Archives for Relationships

General

Living Apart Together: It’s Not Just for Couples

In the years I spent interviewing people about the ways they are living now (for my book, How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century), I found one person after another who came up with innovative ways to get the two things they wanted in the proportions they wanted them: (1) the human connection and togetherness they craved, and (2) the time and space for themselves that they savored. I was intrigued by the committed couples (including married couples) who wanted to stay in the relationship for the long haul but live in places of their own – so much so, that I devoted an entire chapter to them.

Those couples are described as living apart together (LAT) or as dual dwelling duos. I also discovered that it is not only romantic couples who create variations of the living-apart-together lifespace. Friends, for example, can do this, too.

Continue Reading

General

From the Great Depression, an Innovative Community Still Thriving

How do people find community and connection at a time when people are ever more isolated from their neighbors, when family sizes are shrinking, and many adults are not married and don't have children? How do we all find just the right mix of time alone and time with other people?

Those are some of the key questions I addressed in my new book, How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century. The challenges I just described sound like contemporary ones, and they are. Yet there are lifespaces designed long ago that answer those challenges, and continue to endure to this day. Below I describe one of them.

Continue Reading

General

Can You Believe Findings from Psychology Studies? New York Times Casts Doubt

The New York Times caused a stir with its article, "Many psychology findings not as strong as claimed, study says." It quickly climbed to the top of the "most emailed" list. Should you be concerned? Can you really believe the results of all the studies you read about here at Psych Central and in so many other places?

I wrote about this issue previously, when similar questions were being raised at the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Columbia Journalism Review. I'm sharing that article here. (See below.) As you will see, I'm less concerned with researchers who try to do the same study and come up with different results (that can happen for reasons that are not at all nefarious or troubling) and much more concerned with the reporting and interpretation of research findings in wildly inaccurate ways.

Continue Reading

General

What We All Know that Just Isn’t So: Multigenerational Families

In my research for How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century, I met wonderful people from 3-generational and 4-generational households who welcomed me into their homes and told me their stories about how they are living. Those accounts (as well as the stories of people living in all sorts of other ways) are at the heart of the book.

I also did lots of scholarly research for the book, as I tried to learn about how ways of living have changed over time. Here is some of what I learned about multigenerational households. I didn’t know any of these things before I started working on the book.

Continue Reading

General

An Inspiring Lifespace for People Who Are Homeless

Over the past several years, I traveled around the country and read widely to learn about the creative ways that people are living now. Those nuclear family households that we once considered "traditional" now comprise fewer than 20 percent of all households in the U.S. The vast majority of us need to find new ways to live.

One concern I had at the outset is that innovative ways of living would be available only to people with lots of money and resources. Happily, that turned out to be far from true. Although a few of the people I interviewed for How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century were well off, the vast majority were not. That did not stop them from finding or creating the lifespaces that worked best for them. Whatever their circumstances, they found their place, their space, and their people.

Continue Reading

General

How Should I Live?

Have you found your "lifespace" – your place, your space, and your people? Are you living where and how you most want to live? Are you living with or in connection with the people you care about the most, or on your own if that's what feels most authentic to you?

Regardless of how you feel about how you are living now, do you fantasize about (or worry about) how you will live in the future?

Continue Reading

General

Who Changed Your Life?

In the Community of Single People, we have been trying to come up with a list of movies that do not feature a romantic plot or end with a wedding. It is amazing how challenging it can be to do so. The same is true of fiction. When I have the time to read a novel, I don't want to get sucked into the same trite story of two people meeting, facing obstacles, and ending up together in the end. My list of relevant titles is never long enough. On TV, even shows that should be safe from the typical matrimaniacal themes rarely are. It is as if the most creative minds in screenwriting and in literature are sapped of all imaginativeness when it comes to fashioning a plot or a sensibility that is not a romantic cliché.

We need ways of thinking about life that are bigger and broader than marriage and romance. So when I find someone who has burst out of the box of boredom, I like to give some credit. Those people are showing us the way to recognizing and celebrating lives that are not all about marriage and romantic relationships.

Continue Reading

General

Why Are Millennials Still Living with Their Parents Now that the Recession Is Over?

Millennials have been the targets of a lot of bashing lately. They have been described as basement kids, nest dwellers, generation stuck, the go-nowhere generation, and the "failure-to-launch" group, all because they have been living with their parents at numbers that have been increasing since 1980.

Not everyone engaged in the sport of mocking millennials, but even among those who did, there was one silver lining they foresaw: Part of the problem was the lousy economy. Once that improved, millennials would be on their way out of their parents' places and into their own.

Continue Reading

Love & Affection

Can You Know You Want to Be Single If You’ve Never Had a Serious Romantic Relationship?

A reader emailed me, telling me about some of the ways she fits the profile of people who are single at heart. For example, she loves solitude and can go for days at a time without seeing anyone else and not feel lonely. But she has never had a serious romantic relationship – for example, she's never lived with a romantic partner. So can she really know if she is single-at-heart if she has not experienced an intense romantic involvement with another person?

Continue Reading