This Fourth of July weekend I and my beloved will be taking a trip to Chicago. I haven’t been there since I was a little girl and I’m very excited about this trip. The purpose of our journey is two-fold: First – we both really need a vacation. Second, we are considering relocating in a couple of years and Chicago is at the top of our list of places to go. Neither of us are particularly enamered with the pace, the style, the people or the price ($$$!!!) of the DC Metro area.
He and I have been discussing whether we want to live together. I would not feel comfortable cohabitating in a jurisdiction where courts have looked unfavorably on unmarried domestic partnerships upon their dissolution. While a few cities in Illinois have domestic partnership registries and give city employees benefits, Illinois is an unfriendly state for the unmarried. Furthermore, the domestic partnership registries are not always open to heterosexual couples!!!! That crap drives me nuts.
Here is our conundrum, since neither of us want to marry, and I don’t want to cohabitate in an unfriendly state (he is not wild about living together generally), what do we do? Is it weird to relocate with a partner of 4 years and not live together? Hell no! What do relocating and living together have to do with each other? We both want to live in a new place, neither of us would be financially supporting the other and there are no children involved, so why not continue to live separately, but in a new place? And a cheaper place that would actually make independent living easier, rather than harder!
Who says that two people in a romantic relationship have to live together? Well, no one actually says that, but people get paranoid after they have been together for a few years and they are not living together (or married) yet. There are certain benchmarks – even among the unmarried – that your relationship is supposed to hit after a certian period of time. The Cult of Couplehood is so strong that even I have to remind myself from time to time that I am not like other people. There are no rules to this thing. Get together with your partner and come up with an arrangement that works… and then work it!
FYI – I have a married friend who lives in Florida: she and her husband have separate apartments.