Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The changing nature of family

The link below interested me as it's the other side of something I have read more about-- unconventional living arrangements. By unconventional, I don't mean sexually but just not the norm of male-female living together. It is discussing a changing view of family.

With older people this co-op living has been seen more and more as the economic conditions in the country become more difficult. Sometimes the people are living in quarters someone else created and charged a fee for the help provided. Sometimes a group gathers together finding they can live better together than alone.

But to see it be four men not yet 40 who have done it for eighteen years, where none of the four are couples, well that's a bit different.

The benefits are emotional and economic.  Obviously they can live in better quarters by sharing them but there are emotional pluses. Wonder though what will happen if one falls in love and leaves home. Will they look for a fourth to fill out their budget needs?

It's not uncommon out where I live to see it be brothers or sisters who have just continued to live together. Or one child who stays with the parent both for economic reasons but also convenience and care. The reasons vary; but if it works, it's good and maybe more people need to consider optional living arrangements.


Lynn said...

It’s a grand idea, Rain. Particularly for singles. I did see a documentary on four mid-life women in the same situation They were economically strapped and it worked for them. One of them was married. As residents of the large house found it handy to have a male among them for heavy-lifting chores they could no longer manage. There are so many books (novels) about residential hotels. As we age social interaction is important.

joared said...

I recall my mother speaking of brothers and sisters continuing to live at home, but think other singles doing so might have been suspect of who knows what in her day.

Also,in recent years was surprised to learn a colleague, her sister and brother in their thirties or older, all of whom were in very well-paying professions, continued to live at home with their mother who was quite healthy.

Single girls used to pair up, sometimes with a third, in my day in order to afford a nicer apt. Often a single didn't earn enough to rent even a small apt. on her own in a decent area. Of course, you best be careful about living together too long since rumors might begin to spread. After all, women were considered old maids if they hadn't wed by age 23 -- obviously there must be something wrong with you.

Always made sense to me and still does though I never shared an apt. -- lucked out and found an efficiency size I could afford, though farther from my work than I liked. Landlady said she usually only rented to men as the unit was half of a double, but made an exception for me for some reason.

joared said...

Not sure it's clear, but what always made sense to me and still does is singles sharing. I think today single men and women share units -- platonic setups -- women like a man for safety, or two gals will bring in a guy. As always in those setups is compatibility, and leases setup so if someone moves out no one is left holding the bag. It's really just a continuation of what a lot of college kids who live off campus do today, as did my son in AZ.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I think it is a great arrangement for those that find it satisfying---on so very many levela. Years and years ago, I knew 4 guys that actually bought a big house together, here in Los Angeles, which gave them so much more living space than each could have had, alone. I don't know how that all played out as they moved along in their more intimate relationships...But it certainly served them all well, at the time. Economics is definitely changing the way many many people live---young and old.
This is a very interesting subject, Rain, and I very much enjoyed that article.

Taradharma said...

yes, great article. I've been reading more and more about communal living arrangements for all ages and genders. 18 years of living together is a long time -- they've outlasted many marriages! The secret it seems for them, is stated at the end of the article, they don't project into the future much and are living together because it works for them now. I would love to follow the story in a few years and see where they all are.

We are social creatures, many of us, and living in groups just makes so much sense if you can do it with minimal drama!

Anonymous said...

Somehow, I fail to account such a situation as "unconventional". Who sold us the bill of goods that a family was defined as a man, a woman, and 2.63 children? Hogwash!
Cop Car

Rain Trueax said...

Yes, the irony is the definition of family is what the far right has used to justify blocking gays from having normal family lives, and yet for centuries family has not been defined purely as a religion would do it and children have often been raised quite well in homes of one sex. So often men went off to war, collect gold or whatever cause and the women with aunts and grandmothers raised the children. It does not require a man and woman to raise a child-- it requires caring, love, respect and responsibility. And family is a group of people who love and are committed to each other.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

We sold a lot next to our house to a builder who built a large house. Now 3 generations live together plus some teens they take in. The problems arrise from the number of dogs, cars and number of unkept garbage cans that are a result of high density living. I think the arrangement is good for the elders of the family but they do need to design for more parking for the usual 12 plus cars.
I know this is a little beyond the traditional family only I am saying we need to design communities for accomidating the change of family units.

Rain Trueax said...

That can get into a zoning problem which is a good additional consideration. If someone ends up renting out say housing within a single family neighborhood, it becomes a small apartment building and that can get tricky for the neighborhood in terms of its infrastructure. An aspect to this that is why I favor zoning especially in the country where our land is agricultural but only that due to zoning laws that Oregonians have several times voted to maintain.

Annotated Margins said...

Every Monday night T* and I get together with our best friends to fix dinner and play pinochle. More often than not, we travel together in our RV's. We constantly talk about the various ways we could put our lives together, perhaps by traveling the country together in our rigs, or banding together with other couples to afford a plot of land where we could park our RV's and homestead. The buzzword in our little circle is "tribe."

Rain Trueax said...

AM, That reminds me of something my husband and i used to discuss but more recently have set aside-- buying a big piece of land with four like minded couples and doing as you described except then I thought of building four homes on opposite corners of the property with some land communally controlled and some independently owned. The RV would work that way also with some outbuildings. The tricky part is like-minded ;)

Annotated Margins said...

Yes... the tricky part is like-minded, and remaining like-minded.