When I was a kid, the most thrilling thing that could happen to me was getting permission to have a friend stay the night. These sleepovers were so much fun that I was sure when I grew up I would live in a giant house with all of my friends forever. (I never wondered who would do the dishes.)
Nearly everyone I know had similar daydreams, but this is something we are supposed to grow out of, and replace with daydreams about living with a romantic partner.
This isn’t entirely going as planned for our society. It seems like every few weeks an article is circulated that inspires a giant online hand-wringing about millennials resisting committed romantic relationships, or Gen Xers continuing to have roommates. (“The millennial generation lacks the ability to love!” “Meet the people flatsharing in their 40s!”)
We’ve collectively decided that people who live with their friends have failed terribly, people who live with a partner have achieved incredible domestic success, and people who live alone or don’t centre their lives around romance are possibly just broken.
We are all encouraged to work hard to have stable lives. But at the same time, we’re encouraged to anchor our lives around the relationship that is the least stable.
It is uncomfortable to think of romantic love in those terms, but it’s not inaccurate.