Personal or sneaky space? Traditionally, marriage meant moving in together

Friday, September 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
Sad couple. Photo/Courtesy

A Nairobi-based influencer and fitness trainer recently opened up on separate house living arrangement he has with his socialite and advocate wife, which sent the internet and their fans on reactions spin.

Some people argued that this might be the best resolution in these times to safe guard a couple’s peace of mind.

For others, it was just too sneaky for married couples to want to have different houses. 

But the fitness trainer said it was his partner’s wish to live separately. “… She loves her space. She would rather be in her house than anywhere else.

Even when she’s at my house, she’s always complaining,” he said. He continued to say that despite both of them having separate houses, the woman’s house is their primary place; where they often stay together. The two have a son together. 

“The kind of marriage I’m looking forward to. Congrats,” one social media user said.

“She’s not in are just a convenience, when a woman is in love hakuna kitu kama personal space,” another added.

“Huyu hana kakitu. Unafikiria angekuwa akona a crazy crib, that chic would have stayed in another house? She would be all over the place posting pics on Instagram.

But anaona nikama she would be downgrading…” another said. 

Separate living arrangements (also known as living separately together) means that two people who are in a romantic relationship choose to live separately, not under one roof.

While most who live apart have long distance relationships, some live near one another and are together much of the time. And virtually all expect monogamous fidelity. 

Media personality and TV host Aisha Wanjiku, argues that having separate houses as a couple is simply uncalled for. 

Psychologist, Ruth Jebet.

“I understand the need for a private space for some alone time, which I am a huge lover of, but can’t this space be created in the main house?

Example, a man cave or a she shed, where you lock yourself in and switch off your phone so you are still in the house.

Still, you can have family get-away homes where anyone of you can go to for a breather. So, you will be like, “babe I’ll be down in Watamu for a week or so, I need to clear my mind.”

The babe will know where exactly in Watamu you will be without even mentioning it. But separate houses is just sneaky and unnecessary,” she shares. 

Changing times

However, artist and designer, Kitole Kenda says times have changed and this might bring with it a lot of new norms, which might need to be accepted as sneaky as they seem.

“Well... It’s important we start viewing relationships as contractual agreements in our age and times.

And everyone should get into a relationship that suits them. I think so long as it’s working for you, it’s good,” he says.

According to relationship counsellor and family therapist, Raymond Mwaura  separate houses might be a right-out ticking time bomb to a union. 

“Living separately means you could as well be separate lovers who have issues of mistrust and could not be committed to a life-time engagement.

There is no union in separation, it’s just a game that can’t be associated with marriage partners, but could work for lovers who have no intention of staying together or are working out for road test,” he says.  

In addition to this, he advises that married couples have to be thoughtful and considerate when there are children involved.

As psychologist Ruth Jebet shares we have to accept the fact that sometimes things just don’t work out as planned.

“Living with another person can be difficult and requires compromise, sacrifice, open communication, patience, and tolerance.

In an effort to deal with the emotional devastation that comes with marriage, some couples choose counselling, others choose to separate/divorce and start new lives.

Well, though not quite as popular, perhaps there is a third option in living apart together, it could be the solution you have been looking for.

It may seem strange, but the idea makes perfect sense. In fact, some would argue that couples who live separately are allowing their relationship to breathe and grow whereas living under the same roof can lead to feelings of bitterness and being suffocated by their partners’ constant presence,” says the expert. 

The benefits

As she shares, there is in fact a lot of benefits to having separate housing arrangements.

First she agrees individuals enjoy personal space since familiarity breeds contempt.

Spending less time accommodating your partner’s mess means spending less time annoyed by them.

Some irritating incompatibilities (such as being disorganised) that may have caused your relationship challenges become bearable if not confronted every other day.

A couples tend to feel less stuck in an unsatisfying relationship. If things aren’t working, it is much easier to walk away. 

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder! The truth is, not being with your spouse every other moment of everyday will make you value the time that you spend together.

Time together is precious and enjoyable when not assumed or taken for granted. 

Sex is also better, research has shown that being in a structured routine with too much familiarity could have a negative impact on sexual desire.

Therefore, reducing familiarity could actually reverse the effects,” she explains. 

And while at it, one has enough time and space to nurture self. Instead of depending on your partner to make you happy and support you every other time, you learn to become emotionally resilient on your own while maintaining a healthy relationship where you don’t become overly dependent on your partner for everything including your happiness. 

“Living apart together makes it easier to find breathing space in a relationship, while sustaining a support network, and pursuing personal interests,” shares the expert. 

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