Is Communal Living For You?

Apr 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Last fall, two couples began an experiment. One couple is from near Chicago, the other from near Dallas. They converged in the Scottsdale area, and began sharing a domicile which met their mutual needs. They are part time residents in their respective locations, thus enabling a two home convenience in various seasons.

One might wonder why in the world would anyone want to consider such an arrangement. What are the considerations?

* If a couple desires enjoying a second home, without the full burden of a year’s lease, shared expenses becomes the first and most notable advantage. Working out a clear budget and sharing of same will be the first requirement. Including all expenses: lease payments, grocery and other essentials, utilities and monitoring those frequently will add to the workability of such a plan.

* There are some obvious wrinkles that have to be ironed out and agreed to.
Those wrinkles include reaching practical and objective agreements regarding shared living arrangements. Having intermittent conversations about what is working and what is not will also be necessary. Addressing the comforts of all will necessitate the compromise of each.

*Determining a location means doing research and having a clear picture of what each couple’s needs are. For example: a house with two master suites works perfectly; shared duties on a predictable schedule, will help keep tranquility high and chores addressed.

*Talking through any disagreements, misunderstandings or adjustments will be a necessary and somewhat frequent requirement. Never assume all is well. Four people comprise a small committee, a mini-community which must agree to and review the rules and principles that binds them together.

*In such an environment, there should be no primary or alpha person. Consensus will be the rule of governing. Thoughtfulness and consideration will be the standard for living.

*Agreements regarding use of the house in the absence of one or another of the parties will need to be reached, especially, if/when children or pets are involved.

*A lease arrangement allows for an exit date or negotiating extending the arrangement. If situations collide which create the need for one or the other couple to vacate the agreement, such particulars need to be provided for within the initial agreement.

*Respect for one another’s privacy and living style will be honored, within the agreed space boundaries available. This will require some compromise and mutual respect.

*An understanding of shared furnishings and equipment will, of course, need to be reached. If bought independently or cooperatively, an agreement will be required to enable a fair and balanced situation.

*When disagreements occur, as they will, identify a time and a comfortable environment, for discussing and working through such. These will likely take place less often than expected.

*Avoid being picky or always needing matters to come out “your way.” That will not work. It will create stress and fissure within the communal arrangement and will eventuate in its failure. Make clear your needs, but always be prepared to negotiate to reach a workable solution.

*Finally, decide if you can live communally and remain friends. If not, forego the idea. If so, go for it and discover a rich new way to live.

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