicate when we need space, both literally in regards to physical space, as well as emotional space. This has worked very well for us.

    However, I understand and support you and CJ discussing living separately. I experienced that desire to have a place of my own, which I fulfilled by having two roommates for a while. In your case, I can't help but think that the two of you moving into a two-bedroom apartment might be a good step. It would give you both more personal space, more storage space, more work space, and more space to decorate. It's not all that grand having to buy all those kitchen things when you already have a fully loaded kitchen, but as the room I'm in the most is the kitchen, I understand that longing. Collaborating in the living space is great, as I'm sure you've already experienced this to a degree. This of it as an exquisite corpse. Best wishes to whatever you agree to doing.

  27. Hey there - my gf and I have been together for nearly seven (7!!! wtf???) years. Over a year ago, at the tender age of 28, I moved out. And not just out - I moved AWAY. Like, an 11 hour drive away. A too-expensive plane ticket away.

    Why did I move? Similar reasons to what you're dealing with. She's completing her thesis in grad school this year. I needed to focus on my own career (read: get a job in a place where there were jobs to be gotten, as opposed the to rural town we had moved to for her school). So we talked a lot about it, and I moved to the city that would be best for me, which was not nearly the closest one. We had never not lived together, even before we were dating. I had never even lived with any other roommates, barely even in college. I had no idea who I was as an adult in the world.

    We also had been in and out of declaring our relationship as "open" for a few years - so you can imagine that all of our friends determined this move meant we were splitting forever.

    Long story short - this was the best decision we've ever made. We laid some pretty strong groundwork at the start, and we both agreed to be, well, adults about it. We made an agreement to see each other at least every five weeks, and we would not leave one visit without nailing down the dates for the next. When we saw each other, we really cleared our schedules to just spend time together, and not have to worry about other friends or projects or whatever too much. She came and lived with me over the summer for three months. It was heaven.

    And in the meantime, I made huge discoveries about who I am. I lost 40 pounds. I made friends. I decorated by myself and really learned to cook, and discovered that I don't mind living with roommates that I'm not sleeping with, and coming home to my own bed can be really lovely. Who knew? She has been able to totally devote herself to her program without worrying about my little passive-aggressive abandonment issues, and I've been able to deal with those issues in a constructive way.

    As for our open relationship - we've never been more interested just in each other. It's incredible. Absence makes the lady-parts grow WAY fonder. We leave room for the possibility that each of us could have other partners, but it hasn't happened yet.

    And now that she's only three (3!!!!) months away from finishing her degree, we both can't wait until she's done and we can move in together again. Find another perfect little homey-home. Get a dog. The whole enchilada.

    The moral of the story is: it's possible, if you're both willing to commit to it in a healthy, honest, communicative way. I totally recommend it.

  28. At least you actually consider moving, some girls would totally freak out about the suggestion of living apart, I'm sure it'll be fine. Takes awhile to get used to. I'm not used to living alone either so the thought is scarily exciting.

    Public speaking is easier if you have a focus point. Like if it was in an auditorium the exit sign in the back. And just speak. Don't look at anyone, and just be confident, even if you dont feel confident.

    idk if this helps at all but goodluck :)

  29. Do it.
    I had a similar experience. I say as long as y'all keep talking about whats going on, no problem. You'll be fine.
    I just lived alone for a while, in a town of 400 people. It was good because I could discover things about myself. What I discovered is that I LOVE living with other people. But I think it's something everyone should do in their lives at least once. Try it out, see if you like it. If not, deal with it then, worst comes to worst you are at least having new experiences. We all know what Joan W Scott says about experience.

  30. Lots of good thoughts here and just wanted to add that my partner and I got long term committed, in other words and states, married, and then we moved out. Sort of. My work keeps me in NYC, hers keeps her 2 hours north. We love what we do and we love each other, and we're pretty independent, so for us it works. I go north most weekends and months I am not working, since I freelance and can sometimes work from home. The situation is a bit different from yours because we committed to each other and then made the decision to live apart, so we are making it work even when it's hard. Perhaps if the relationship was weaker and times got tough we'd have broken up. If that's the case then I'd say it would happen at some point anyway, so better to happen sooner rather than later, I think.
    When deciding if we could do it or not, we looked to Rachel Maddow and her partner as inspiration. And when I say looked to, I mean read about them on the internet. We don't know any lesbian Rhodes Scholars in real life.

