The life-changing magic of living together.
Anna, thank for inviting the thread. And thank you always, for what you write.
I am currently very happily living alone in the context of other humans, sharing my daily doings with my dog. When I moved here at the beginning of the year I woke each day with a shower of relief washing over me. The softest falling water I had felt in a long time. It's a time of hibernation and recalibration following a pile of loss and currently it suits me just perfectly. Space to move and break and meet more parts of myself. By me giving myself what I need, in solitude and in practices I am creating healthier and more trusting relationships to those around me. I find myself closer, softer, more trusting, more loving toward people than ever before.
And I am overjoyed to say that I feel the most supported I have been in twenty nine years. Where I can reach out to the closest people to me and without shame or guilt, receive their loving embrace. Life feels RICH.
I’ve been living with my partner since February of this year, after living alone for about five years. We share a one bedroom with three dogs and a cat It is challenging to not have my own space but necessary as we transition to a new city/chapter. Ideally, we would have separate bedrooms. I enjoy the contrast and freedom of a space just for me because the option to spend time with my partner (or other roommates in the past) becomes more attractive when it’s a choice. I would also like for us to live with more housemates. I miss the casual socialization that comes from living in community, and the collective care you highlight in your writing.
I’m currently living with my mother, as I always have. My partner and I have plans to move in together in November and I’m overwhelmed, scared, and excited. I can’t wait to finally create my/our own space and have a more intimate relationship with my partner. I feel incredibly exhausted by the need to make my mother feel comfortable and happy and I think it will be the greatest relief of my life to have my own space. Change is scary but it feels good.
I currently live in a house with 3 other women for the last 4 years, and over that time period we've swapped two housemates as people have left the city. We're definitely the kind of household that comes together for dinner once a month, shares resources, has a laugh together, but I also feel that since the pandemic our social time with each other has changed a lot. I think all of us are a bit more withdrawn and enjoy our own time and space more. I miss one of the girls who was there when I first moved in and I miss the dynamic we had back then -- but this was before new partners, the pandemic, and other things had settled in.
I want to move in with my boyfriend and also move city in the next year but I am worried about how it will be to live with someone you are directly in a relationship with. I've lived with a boyfriend before but my current relationship has been semi-long distance so far. I wonder how we will fare when squished up together.
My sister lives with her partner in Glasgow but has the most amazing circle of friends, and they all live within walking distance. There is a balance and harmony to their ecosystem of game nights, potlucks and day trips that I really crave. I feel like I haven't fostered anything like that in London and I hope one day to be part of something big and loving like that.
I'm living with a friend who I've known since middle school following the end of a 7 year long romantic relationship (I lived with him for almost 3 years). It's been a transformative time after the breakup mostly having to do with putting in more love, time, energy, and vulnerability to my friendships. And actually realizing for the first time that platonic relationships are where I can also pour a lot of myself, my fears, insecurities, and joys and not just save it for a romantic partner. It's been nice to get to this place of enjoying the process of deepening my friendships, but I'm def still confronting what future romantic relationships will look like balanced with my friendships. So it helps to read your post on seeing how we can pour into specific relationships and how specific people in our lives can pour into ours <3
Thank you for sharing this, Anna! I grew up with love modelled as self sacrifice and extreme devotion. I too sometimes have to remind myself that I am not responsible for taking care of another person, and they are not responsible for taking care of me. No person can meet every single need of another, and nothing beats the feeling of figuring out how to meet some of those needs myself! It’s very much a learning (or un-learning) process that I’ll keep continuing to practise.
Beautiful words, as always. I live right now with my boyfriend and our cat, which is wonderful, and my brother lives in the apartment downstairs, for which I am tremendously grateful. Growing up in a large family (I have six siblings), I often had to carve out time and places to be alone. We were homeschooled, so my siblings and I literally spent every waking minute together; I shared a room with one (or more) of my sisters until I was twenty-two. I was so excited to move out and have my own space at last. And then I found it lonely! I miss that feeling of knowing that in each room of your house, someone you love is there. I miss being able to be alone together; sitting side by side at the table with my siblings, each silently doing their own things. I miss the company, I guess. It's not something I see talked about very often, so it was lovely to read about your experience of the abundance that comes from living with loved ones, whoever they may be.
