Recent statistics show that 36% percent of millennials live with their parents, because the Boomers (love you guys!) totally screwed us over economically and now we’re all unemployed and drowning in student debt. So how do you have a successful love life while you’re living with your parents?
Get thee to the city. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, and have lots of high school friends who now live there, so when languishing in front of my parents’ TV grew unbearable, I’d hop in the car and go into the city. This means that my social circle wasn’t limited to the people who actually lived in my hometown, which is key. If you’re really stuck in the suburbs, snoop around a little bit: there’s gotta be somewhere people your age hang out. If there’s really no hope, well, that’s why Internet dating is so great. Broaden that geographical search!
I would go into Boston, go on a date, and then crash at a friend’s house for the night. This is so vastly preferable to sneaking back to your childhood bedroom at 3 am. Plus, if you don’t want to tell your parents you’re going out with someone you met on the internet (not that I ever did that, Mom, since I know you’re reading this) you can just tell them you’re sleeping over at a friends’ place. Which isn’t even a lie, because you are! Probably. Unless your date is really hot.
In a way, living with my parents raised my standards, because it wasn’t like I could keep some sketchy unemployed musician boyfriend a secret for very long. A month or so after I started dating a very handsome PhD student, we decided to go to Maine for a weekend to visit his college friends. We stopped at my parent’s house on the way, both so that I could pack and so that my parents could meet him and realize I wasn’t being kidnapped by a serial killer. Needless to say, the whole interaction was made much smoother by the fact that he was a handsome PhD student. When you live at home, it’s so much easier if you just introduce everyone, even if it happens way earlier in the relationship than you normally would. Plus, it gives your parents a head start on falling in love with them: my current boyfriend and I recently went back home for a weekend, and my parents were practically happier to see him than to see me.
The main problem when you’re living with your parents is getting privacy. If you’re lucky, you will find yourself dating someone with their own place, but it’s very likely that you will find yourself dating someone else who also lives at home, which I did all summer with my boyfriend. While we both have relaxed and lovely families, sometimes we just wanted to actually be alone, so we’d drive down to Cape Cod or Rhode Island. (This is another place your friends come in: are their parents away for the weekend? You should all have a sleepover! At their place! Fun!)
Get creative. Obviously, jumping in the car and driving to an unused beach house isn’t doable for everyone. And maybe your parents aren’t quite so cool with your new, um, friend? Even the most aging-hippie parents probably won’t be thrilled to wake up to find a member of the opposite sex sleeping in your bed. So this is where you start getting crafty. Revive that rebellious high schooler that still lives within you. Stay up until everyone else goes to bed and then turn the TV up really, really loud. Sneak out! Have car sex. If you live near a golf course or beach or little-used park, go for a late-night stroll.
The most consistently devious move my boyfriend and I pulled this summer was taking huge advantage of his parent’s very reasonable rule that if I drank at their house, I couldn’t drive home. I’d go over for dinner, have a beer or two to ensure my overnight stay, and then after his parents went to bed, my boyfriend and I would fall asleep together in the guest room. He’d set an alarm for 6 am and creep back into his own bed before his parents woke up.
Now, we both have our own apartments and sleep in the same bed more nights than not. But writing this has almost made me miss the nights we slept on twin beds in the same room at my parent’s house, like cast members on I Love Lucy, or the time we went to Rhode Island and I constructed a mattress on the floor out of couch cushions. It was annoying, but it was also weirdly romantic: having to put in so much more effort to just fall asleep next to each other made it all the better. But I can’t say I’ll be sorry when I wake up tomorrow morning and go to make us coffee with no parents in sight.
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