  31. Never tried it myself, but I think it's a good idea. Seems to me that it's important to do the living-on-your-own thing at least once in life; teaches you how to manage your life independently, and you'll get to know yourself better, which is definitely a necessity for anyone if you ask me.
    As far as relationshippy cohabitation stuff goes, I think the way Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter live is the ideal arrangement: two full houses joined by a hallway. You're right there with your partner, but you have your own space whenever you need it. That's the way I'd do it.

  32. me and my girlfriend did the exact same thing, for a lot of the same reasons... and having the space was great and totally needed. we lived seperate for about 6 months and now we live together again - with many lessons learned about ourselves. theres no such thing as going backwards... besides absence makes the heart grow fonder :)

  33. I think it sounds like a pretty rad setup. I wish my ex and I had never lived together - I think our relationship might have been more successful.

    Also - I don't think I ever want to share space full-time with anyone ever again.

    I think it could be the perfect way to be in a relationship. You get to have you time and space and you get to decorate the way YOU want, and your cleaning/organization standards can be met always...the food you like in the fridge, your remote control - your own video game console - NO SHARING.

    Sounds like heaven to me.

  34. I've never done it myself, but I don't think it's a step back - it's how my parents live, and have lived for years. They love each other to bits, but have very incompatible styles of living (One's a minimalist OCD neat freak and the other is a total slobby packrat) so having separate places keeps them from getting on each other's nerves and fighting over stupid stuff like not putting the spoons away facing the proper direction. It works for them! And hey, if it works for you, why not?

  35. Having gone through CJ's program (gone before she arrived), I get how all-encompassing the thesis is/will be. In that regard, you'd be doing each other a favor -- we were told "if you have a significant other, a full time job, or a new house...know that you'll end thesis with at least one less of those things."

    Meanwhile, I want to be at Loyola Thursday night so I can watch the butt-cheek clenching techniques commence!

  36. Helena Bohnam Carter and Tim Burton have been together for 10 years, and have kids, and still live in separate houses next door to each other.

  37. Just know what you want and work toward it. Space is a wonderful thing. People in relationships get too attached to everything being together and nothing being personal.
    I had to get a second night-time job when my lady was doing her PhD. But hers only took up brain-space, not physical space. But I'm pretty sure I would have had to move away or we would have needed to move into a bigger place.
    Also, we always live in a two bedroom, exactly so that we can have space. I always have the extra bedroom for my messy art stuff and she's okay without a personal space. If she needed personal space too, then we would move in to a three bedroom.
    Even having a room to decorate for yourself and be in charge of is really fantastic. There is where I keep all of the decorating things that get vetoed to put in our shared spaces.
    It works out well for us. Even with this space permitting arrangment, I still had to go away at night to give her space.

    If you just need space for her to function and for you to try it out, move into a new places. Then back together if you want. Or, just find a bigger place that serves all the functions you need. Space for her and exploration for you. And you can still have a sleeping buddy. Or sleep in your own room.

    But if you want to really stay together, remember to still talk and fuck and stuff. Sill make time to do things together. So you don't drift off into oblivion. It's really easy to drift off anyway. So, if you move out just have a goal that you do still want to be together, that it is okay and will be good to live apart, and serve that goal. Or get one fat pad.

  38. I am one hundred percent behind romantic partners having separate living situations. I think most relationships would be a lot healthier if they just had a little more space built into them. Do it!!!

  39. Loyola University?? in New Orleans?? PLEASE tell me you are coming to the Cresent City because I would love to buy you some drinks and tell you about Queer life in NOLA

  40. I was thinking of doing the same thing myself.. Sometimes you need to sit back and find yourself again. I've been feeling really co dependent lately and so has my girl, but we don't wanna break up; we just wanna re-evaluate ourselves separately.

  41. Fuck convention! Go for it! Sounds like an evolution in your relationship that has a lot of positive potential. Personal space is important, and so is your lady. Get your own apartments and you can have the best of both worlds. Good luck!

  42. There may be a similar comment in here, but there are too many posts to scroll, so eff that.

    We did it around this time last year. I had never ever lived by myself and felt unhappy about it. In my lifetime, I never wanted to have to admit that I had no idea how to take care of myself fully.