I moved back in with my parents a little over a year ago. It wasn’t a move I wanted, but it was clearly the next step with where my life and finances were. It was a hard year with a lot of deep healing, facing many aspects of my childhood I hadn’t realized we’re still buried deep in me. That said, things have eased and shifted over time and I appreciate our routines now. It feels like living in community, three people sharing a house, more than the old parent-child dynamic. And living in community is what I want. I envy your setup though. I love my parents, but we don’t hold the same beliefs, views of the world, or how we move through life. I hope to cultivate shared community with others where there is a deeper bond and understanding, but I don’t see the path from here to there and that makes me sad sometimes. The yearning is real along with the practice of trust it necessitates.
i live alone and love it yet i do feel lonely every time i am very sick. when i am mildly sick, i enjoy having an excuse to do nothing but nest.
I am living with two good friends right now. We coordinate and share responsibilities in some aspects of our home life, but also maintain a fair degree of independence. This is a compromise that I think is well-balanced to honor each of us, but I personally wish for our house and living situation to be far more communal than it currently is. Some days I feel very content with things as they are. I get to share space with two incredible friends and see them more than I would otherwise. We support each other with cooking, cleaning, etc. in a way feels like just barely enough to me, but enough nonetheless. In the absence of bigger commitments to one another, I have flexibility and freedom that I do enjoy. It is good, for now. Other days I wonder what would happen if I asked for more from my living situation, and if I pushed through the fears I have around change, specifically the possibility of being less physically close with my dear friends. I do not always feel that my housemates share my beliefs around the importance of the home and the joys of being in service to others. I cherish meals and chores done together. I cherish my solitude more when I know there is a support system for me to fall back on. I cherish doing things for others. I long for a living-together community that feels less like we are just passing through. I long for us to be resting places for one another. A collective that forms one nest, building something that is bigger than any one of us and lasting. Right now it feels like we each have our own nest, but in a shared tree. And I think for now that is close enough for me. But I do someday want to listen to the voice inside of me asking to be closer, and see if I like where that leads me.
I live in a little wooden apartment in a sweet ass little town (Edison, WA) with a huge tabby cat named Mouse (not helpful when I am sick) by myself. But. NEXT DOOR TO MY MOM. I'm sorry for shouting, but it is both comforting and infuriating to be in close proximation to my mother because she is both incredible and confounding. But here we are. Figuring it out. I let her buy me a watermelon the other day and that felt like a big step in our interdependence. I hope you are feeling better. I had food poisoning this year and I feel like it changed my personality forever. It can be a rough journey.
At this particular moment my living situation is very much in flux, there was a fire and landlord nonsense until at some point I may have another place to be but right now I have an apartment I can’t live in and a place on the other side of the country with my old friend and new partner, and things are difficult to say the least.
I have been living with my partner (now husband) in Brooklyn for nearly seven years. During and shortly after the pandemic, many of those in our 'village' decided to move out of NYC. This has been a blow to our esteem and social lives. However, we have had more visitors to our 650 sq ft. apartment this year than in the previous six years combined. All this has exacerbated my desire for more space. I am in a perpetual state of longing for guest space. I want to be able to host my village with soft sheets and cozy scents and a water carafe on the nightstand. The only way towards this is to make more money. Capitalistic ideologies ensue. I take a break and read your substack.
I've been living alone for over a year now. Until recently it was exactly what I needed, space to grieve, the autonomy over my schedule. But now, Ive been missing coming home to someone. The ease of movie nights when no one wants to leave the house, creating on the living room floor, and spontaneous adventures that rise from yelling "You want food?" through our doors. Since Ive put this desire out there, many opportunities have come to me. But they have all been wild life changes. I have no desire to uproot the garden ive been pouring my heart into the last year. Just some gentle change, If anything I want to make that same garden more lush.
Currently I’m living is a 663 sq ft house with my husband of 31 years and a 12 year old chiweenie. I love it, but would like more space and more nature. My sister lives 3 blocks away, which is so nice. We workout together 3 days a week. I never thought I would like working out with anyone, ever, but it’s one of my favorite things. I work from home and walk to my office about a mile away when I need to go in. The post office is close and I do have an ever evolving group of characters that I chat with during the week. The people I see regularly in my life are such a gift.
I can’t wait to read the book you suggested. I would also like to recommend Shona Vertue workouts. They’re so well done. I’m addicted.
this is so special, and i love the ripple effect that was caused by you receiving care and how it made it seem more possible to pass that care onto T. being sick is possibly the most vulnerable thing that we can do in the context of love, but it’s often the only time we get to practice receiving in a situation where we truly have no other choice to lol. i got covid when i lived alone and it was so hard to not have support, and yet i saw the parts of me that were relieved to not have to be a burden to someone else--it reminded me of the parts of me that still needed to learn how to accept help and not feel so much shame just because i have a body that needs support. it’s not a crime to be ill!! i hope you’re feeling much better by today ❤️