Cohabitation - Good or Bad Habit?

Rebecca St James and I slept in the same room last year. One year ago, I went to Austria to conduct a design training in the Eastern European Region. I stayed in a beautiful guest house in Baden. My room had two beds and a heater (which I figured how to use only after three weeks). I even got complimentary Chocolates for staying there.

Rebecca St James (the famous gospel singer) had stayed in the same guest house while touring Europe. And right after she left (a gap of a few months), I occupied her room. And now that I've burst your half inflated bubble of belief that I cohabitated, I'm gonna share my thoughts on the subject. But just a quick mention: On this trip, I met Kurt Cobain's cousin-in-law, and Bono and Steven Spielberg's look-a-like (my brief claim to fame).

But the whole world is Cohabitating
At a youth camp several years ago, a debate on Cohabitating - Good or Bad? happened. One of the smart alecky points raised was: Afterall, the whole world is cohabitating. Profound as it sounds, the definition of cohabitating in this article is: sharing a room with the opposite sex (opposite sex: male or female). (Though some may deem sharing of a house controversial and compromising).

Is it wrong to share the room with someone of the opposite sex? Why is this question asked in the first place? Isn't it a no-brainer? The answer is yes, duh.

Well if yes reflects your opinion, you probably might want to re-examine your blindspots which I hope to point out.

I'm of the opinion that it is not right. Simply because it makes respecting the opposite sex a walk on a tightrope. In an age where people (namely women) are violated via pornography, sexual exploitation and course joking, anything that predisposes both men and women to vulnerable conditions are risky.

In the same room, privacy is compromised. She's in the shower. And you're (guy) 'reading' your novel on your bed. She walks out semi-drenched in her towel to get her clothes and you try to pay no attention. Yeah, gimme a break! Not all guys think with their heads (or at least with the head I have in mind). Guys are hardwired to respond visually when dealing with the opposite sex. Women connect emotionally. And when your personal space is shared, so do the eye candies and emotional warmth. When sharing the room becomes a frequent thing, the threshold for privacy erodes. Soon, privacy would be defined as "keeping your drool to your side of the pillow".

But it's only for one night?

Heard of the frog in the kettle analogy? To boil a frog real well, you don't throw a frog into a pot of boiling water. The frog will jump out. You place the frog in a pan of moderate water, on slow fire. The frog acclimatises to the temperature without reacting. Soon, you'd have frog soup.

Similarly, when the first time happens (and oh nothing went wrong), there'll always be a deliberation to do it again. Afterall, we're matured adults we know our boundaries. The problem about being matured is we know our boundaries too well. We can break them and cover them up so nobody notices.

But hey I'm a student in an expensive country, I need to save some cash, right?

Exactly. Saving cash is a good idea. I don't think the rent gets cheaper when you share it with the opposite sex. Heard of same-sex rooming? Eat vegetables instead of red meat. It's cheaper and healthier. Walk instead of drive. Get rich parents. But never use lame excuses.

But we're dating, so privacy isn't so much an issue. We've gotta learn to accept each other in the relationship. Besides, this could be a way to prepare for marriage.

At this point, I'm thoroughly impressed by the level of commitment and thinking such people have put into their decision to live-in. Firstly, he or she, yes the one you're dating, is potentially someonelse's spouse. So yes, privacy is still an issue. Would you like your spouse to know that someone else has had full view (and access) to your body before? So much for being matured adults huh.

Secondly, living-in doesn't guarantee a 'successful marriage' nor success at finding the right spouse. Some might say: This is like a test-drive period. You try it out for a period, and if it fits you well, you commit to purchase. If you're the one test-driving, that could sound reasonable. But what if you were the car who got rejected after being taken on a long ride? Sucks doesn't it?

Unfortunately, the analogy that best describes cohabitation 'for marriage' is the credit card. We want to the enjoy the benefits of marriage - the room-sharing, intimacy, etc. before paying for it with the commitment of marriage. This is dangerous. In a society that values instant gratification, cohabitation becomes a well accepted norm. The institution of marriage condescends into just another certificate for the file. Sadly, when things don't work out well, people get hurt. Really hurt. And the hurt passes on.

But I know myself. I know my limits.

If you know your limits, why push it? We are led into temptations by our own desires. You and I know that our hearts are deceitful. We say things we don't mean, we make decisions only to regret it shortly after. So why use stilts on the tightrope?

I'm gay, so does your opposite-sex room sharing s**t apply to me?

Whoa. Talk about getting complexed. Wait for my article on homosexual expression some time next October.

In Summary

It's not difficult to imagine and realise the difficulties that can evolve from a small step of sharing the room with the opposite sex. While some may draw the line at an: only if we need to share basis (earthquake, broken down air-conditioning, etc.) others abhor the mere thought of renting a house together despite sleeping in separate rooms. Every action does have a consequence, sooner or later.

Prevention is definitely better than cure. But, we really need to think this through and decide. I will help you make the decision by saying: NO. But you have to make your own decisions. By saying this, I'm aware that I'm not infallible to such situations that could arise. What if on the next trip with friends, the rooms are really expensive and I'm out of cash for a second room? Or what if on a mission trip to Nepal everyone sleeps around the fireplace in the communal area. Do I go ahead? No easy answer. This is where discernment is really needed. But at least, by being aware of its dangers we gain some foresight.


lemonademaker said…
Ha ha.. a friend thought I sounded angry through this post. Nah, far from that. Thought I'd write this to offer some thoughts on the subject. No emotions attached : )

BlueHeaven said…
Though I totally agree with and commend this entry, the 'summary' part i have to say has a touch of jerry springer... kev howd u fancy a career in television? ;)
lemonademaker said…
Haha... yeah, now that you've pointed it out, It does sound Jerry Springer-ish. I like how he wraps up each complicated issue. Hmm... perhaps TV would be a good step forward!
Sush said…
good thoughts, kev. i agree. :)
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