    I found an apartment the next borough over, contact was maintained, somewhat strained, sometimes non existent, and sometimes wonderful. We dated again. We worked on our respective lives and learned how to be our own separate people. I had to feed myself, remember to buy toothpaste, do laundry, not leave every. fucking. light on, take out garbage, etc. etc. etc.

    And now, here we are, on our 3 year anniversary, toasting what a crazy ride it's been.

    Do it.

  43. Oh, and as a P.S

    'Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.'

    -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  44. A couple of my straight friends did this, actually, for pretty much the same reasons. They stayed together but lived in separate dwellings for about 8 months, and now they're engaged and getting married in a year. So fuck rules.

  45. Do it do it do!

    To me it sounds like a step forward in your relationship, because by being brave and doing what you both need to do you will be making your relationship stronger.

  46. Ha, I'd be surprised if this wasn't already mentioned:

    Tim Burton and Helena Bonham-Carter.
    They live in two separate, but adjoining houses.
    Their children live in YET ANOTHER house, with a nanny/governess.

    They seem to be

    "Buuuut, they'll break up!" Well, straight people who live in the same house for years get divorced, too. Such it up and stop being such an Eeyore. If it works for you, it works for you!

    You aren't going backwards in a relationship if you live in two separate situations- you're going FORWARD! You are recognizing what the relationship needs to thrive, and prioritizing it, and yourself (both of you) enough to make it happen. Moving backwards... Such foolishness.

  47. Pretty much every comment on it is encouraging you guys to do it. Which is great, don't get me wrong.

    But honestly Krista, this post scared the fuck out of me. My gf (of about one year) and I are living separately right now but planning to move in together soon. And we're both so excited (and I think a little scared that it's going to end horribly). Mostly I'm worried that I'll crowd HER space and we'll end up fighting. I'm the type that is completely into the idea of shared living. I love the idea of coming home to her every night. Falling asleep cuddling, and what have you.

    The part that scares me is that, while right now we're both pretty psyched on the idea of moving in together, what if one day she wants to move out.

    I honestly don't know what I would do. I think I would be crushed. I tend to take things like personally. I don't get why my significant other Wouldn't want me around All.the.time.

    so that's cool for you if it's both what you want. You're far braver than I. I would go nuts. And probably invite her over every damn day or look for someone else to bring home.

  48. three more hoping its loyola New Orleans! please let use know!!!!! we would be soo excited, and would also love to take you out for drinks and such

  49. Well, from a straight girl perspective: Jason moved out and now we're engaged! So. Doesn't have to be weird. Space is a brilliant thing for relationships. The love blooms again!

    And rainbows and puppy dogs and daffodils...

  50. it wud work out if you both on the same its really something you both need..but you sud also think about the outcome, time spend in ur apartment she in hers....if you both truly commited to each other then it wud be okay...but most times moving into seperate apartments mean the relationship is doom for failure or closely near...lets hope for the latter and its not as bad as ppl make you think it is..

  51. It's not exactly a step back in a relationship, unless that's what it is. This seems like a practical choice, and I honestly don't see any problem whatsoever. Space makes relationships sustainable, if you can't live apart, it's as bad as not being able to live together.

    Oh how much I would love to live alone, super jealous.

  52. I live in a university hostel, three floors down from my girlfriend. It's so awesome. We have personal space and time for studying without constant distractions, but we also get to see/fuck each other as often as we want.

  53. I say try it!
    If it doesn't work, try something else.


  54. Whoa, that whole mormon testimony thing took me back. Funny story, when my partner and I were raising my girls still and we had just picked up the younger one, who was 11 at the time, from her weekend with dad, it was sunday evening and she had just gotten out of "testimony" meeting. We were at a restaurant in a booth and she was making fun of the ridiculous things people had said. The weepy voiced women waving their hands in front of their tearful eyes, The men in their best mormon authority cadence, the children lisping through exactly the same words, all of them...exactly the same.
    We finished eating and got out of our booth only to find that we had been sitting in front of a little mormon family that had been in that same meeting with her. Kiki turned around and recognized "sister B"....woops. uncontrolable giggling ensued all the way to the car. Still the best story EVER.
    As far as living arrangements, I read this great book called "The Future of Love" by Daphne Rose Kingma. The premise was that traditional relationships done in traditional ways don't really work for most people. If a relationship is truly soul food then there are a whole lot of other things that it can never be. It helped me relax the societal vision and expectations that slowly kill us as we hang onto them with a deathgrip.
    I think whatever allows you to be passionate lovers of each other AND passionately take care of your own basic soul level We need what we need.

