Two Masters. One Bedroom?

It’s 2012. The days a man could club a woman on the head and drag her back to his cave and not face a grand jury are pretty much gone (much to my dismay, as I believe those are the best kind of relationships – wait, did I just say this out loud?). Generally (workplace disparities aside), at least in this society, men and women are viewed as equals and the “womenfolk” is no longer treated as property. Both men and women are masters of their own destiny. You, dear reader of the unknown to me gender, are a Master.

So what happens when two Masters meet and sparks start flying? They date. They exchange stories, laugh, flirt, all while covertly “auditioning” each other for the role of a suitable partner. If the stars align and things work out (best case scenario – people have been known to hitch just out of sheer boredom), then the wedding bells ring and the two independent kingdoms get combined into one. Full disclosure – I’m awfully cynical. To me the typical dating/marriage process is like a train ride. It starts off beautifully – it is (mostly) peaceful and full of suspense and excitement. It takes a bit to get situated, there are occasional bumps along the way, but it’s mostly a smooth ride. There are nice dinners and the chance to catch up and share some stores. Wonderful, no? Now imagine the train doesn’t stop. It just goes…on…for….everrrrrr. No stops at beautiful scenic views to let on new passengers. Just on and on the train goes. The only way off the runaway train is death; either induced by aging or jumping off and bouncing on the ground. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Not to me; I would rather walk.

Photo by my sister, Fatimeh Nadimi

I’ve painted a rather grim picture, yet this is exactly how so many couples live their lives. Living together with the person they chose for the ride, day in, day out, forever and ever. My question is why is it the normal method of thinking to spend every free moment with the person we love? It’s true that most couples don’t work in the same place, but to me that doesn’t count as time away from each other.

In keeping with the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) philosophy, I firmly believe that limiting the scope of what we want to get out of our relationships makes it easier for us to have happy and successful relationships. Think of it this way: If you’re trying to find someone to occasionally hang out with, the qualification bar will be much lower than if you’re trying to find someone to be your live-in nanny, which will be still lower than if you’re trying to find someone to manage your money. By the same logic, wouldn’t it make sense that it is easier to find someone to spend time and enjoy each other’s company, than it would be to find someone to share a home with? Even if you did find that person you want to share your home with wouldn’t seeing them all the time make the encounter not so special? I love chocolate more than most people, but feed it to me every meal and snack and even I will eventually hurl.

Remember the I Love Lucy show? Did you notice that Lucy and Ricky had separate sleeping beds? You might think it’s insane, but I would like to take it even further and say that a better idea would be to have two separate houses (go ahead, express your concerns for my mental well-being in comments). I think two households is the perfect solution to the complacency that occurs in a relationship. I know for most people the financial burden of keeping up two separate households is prohibitive. Don’t fret; I have your solution – invest in two master bedrooms or personal spaces. I’m not advocating celibacy; I think spending time with your love should be a conscious decision and not something forced upon by a living arrangement.

Let me hammer this idea out some more with another reason why you should split the house in order to avoid splitting the marriage. I’m super nitpicky. Not only am I a clean freak, but I also love an organized house, so if my love kept leaving the toothpaste on the counter, I would reach the “stabbing-her-in-the-neck-with-the-toothpaste-tube” point pretty quickly. Ok, I’m an awful person, but I probably won’t do that. I would be lying if I said that wouldn’t bother the F*CK out of me. Unless you absolutely do not care how your living quarters are organized (u=weirdo), maintaining separate spaces helps avoid ugly arguments over petty things.

This is the most common concerns and/or argument I hear when I present my genius “proposed living arrangement” theory. The reality is that over half of all marriages end in divorce, and kids have to live in two separate homes all the time, and most of the time the two homes are at war with each other. How can the living arrangement of two parents that are loving, caring, happy to see each other, and have fun together be worse than two separate homes where the parents can’t stand each other?

If you feel that children need to see both parents every day, then setup two separate master bedrooms and work spaces instead of two different households. Before my daughter’s mother and I officially divorced and moved into two separate domiciles, we had different bedrooms and our young daughter had the freedom to move between the bedrooms as she wanted. The restrictions that her mother and I placed upon ourselves did not extend to our daughter.

As with any project, limiting the scope of your objectives in a relationship is the ticket to success. Don’t make your loved one your maid and don’t expect them to change their lifestyle to match yours. Take a break from each other. Remember the old “absence makes a heart grow fonder?” It works. But Abe, you will say, what about being “out of sight, out of mind?” To that, I can only say – if this is your concern, then maybe need to really evaluate the state of your relationship, and the partner your with. Love, but don’t smother.

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