Singles in Relationships: Do people assume you cohabit? How do you handle it?


#1

I must admit that I've done this myself to people who were in long-term relationships, just because it's so common in society today, and I guess I also didn't want people to think I was being judgemental. So I think I've had this tendency to assume that people who were going out for a while must be sexually active and that they very well could be or were planning on cohabiting.

I can think of two examples right now in my life where I wound up with egg on my face and I'm sure there have been more:

Example One: I met a young lady (who I think was Protestant, actually) who was thinking of moving to the city I lived in. She mentioned that her boyfriend was already living there. So I asked her, "Oh, so you'll be staying with him?" Well, the lady seemed quite offended and told me that she was staying at a hotel for this visit and wouldn't move in with her boyfriend unless they got married.

Example Two: I met a young man (definitely Catholic) who mentioned going to check out condos with his almost-fiancee (no ring, but "we know we're going to get married"). I don't recall exactly what I said but I did say something assuming they'd be moving in together, and later in the discussion he said the plan was for him to move in first, and "then she can live there...AFTER we get married!" While he didn't seem offended, it did seem important to him that I knew he wasn't planning on "living in sin".

So after these experiences, I've decided it's not a good idea to assume people are living together. I do feel very bad for causing offense before. It's also occured to me that in the future I might be faced with the same issue (people thinking I'm cohabiting with a boyfriend when I'm not). So, I was wondering how people here have dealt with this assumption.


#2

People do assume, and there is nothing I can do. I can't control their thoughts/actions.

They think what they want, it's not on my conscience. I've had someone actually tell other people that a former girlfriend and I where living together (we weren't).

I didn't care, because I knew it wasn't true.


#3

Despite being extremely common (my parish's marriage prep coordinator says 80% of the couples who come to her are living together :( ) there are still a large number of folks who are doing things the right way. And because it's so counter-cultural and unexpected, the ones who are living apart while dating are probably annoyed that so many people assume they are sinning.
When I meet a couple I don't assume one way or the other, but when you talk to them for a few minutes it will usually become clear what their situation is. For instance, they'll say something like "we renovated *our *house."


#4

The only person’s assumptions you can control are your own. So, don’t assume.


#5

[quote="1ke, post:4, topic:215749"]
The only person's assumptions you can control are your own. So, don't assume.

[/quote]

I agree with that, and I guess I have another question. Did I somehow sin by assuming these people were (or were planning on) living together? I almost feel like I did, yet I'm not sure which sin it would be. I don't think it's detraction since it's not like I was running around telling everyone I knew that they were moving in together. But perhaps I was guilty of not being charitable, maybe?


#6

Well, my fiance and I live about 5000 apart, so no, lol. But when he was here for three weeks, so many people assumed he was staying in my apartment (he stayed in nearby hotel). People at work thought I was insane "you mean he is spending all that money?!" :confused:


#7

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:5, topic:215749"]
I agree with that, and I guess I have another question. Did I somehow sin by assuming these people were (or were planning on) living together? I almost feel like I did, yet I'm not sure which sin it would be. I don't think it's detraction since it's not like I was running around telling everyone I knew that they were moving in together. But perhaps I was guilty of not being charitable, maybe?

[/quote]

I wouldn't go that far as to say it was a sin. Perhaps a missed opportunity.

If you find yourself being scrupulous, please talk to a priest.


#8

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:1, topic:215749"]
I must admit that I've done this myself to people who were in long-term relationships, just because it's so common in society today, and I guess I also didn't want people to think I was being judgemental. So I think I've had this tendency to assume that people who were going out for a while must be sexually active and that they very well could be or were planning on cohabiting.

I

[/quote]

it is a matter of etiquette
well bred people have no opinion or speculation whatever on the private lives of any of their friends, relations or acquaintances and make no judgment whatever, and heaven forbid would never comment to their face or to any one else about what goes on behind closed doors. It is simply unacceptable to make any such assumption much less to verbalize it.


#9

Language tends to direct our way of thinking. When we hear that someone is "in a relationship," the understanding we take from that is that they are sleeping together. This is because the word relationship now has the meaning of sexual partnership.

In the context of contemporary society, sexual partners are expected to be living together. This expectation is so strong that if you are in a relationship, but not living together, people will ask why you are not cohabiting, as if somthing is wrong.

Of course, not every single person who is in a relationship, is having sex, nor are they all living with their relationship partner. But that is the common expectation.

Perhaps a fresh descriptive phrase is needed for people whose romantic relationship is not sexual.


#10

[quote="Magickman, post:9, topic:215749"]
L
Perhaps a fresh descriptive phrase is needed for people whose romantic relationship is not sexual.