  55. 2 things:

    1) You and CJ have historically proven that honesty with each other and genuine care create a super strong relationship--however outside the "norm" it may be or maybe *because* of being outside the norm. So this is just another permutation of your honesty and care. You both need room to grow.

    2) Living alone rocks! I also hadn't done it until I was 28, and the awesome had me wondering why I hadn't done it before. Sure there'll be times when you won't know what to do with you, but the overall utter-freedom and getting to really know yourself trump the occasional pensive evening.

    3) Oh I guess I have one more thing: Best of luck!
    (Though you'll probably only need it for finding furniture that you like for cheap. Your relationship sounds safe.)

  56. I can't say I have done this before but I have definitely fantasized about it. It's a fantastic idea and I love it! Not only is it a completely progressive way to be in a truly egalitarian (and fully committed) partnership but man, lesbians need to see that relationships outside of the 'bubble' are good and healthy and ~gasp~ WORK! We need proof that we can, in fact, breathe (and actually enjoy it) when our significant other is not in the same room as us.

    Please! For the sake of lesbian mental and emotional health everywhere, break the mould and do this. I am desperate for proof that I am not doomed to a life of love and suffocation !

  57. I'm going to have to agree 100% with frags!

    This is a great idea and it's going to probably strengthen the relationship you guys have.

  58. Greatest relationship I know belongs to two men who live down the street from each other. They have been together for 30 years. The Problem? One is a computer geek with equipment EVERY WHERE and the other half is a drag queen with drag stuff EVERYWHERE.
    It works for them....I am full of envy.

  59. Completely sane choice! My partner decided to go to school for fun (art school) while finishing my dissertation consumed my life. She got to spend time doing something she'd always loved, found a new circle of friends, and didn't feel neglected. In reality, recognizing that i had less time and it wasn't in any way related to my feelings for her likely saved our relationship. When we did spend time together, we had tons to talk about that was related to things we cared about and not day-to-day things like 'we need more toilet paper'. Basically, I think y'all are doing the right thing. Relationships work if you both are pursuing things that you see as important.

  60. giving yourselves space = good idea! you'll appreciate your time together that much more.

    also, regarding the public speaking thing, if you get anxiety you can go to the doctor and tell them that and they can give some super low-dose anti-anxiety public speaking pills... they basically just slow your heart rate down. i'm using some called propanalol. it's harmless and WONDERFUL!

  61. I used to do the butt clenching thing ! Sometimes I still do ....

  62. 1. Every relationship is different and I think, especially as lesbians, the only rules that apply are those set by the couple.

    2. My girlfriend and I broke up a few weeks ago and are quite happy living as roommates until our lease is up. We both needed space and while we've never had a monogamous relationship, it's given us the room we were looking for. We're going our separate ways soon but will stay in touch.

    You have to do what is best for your relationship. Even if that means living separately for awhile or breaking up for two years then coming back together. I think it's a great idea!

  63. Thank you, THANK YOU for your timing with this post. I need to hear what other people have to say about this, because I am facing the same dilemma! (for slightly different reasons) My gf and I moved in with each other really quickly, mostly for money and availability reasons. Now I think it may be better to take a step back, but can't quite wrap my head around what that means in relationship-analysis-land.
    Now I'm going to go back to the top and read what everyone says. I love your blog--and all your readers!

  64. Go for it! You both think it's a good idea, so don't let other people's expectations get in your way. Their advice, though well-intentioned, was not meant for you. If you had asked them, "Should I post on Craigslist looking for a week's worth of random sex?", they probably would have said no, based on their experience with relationships. But their experience with relationships is not your experience with relationships. What matters is that you and your favorite lil' piece are both in on it.

  65. Oh girl! I've been dealing with exactly this issue. My girlfriend and I have been in the same neighborhood with different apartments, living together, and then long distance all in the past two years. I didn't really see a problem with her moving out to move to a different city (one that I was going to move to in another six months) but other people seemed real worried for us because one didn't hang around waiting for the other.

    Now, the fact that when I move I'm going to get my own separate apartment is confusing people again. "But you guys have been together for so long... and wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to live together?" The desire to live in my own place for the first time, and to settle in to a new city without being joined at the hip to my girlfriend, is (for some unknown reason!) profoundly unsettling to them.

