I’m 31, and I live with my parents.
Apparently I’m quite trendy: According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, more and more single professionals are choosing to live with their parents. For me, while finances are the main reason, the other perks are too good to ignore.
I live with my parents in Istanbul, where dating becomes a bit restricted after college. Single women encounter guys who want one-night stands or men who have baby fever and want to get serious immediately; and then there are those who prefer dating friends or their friends’ friends.
Oddly enough, though, my dating life has improved while living at home. My parents own the apartment we live in. It’s in a central, safe neighborhood. It’s a three-bedroom, three-balcony place that I wouldn’t be able to afford with roommates other than my parents. So instead of slaving away at a job I’d hate to live in a place I can barely stand, I stay where I grew up and help with the expenses. And I save money.
I do plan to move away someday. But since my dream cities are abroad — San Diego or Vancouver (which will be my No. 1 choice if Trump becomes president) — it doesn’t make sense to spend my highly fluctuating income as a freelance writer on rent.
I’ve had some pretty strange roommates, and even on their worst day, my parents are the far better choice. Not paying rent frees me to go on more interesting and exciting dates without having to worry about money too much. Splurge on a weekend getaway? Sure. Try out the chic new restaurant? Why not?
Here are the reasons it’s worked for me.
I have a very valid reason for not inviting my date up.
“You don’t already want to meet my parents, right?” That works wonders if I don’t want things going too fast with someone new, or if I just prefer staying at his place.
I can be as picky as I want because I don’t feel lonely.
I’ve made some rash and regrettable decisions when I felt lonely, such as dating someone a lot longer than I should have, or trying to make it work with selfish guys who, in retrospect, didn’t deserve me. But having two roommates who love and accept me protects me from panic-based decisions.
I’m better at balancing my family life with my social/dating life.
I don’t have to squeeze in extra time to see my parents because I can spend quality time with them whenever I want. Which also means I can date more freely. In general, I’m more relaxed because I can be there for my parents when they need me.
A friend of mine wants to move abroad, but she is afraid of leaving her mother alone. And I understand. Because she has a full-time job and a dance-teaching gig on the side, she barely sees her mother.
But I’m a freelancer with a freelancer dad and a retired mom. We hang out together at coffee shops where we work, relax and chat together. When the time comes for me to move out, I will miss them. But there won’t be guilt over missed opportunities or things unsaid.
I can travel more often, which broadens my dating pool.
I’ve always gotten along better with guys from different countries. Even when I was living in Norway, I ended up dating a Dutch guy.
It’s not uncommon to fantasize what it’d be like to date in places other than where you live or come from. When you travel, you get to find out. You can sample and experiment. In my experience, I’ve found that I can connect with or feel isolated from people from all over the world; it just depends on the individual. But it feels nice to have options beyond those in my hometown or even my country.