[/quote]

perhaps a cure for the ignorance that assigns these random salacious meanings to ordinary words is in order, the same ignorance of language and grammar that gets people in a tizzy when a word like man or human is used to refer to a group of either gender. If people were not so bone stupid as to rewrite the OED to suit their own notions this re-education would not be necessary. Relationship does not equal sex. If it did there would be no possibility of any type of human interaction that did not involve genital activity. Use words for what they actually mean and leave the "wink wink" out of it.


#11

After I started dating my current boyfriend, we were at a party with all his work buddies. One of them asked us when we were going to move in together. Not "when are you going to get married", but "when are you moving in together?" We both just kind of gave the guy a weird look and said "we won't be doing that before marriage."

And then a few months later, my boyfriend posted something on facebook saying something had happened he was excited about, and one of the first comments he got was "is Sarah pregnant?" :rolleyes: So I had to comment back saying that it would be IMPOSSIBLE for that to happen, since we weren't doing anything to create babies.

But I have to say, I'm a recent convert and not too long ago this would've been my worldview as well. :( Sadly, these things ARE accepted as "normal" by a large percentage of the population. And not even something that really gets a lot of thought, it's more like a subconscious expectation at this point, which I think is why a lot of people make those kinds of assumptions and don't think twice about it.


#12

CCC

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.279

#13

I learned long ago that when we assume, we make an *** out of u and me.

You are learning life lessons. Someday you say all the right things. No one may be listening because you will be rather old, but you will wiser than you are today.


#14

I don't think you meant to do any harm. At least you weren't like the person who, when I was engaged, asked me if my now-husband and I were living together. I told her no, I didn't believe in that, and she said "that's weird," and laughed at me.:shrug: Turns out, her parents apparently are also Catholic but believe (and taught her as well) that you needed to live with someone before marriage to really know who they were...


#15

As puzzleannie said, you don't have to comment on this at all--certainly if you don't know the person well enough to know the nature of their relationship with their significant other.

But, as someone else pointed out, most people assume that being in a committed relationship means having sex. However, I think as Christians we ought to have the opposite expectations--of other Christians.

For myself, I always behave as if it is a given that people are not living together or having sex, if they are Christian (Catholic or not). If I find out otherwise, I usually say something along the lines of "Oh my, I'm sorry, I just assumed that wouldn't be the case." If they feel uncomfortable, good--they should feel uncomfortable, because they're doing something wrong. Also, assuming everyone is doing the moral thing is easy for me, and maybe makes it easier for people to BE moral. If I talk to a guy whose girlfriend is coming to visit I speak up brightly and say "The hotel must be so expensive, even if you split it! I'd be delighted to have her stay at my house, if you'd like, so that you don't have to choose between your wallet and your morals."

If I don't know whether the person is Christian or don't know them very well, then I always just choose not to let the conversation get into that intimate an area of life.


#16

=ForAll;7157616

For myself, I always behave as if it is a given that people are not living together or having sex, if they are Christian (Catholic or not). If I find out otherwise, I usually say something along the lines of "Oh my, I'm sorry, I just assumed that wouldn't be the case." If they feel uncomfortable, good--they should feel uncomfortable, because they're doing something wrong. Also, assuming everyone is doing the moral thing is easy for me, and maybe makes it easier for people to BE moral.

I did a little chuckle when I read this. Finally, someone who isn't afraid to just stand up for morals! Most Christians go about these issues the opposite way-- they assume that no one is a virgin, or refraining from cohabitation, etc. and then when they find out that the person hasn't been engaging in such activities, they're surprised. I think more so the opposite-- I expect people who say that they are Christians to abide by the moral standards of being a Christian. In fact, if you're of a faith that expects similar standards, I expect that as well from them, even if they're Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc.

Some people would say that's being judgmental or uptight or Bible-thumper or whatever. But I say that's just saying it how it really is.


#17

I don’t know. While it is tempting to cover up any disapproval of cohabitating before marriage by asking assuming questions, I do think that asking questions like “Oh so you’ll be staying with him?” depending on the tone either can actively suggest your judgment making both the nocohabitator and the cohabitator feel judged, or in another tone is can show an expression of approval like its no big deal and that you endorse living together before marriage.

I’d in regards to talking to somehow about their lives, just avoid it unless say its a long distance relationship and you might want to offer someone a place to sleep so that they don’t have to pay for a hotel but can stay separate at night from their SO.


#18

I think judgment can also happen even when you aren't cohabiting. Before my husband and I were married when we were engaged, people at his work assumed we were living together. When he corrected them, they implied that us not living together was "wrong," and passed judgment on the fate of our marriage.

Personally if I know a couple is Christian or someone is Christian I won't lie-- I will make my views about cohabitation known. It's one thing if someone isn't Christian because really, they won't care and weren't taught to care. However if you're a self-proclaimed Christian I honestly think you know better and your choices should be reflective of that.

Then again, I am super old fashioned and am one of those weirdos who waited until I was married to cohabit among other things.


#19

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