    The thing is, though, I lived in claustrophobic closetedness for way too long... so now I see the beauty of being out partially as the freedom to have the relationship I want, not the relationship I'm "supposed to" have. My girlfriend feels the same way, and the fact that we both realize our need for solitude and space only makes our relationship more solid and more interesting over time. We have time and space to have our own lives, so we have interesting crap to talk about when we see each other again. What's better than that? Do what you want. =)

  66. P.S. it gives you a chance to flirt and "date" again, which is actually a great way to break an LTR out of a slump. =)

  67. My sweetie and I have lived apart twice in our 22 year relationship. Once while she studied in Europe for a year, and once while she studied in another city. Both times were positive experiences for both of us.

    When she went off to Europe, at that point, we had been together about 12 years and I too had never lived alone. So it was a chance for me to keep the cats alive and apartment in habitable condition, and for her to see Europe.

    We've never been a "joined at the hip" type of couple, and actively work to not have matching windbreakers, but we are pretty crazy about each other. So, those two periods of separation, while at times hard, were also times when we really got a good sense of the strength of our relationship. These separations weren't done on a whim, and were done to fulfill two lifelong dreams.

    I think you can do it, and you will be stronger and happier for supporting each other.

  68. Who says that's going backwards. The 3 long-term relationships (I mean a decade or more) were always better when we had space and lived apart. I mean we could spend 23.5 hrs a day, 6 days a week together, but, there's still something wonderful about knowing some little corner of the world is there for you to shut the door, curl up in baggy pyjamas and eat cereal in bed at 2am without having anybody else's feelings to consider!

    Living apart can improve the quality of your time together. If you choose to stay home and cook or read the papers as a couple, you're still aware that it's a choice and, therefore, quality time. The fact that you're considering it shows that you have some confidence in the relationship. Cripes! If you've bust out the box of sexuality, why worry about your living arrangements being conventional. Spread your wings and enjoy!

  69. Your friend Nadine is a wise woman. We are already so far out of the mainstream that it doesn't matter and we should be free from social constraints such as how other peoples' relationships progress.

    Whatever works works and that's the only thing that matters. Trust it. Life is too short and far too beautiful to impose someone else's views on it.

  70. I have some friends who moved in together a few years ago. A few months later, they realized they loved each other but needed more space. For over 2 years now they have had separate apartments in the same building and their relationship is one of the strongest and most committed I've ever seen. They're perfect together, and I think it's because they absolutely know what they need from one another.

    I wish you luck, and I tend to think as long as you're honest, you and CJ will be just fine regardless of where you live.

  71. Look at it this way, you already know you two can live together, so if living apart doesn't work for you two you can move back together. It should actually be easier than the reverse, where somebody gets kicked out and has to find a new place to live.

  72. Well, since most of the other people commenting are all "ice cream and ponies/other people are so close-minded" I'm going to give some truth here: It could go either way. It doesn't mean you're doomed, but it could be the first step in breaking up. You might get more freedom and realize you want to keep it, that you never want to live together again. But, that is the way life works.

    Also, am I wrong in thinking you had an open relationship with CJ? I think somewhere along the way in your effing dykes journey she went from being "your favorite piece" to "girlfriend". Obvs that's pretty personal, but I don't remember reading a post on it.

  73. Coming from the perspective of someone who also has never lived still seems like maybe a waste of money and objects. Yes you will be able to pick out all your own furniture and decor but then what happens when/if you try to blend your households again? Wanting more space doesn't necessarily mean that you're taking a step back in your relationship, but I do think there are more practical solutions to the problem than two completely separate apartments. For example, I acquired studio space to move my art making and random projects into and I set it up not only as a work space but as a little home away from home. My gf and I are free to work as much and as long as we want but in the end, we still want to spend every night together anyways.

    This is just what works for us of course and if you have the resources and time to set up a completely separate apartment then maybe you should go for it. Just wanted to put forward alternatives to alternative living situations.

  74. Success or failure will depend not on what kind of logistical arrangements you make, but on the agreements you reach regarding the relationship. Meaning, are you on the same page about (non)monogamy, how much time to spend together, expectations for the future? Good luck, sister. I wish you happiness. - Sapphist Gazetteer

  75. I'm just so glad to know someone else who clenches their ass. I've been doing this since childhood and thought I was a freak. I hate people so I vote live alone for a while and dig yourself. I watched this great video on being alone yesterday and now can't remember where. i'll be back...

