I met a girl on OKCupid and we started going out. This was going pretty well, we were clicking and slowing getting physical. For context, I am a 26 y/o well-educated (3 degrees) professional, and I live in the apartment area that my parents built in the bottom part of their house and basement (mostly because I am trying to pay off my mountain of student debt before moving out).
We were having a dinner date one night at a restaurant, and she suddenly freaked out because I mentioned how my parents live upstairs. She said that I had been lying to her for all this time, saying I live alone when really I live with my parents. Again, my place is a totally separate area. She then said it was too much of a breach of trust and stormed out on me there and then, never to be seen again.
Like I said, I’m not a poor unemployed freeloader who “lives with his parents”. I cook for myself in my own kitchen, I clean and do my own laundry. My door has a different address from my parents upstairs. I work hard, earn decently, and I am being fiscally responsible by trying to pay off my debt.
So what the heck happened? And more importantly, how do I explain my situation without negative assumptions being made about me?
Great question and interesting situation, and since you explained it so well, let’s get to the 3 points you really want to have me address:
- Why did she freak out?
- Was I wrong to not give her the details of my living situation?
- How do I avoid negative assumptions in the future?
Now, I want to be clear and say that although you had no bad intentions, and her freaking out seems a bit disproportional for what your situation is, she wasn’t exactly wrong. You were being dishonest by omission with her and I’m betting that the reason you omitted the details of your living situation is because you knew how it would be perceived. Yes, you technically live on your own, have a job, and are highly educated, but you’re forgetting a crucial part of the equation: Your parents are your landlords. I’ll be generous here and assume that you pay them a nominal rent fee (or even market rent) but still, you have to admit that leasing from your parents is very different from leasing a place from a stranger. Hypothetical situation: You suddenly lose your job and you can no longer afford to pay rent for several months. Are your parents going to go through with trying to evict you because you can’t pay rent? Of course not! I promise you that a landlord would. You might not see your living situation as any different from living on your own, but it is. If I was in her position, I wouldn’t have ended things so abruptly, but I would have said “You should have told me”. It’s not like you were maliciously lying to her, but your omission was a pretty big one.
So yes, you were wrong for not giving up the details of your living situation in its entirety. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with your living situation and I wish that I had the luxury of your living situation because rent in NYC is too damn high. That said, if I was in your position I would have been completely honest from the very beginning. Imagine if you started dating a girl and she said “I have my own place” and her “place” was a van down by the river. While technically speaking she has her own place, omitting the fact that it’s a van and not an actual apartment would make you feel bit misled, right? Living in a separate apartment attached to your parent’s home isn’t as drastic an example, but it’s still just as dishonest if you aren’t clear about the entirety of your living situation. Although you live in a separate living space, there still is the off-chance that you might, just might, run into your parents when you take her home after a date and that would be PRETTY FREAKING AWKWARD.
At 23 years old I was recently single and I needed to move out of my ex girlfriend’s apartment. I found a place I could afford (I made very little money at the time) and it was a basement apartment that was attached to someone’s home. The thing is, it was a very shitty “apartment“. No kitchen area, a bathroom the size of a broom closet, there were leaks whenever it rained, and the ceilings were exactly 6 feet high. I’m 6’2”, so it was basically like living in a hobbit hole. While I lived on my own, I was always upfront about my living situation with whoever I dated. “Where do you live, and do you have roommates” they would ask, and I would respond “No, no roommates. I live on my own, but it’s kind of shitty apartment with no kitchen, a tiny bathroom, and a very low ceiling”. I have to tell you, this never made a girl change her mind about dating me. In fact, even if your living situation was that you lived in your parent’s house, it wouldn’t be that much of a hindrance to meeting women. Point being, yes, some people would be turned off and some women wouldn’t want to date you because of your living situation, but if you were honest about what your situation is and why you’re in it, you’d have no problems meeting women who would date you.
You can never truly plan for and avoid negative assumptions because you can’t really control how people view you unless you tell people exactly what they want to hear. You can avoid UNNECESSARY negative assumptions by being upfront about your living situation early on and by discussing it with candor. You can say “I have 3 degrees, so I’ve got a MASSIVE amount of college debt. Because of this, I live in an apartment attached to my parent’s home. The apartment is entirely separate from my parent’s place and it’s a full apartment. Kitchen, living room, bedroom, etc. and I’m incredibly independent so it’s not like I live with my parents, just in an apartment connected to their home. This is just a temporary thing so that I can pay off my debt and plan for my future.”. There isn’t anything wrong with saying that because it’s the truth, right? You just need to be upfront about your situation and yes, some people will make negative assumptions about you, but so what? It’s a great way to eliminate people would eventually lose interest later on when they got the full story anyway. Imagine if you had told this girl when you first met about your living situation. She either would have accepted it, or decided to move on. Either way, you’d have saved yourself from having to wonder about what made her freak out.
Ultimately I think all people should be honest about any facet of their life that might impact daters. That includes whether or not you have children, your living situation (in its totality, not just the good parts), your employment status, your marital status, your STD/STI status, whether or not you watch reality television, and so on. Okay, maybe not that last part, but you need to be open an honest about anything in your life that COULD be perceived negatively and let people form an opinion.
You withheld information that was important to her, and she took it as a breach of trust. To prevent that in the future, be more open and honest about your living situation.
Good Luck Out There.