  76. found the post...scroll down to watch video. if you feel like it.

  77. "Other faggettes keep telling me that you can't go backwards in a relationship - only forwards."

    There are lots of reasons people move in together: to save money on rent, to be closer to work, because they want to, because they think it is the next step they are supposed to take, etc.
    "Because they want to" is the only one that sounds like moving forward to me. And moving back out because it seems like a good way of handling this time period of your relationship, and you want to, also seems like moving forward. It's about doing what you need/want within the relationship. It doesn't sound like you guys are moving into separate living situations because you are having problems, but because that's where you're at now. That's okay.
    Decorating your own space and figuring out ways to fill your time might even spark new levels of intensity between you two when you are together. You'll be rediscovering and exploring new territory for your personality and tastes. You'll be growing. Growth is usually attractive.

  78. This is very timely. My lady and I have just decided to occupy both bedrooms in our formerly redundant two-bedroom place. Each our own bedroom! with our own stuff on the walls! OMG!

    Only you and CJ can decide for you and CJ what is best.

  79. i agree with the majority of people here. its all up to what you and CJ think is best for yalls relationship. still close but doing yalls own thing is what ya want then who says it cant be done without ruining yalls relationship? All i can say though is make sure its what ya want before you take such an adventurous step. It can make yall or break yall. You're already different because you're gay and people say that's wrong so who can say moving out but staying together is wrong? All up to your preferences bro

  80. i have a friend who did what you're proposing, but in straighty straight relationship. her and her boyfriend lived together, moved out, got their own places, and a few years later moved back in together, got engaged, then got married. they are a great fit for each other and super happy. do it up!

  81. I've always felt bad for too-longstanding couples who get to know each other better than they know themselves. The best you can bring to a relationship is yourself, all of yourself....but how can you do that when you haven't had the time/space/experience to know who you are on your own?

    So it sounds strange to me to think of moving out and staying together.

    But I really wonder, how far can you move forward if you don't take this one tiny step apart?

    I say you guys know your relationship better than anyone your own judgement!

  82. You're in live it up!

  83. All relationships are different...I say go for it! Before my ex and I finally decided to break up and I had brought up this very idea. I think you'll learn a lot about yourself and your relationship. good luck!

  84. Annie Leibovitz and Susan Sontag did it and it worked for them. So you can too! Goodluck!

  85. Krista! You're speaking at Loyala tonight? :) I'll totally be there!
    And ps, sounds like a great idea. Don't worry so much dear.

  86. I've been there and done that, twice in one relationship! The first time, when my girlfriend made the suggestion I flipped out! But I did it anyway because I like a challenge. I got an apartment half a block away and lived there for 2 years before we moved back in together. Living apart did not weaken our relationship but strengthened it. I say go for it! It's fantastic to live on your own and I can't imagine what it would be like to never have that experience.

    Seize the opportunity!

  87. Sounds like a very mature decision.

    This is totally unrelated, but it's been on my mind and has something to do with one of your regular topics: gaydar. I've been hooked on this TLC show, Police Women of Cincinnati, and there's this one officer, Colleen Deegan. She looks, acts, and talks like a really hot tough dyke (seriously, she's a vice cop, drives a motorcycle, has super-short hair, does the infamous smirk), but the Internets say she's straight. She's in the military, so, I dunno. What is going on? Maybe you could give her a gaydar treatment in your next gaydar post.

    <3 the blog.

  88. DONE IT.

    Why? Because I'm a design student who had never lived by myself. My things were invading our space. I didn't know the first thing about how I would decorate. I wanted to have my own rooms to fill with my own things. I wanted to invite her into my space. Plus, when things got too crazy, I could go to her place for vacation. Sanity.


    Swimmingly. We're still doing it that way. We stay together every night possible, but sometimes I live at studio for a week. Sometimes I'm up all night. Sometimes she comes to my place, brings me cake, and leaves because she knows I need to thoughtful gesture, but she knows I can't talk.


    Having your own space is BY NO MEANS an escape. You have to be very deliberate about discussing anything and everything that comes up in your relationship. Otherwise, you retreat into your own lives and problems are swept under the rug.

    DO IT.

    Living together during thesis year could destroy you. Trust me. ;)

  89. Everyone has commented merely on your relationship with each other. If it's fine now, it'll be fine then.

    But I know you guys have pets. I don't know how attached bunnies are, but my cat and dog would be pretty depressed if one of us didn't live here anymore.

    I would urge you to consider the pets (if they're like dogs you'll break their hearts forever and have to deal with acute separation anxiety and mistrust) and if they will probably be okay with it then go for it.

    Living alone is blissful. Go for it.

  90. Don't think of it as a step /back/. Just think of it as a step in a different direction than most couples! It in no way means that there is something wrong with your relationship, or that it's falling apart.

    You know your relationship better than others, and you know what it can handle. If this is best for now, do it! Fuck what everyone else thinks or says! This is about you and your woman.

  91. I got bored of reading the comments after the first half dozen or so, but I agree - it's not a step back, it's just another step along. I think it sounds brilliant.

  92. krista: listen. we just did this. we are real honest-to-jesus lezzes--ages 28 and 32--who have been together almost six (holy fuck) years. although the impetus for the ALS (alt living sitch) was less noble than y'alls current situations (i cheated and lied and my loving and amazing gf was like "uh......i need some space. i want to be with you but i'm angry and you got some work to do and i need a dog.")

    so she got a dog and i got another place to live and now we both have different places to live and it doesn't feel like backwards it feels like an alternative forwards.

    so fucking GO FOR IT. it's hot. you get to have sleepovers in two different well-decorated locations. and go on dates where you aren't planning your outfits in the same room. and when you get new sex toys sometimes it's a surprise for the person who's getting played with. also, having your own space is AWESOME. also, sometimes you get to dog-sit.

    what else? i can't say enough good shit about this and how much i think you should do it. it could, in my not at all humble opinion, save you from imminent disaster (ahem, like what we experienced last year, a direct result in some ways of trying to share space while one of us (not me) was thesising. that shit really requires some head and physical space)

    so fucking do it already. and let us know how it goes. amen.

  93. I'm in a relationship where my lover and i had our own apartment while i was in school. because i was in school and unable to pull in any kind of study income she paid for the whole thing and it worked for us. but she lost her job because the assholes she worked for decided they had to cover their asses so she couldn't tell headquarters all the shit they had been doing so their fired her. we lost our apartment and i had to move back in with my parents, while she moved back in with her two kids and their father. it's trying sometimes, but we're making it work. the harder part is the dynamics between all of the adults involved, not so much the distance and living in separate places.

    and this might be good for CJ. as an artist, sometimes you just gotta get away from what you're working on, take a break, and i can't think of a better place to escape to than a place where my lover resides.

  94. I think its a great idea. I wouldn't consider it a step back at all - if this is what both of you need right now and BOTH of you think its a good solution then I say go for it. A step back is a negative thing - anything that strengthens the quality of your relationship is a positive thing!

  95. I see nothing wrong with this. Frankly, the way you have explained it, it makes MORE sense to live separately. I too have never lived alone, at the age of 28, and I really wish I could afford to.

  96. I made a move born of lovelust and convenience about 5 months in and then moved out 6 months later and it was lovely. Landed in the same neighborhood in Bklyn, less than a 10 minute walk apart. GO FOR IT. Anyone trapped inside an idea of what their own or someone else's relationship SHOULD be, is kidding themself, and doomed for either failure or miserableneses.

  97. question: if i want to send you an email, where should i send it?

  98. It works. Period.

  99. The Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera situation is my ideal tooooooo! It totally freaks my gf out, even though I'M the restless sleeper who talks in my sleep and we share a full sized bed. Especailly because you're on the same page, I say do the damn thing.

  100. I can totally get behind this. I am *desperate* for space of my own, and have never lived by myself either. At the same time, it's completely terrifying, right? Sometimes, that's the best part.

    With regards to the relationship part, I think any steps that take care of your individual personal needs in the name of furthering your relationship is a step forward. Space can be a really healthy, good thing.

    I also love your harem idea. I think I'd need to get the person count higher than the current "0"! :D

  101. Song said...

    My partner and I of almost three years are taking this step now. We are each finding our space living separately. We are doing it for similar reasons to yours but also that we are very codependent. We're scared, nervous, worried that the other wont love the other anymore--but we're taking the step anyway. The truth is, I'm not sure it would work if we stayed together. Would it really be better when we both feel that we need to take this step but didn't? I have to trust that we are taking the right step because it feels like the only step to take. So far so good.
    I wish you both luck. :)

  102. First of all, let me say that I love your blog! Have never commented here, but I read all the time.

    Now, I, too, am in the "I have never lived alone" group, and I just turned 30. Always with partners, parents, roomies, what have you. Never just me though. So I totally get that. I,too, want to be able to, if only for a little while, sit up all night, laughing really loudly at late night TV and pigging out without worrying about waking anyone, and decorate without having to wonder if the piece of art I think its the most awesome thing on the planet makes the person who also has to live there and look at it want to hurl. So, yeah.

    However, all that being said, sharing space like that is the ultimate commitment, and the fact that you don't want to do it should be something to at least wonder/be curious about.
    I say, live apart for thesis year. That should give you enough time to enjoy living alone for the first time. But, also, as someone said upthread, make sure you don't get so involved in your own lives that you avoid discussion of problems, ignore each other, and turn around and realize you don't know each other anymore down the road or anything like that. Balance, you know?

    And note: this is all coming from the perspective of one of those fabulous, famously U Hauling lesbians.

    Anyway, just my two cents, wish you both the best of luck! And thanks again for the great blog.

  103. Living in close quarters was the former doom of my relationship. When 500 sq ft housed me, my amazing gf, and a permanent couch crashing friend(seriously, he stayed for 10 months! It was not my idea) no amount of communication or patience could have eased the insanity that comes from never being able to hear your own thoughts, leave your dishes undone, have space to unroll your yoga mat, take hour and a half long baths, sing along to music loudly and out of key, watch Austin Powers at 3am because you couldn't sleep anyway, or any other number of healthy things.
    Living alone is the only thing that saved us. Now we are sane again and much much better at loving one another. We actually go on dates because we have to plan to spend time together. It's really exciting when one of us stays over where i used to take that for granted. We don't do every single last little thing together. We have both developed our not-overlapping hobbies more and balanced our lives for ourselves rather than each other.
    Space is sanity. It's good for relationships! And as for totally separate living spaces, I can vote from personal experience that if stress is high, space is tight, and schedules are off, nothing could possibly be better, for you and for the relationship too.

  104. Yeah, that's me kissing my girlfriend in the doorway. Awesome.

  105. OMG the frida situation is my *IDEAL* situation! i would love that more than anything.

    listen, all bullshit aside, you and cj should do what feels right for your relationship, period. fuck what everyone else thinks. in some ways all relationships are similar, but they're all different b/c each involves two (or more, ms. harem LOL) individual people. meet your own needs and see what happens. i'm sure you and cj can manage the hurdles just fine, whatever they are.

  106. Done this. It works. My sweetie and I have been together 13 years: first five, lived separately, next six, lived together (and bought & sold two houses together), next two, lived in apartments in buildings next door to each other. (Various changing life circumstances and complications made those the best moves for us.) We just signed a lease to move in together again.

    The hardest part has been dealing with the scripts we had internalized and other people thought we had to follow. Bottom line: be honest with yourselves and one another, and take care of yourselves and one another, and do what works best in light of those two goals.

  107. i haven't ever moved backwards, per se, but i have also never moved in. i have always maintained two residences in relationships, even very long ones. i QUITE like it! each person has their own space, and can choose when they're really into seeing the other person. when times are really busy (like thesis writing times), you can have your space. i think it also helps keep things fresh and lively... you see your partner more as someone to have a fun dinner with, and less as a roommate who locks themselves on the toilet with a book.

    i also know of a straight married couple with children who did this. they got separated, but never divorced. they say it was the best thing they could have ever done for their marriage. when someone just needed their alone time, the other partner and kids could just hide out at the other residence.

  108. If you can afford it, I say go and enjoy it.

  109. i'm kind of late, but personally, i think it'd be healthy. i've heard that marriages are more successful when the partners have two separate rooms- for most nights.

  110. It’s February 2019 and I just referenced your spelling bee butt clench story to my partner (and then she grabbed my butt, so, thanks). I’m impressed that I remembered that it took place in grade four. Thank you for sharing such a timeless story and leaving a lasting impression on my brain years ago.
    Did you and CJ end up living in separate apartments in the same city? We’ve talked about doing something similar but for different ish reasons.