Serenity Now: Relationships, Marriage and the Importance of Having Your Own Space

{Image: Telegraph}

Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter have already won my respect for their artistic talents and now they have won me over with their unconventional lifestyle. They have 2 kids and have been together for a decade, but get this. They each have their own house! They are side by side and linked together with a door but they each get their personal space to retreat to. I think that’s super cool and it’s what my dear friend who is married just said to me the other day. She said where does it say that two people who are faithful to each other, have to get married and who the heck said that they need to live together. She shared that the stress of coupledom comes mainly from living together when two people each have their own quirks and comfort factors. It’s the number one reason for fights. Imagine why we fight with our siblings so much, especially when we were younger and has to share a room – it’s because of that very reason.

Each person has their own unique habits and so needs their own personal space. Anyway that’s what I think and I hope it doesn’t offend anyone. What makes someone happy may drive the other person nuts. For me white noise (television or radio left on would drive me mental), but it’s relaxing for others. I can also be pretty OCD and like things a certain way. As I age, my quirks just keep increasing. My friend is a neatness freak and she goes crazy when her untiring efforts are disrupted each time by a hubby who is just more comfortable in a messy effortless home space. Messiness doesn’t bother him and I guess half the world’s population. The other half, like me and my friend, can get anal about his.

Even if you are your partner are both neat freaks, there will be something else. No two people are that alike unless you’re identical twins? I am sure there were tons of habits my grandma had that drove my grandpa nuts and vice versa. There was just no other option then. No one dared to go against society’s norms. You would feel the wrath if you did. Anyway, wouldn’t it make relationships last a whole lot longer without this type of constant distress? Just something interesting to think about.

The article at Celebitchy immediately caught my eye as this was an issue that I was just discussing the other day. Here are some interesting bits from it:

“A lot written about me is wrong. They say Tim and I are a mad couple with subterranean tunnels between our adjoining houses, and that our children live down the road with another couple. We just have two houses knocked together because mine was too small. We see as much of each other as any couple, but our relationship is enhanced by knowing we have our personal space to retreat to. It’s not enforced intimacy. It’s chosen, which is quite flattering – if you can afford it.”

She added: “Tim does snore, and that’s an element. We’ve tried lots of remedies that don’t work. He has a deviated septum and doesn’t want an operation.”

They also have no plans to marry.

“We’re told we’re stupid [for inheritance tax reasons], but it’s a habit we’re used to. I worry about death,” said Bonham Carter.

What I found even more fascinating than the article were the comments that appeared from readers who were married and living with their spouses, but supportive of the idea:

December 27th, 2010 at 11:25 am
I was ready to make a snarky comment, but after reading this, I think she almost sounds normal…and I agree, Kaiser, that they are unconventional, but it works for them.

December 27th, 2010 at 11:39 am
I love her reasoning. and I bet more marriages would last if people had their own personal space to retreat to, to cool off and such.

Love Helena. She is just so fantastic!!!

December 27th, 2010 at 11:39 am
I wish me and my husband had seperate homes like that. I’m sure if would stop a lot of arguments from happening.

December 27th, 2010 at 11:40 am
Two homes sounds darn near perfect to me. No arguing over hogging the tv or the bathroom. If one person is messy and one is a neat freak, no one has to compain. Yeah, that could be bliss.

December 27th, 2010 at 11:44 am
I think their setup is awesome. Good on them. I would LOVE to have the same set up…and I’m still massively in love with my partner after over ten years.

December 27th, 2010 at 11:46 am
Loved Tims films for years, and I like her – she seems a bit different but grounded. If the seperate houses work, then fair play to them.

December 27th, 2010 at 11:46 am
While I think that the side by side houses are barmy, I don’t find the snoring reason unusual.
I don’t sleep in the same bed with my partner. It’s been like that for a decade and yes, snoring can be that bad.

December 27th, 2010 at 11:46 am
A bit kooky but that’s their style. Some of the rich live in homes big enough that they don’t have to see each other so in terms of intimacy it doesn’t make a difference whether there are two adjoining houses or one big house. If a couple wants to be together, they will find a way to make it work for them.

December 27th, 2010 at 12:08 pm
my ex’s snoring was so bad that we couldn’t sleep in the same room. In fact there were several times his snoring woke me FROM ANOTHER FLOOR OF THE HOUSE! I worry that he will die of sleep apnea when our kids are at his house.

Johnny Depp’s Girl:
December 27th, 2010 at 12:21 pm
I would do the same if I was married. I think its great to have a place to retreat to when you need the space and that fits my personality tremendously.

I love HER! She is so quirky and I love that!

December 27th, 2010 at 12:28 pm
I totally understand that and really wish we could do the same *sigh* Have loved her since “Room with a View”

December 27th, 2010 at 12:37 pm
i don’t get the big deal. me and my partner have separate rooms because i toss and turn so much at night that he can’t sleep and people think it’s a terrible sign but we’ve been happy together for 10 years sowe just laugh

The original article appeared in The Telegraph, but it just focuses on the issue of snoring.

{Image: Bonciz}

Other famous couples who have been together for ages and are not married include Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie too, but they haven’t been together for as long. I think in coupledom, to me at least, being faithful and true is tons more important than physically sharing a space or having it certified. It’s just that society will punish you legally and financially without it. Even at work you’re not entitled to benefits unless you’re legally married. I believe that children out of wedlock are not entitled to benefits either but I am not too certain about this one. (I think I’m going to get into so much trouble for this post, but I just feel the need to express this)

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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10 Responses to Serenity Now: Relationships, Marriage and the Importance of Having Your Own Space

  1. thinkpinktoo says:

    Having lived by myself for so long now… I think I would find it really hard living with someone too.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Your life sounds amazing!! 🙂 Yeah we all have our particular habits and routines and need for space. It’s so hard to adapt. I find myself becoming less and less sociable these days. I guess I like to be away from the glare of Society’s judgemental ways. I get annoyed if I don’t have my own time and space for winding down.

  2. Kirsten says:

    Personally, if a couple are already in a loving and committed relationship, I don’t see why there’s any need to actually GET MARRIED. After all, at that point the only difference would be a silly piece of paper (albeit legally binding). Especially now that society (or at least, Western society) accepts unmarried couples cohabiting, who says you can’t still be like a normal family and raise kids without the marriage certificate?

    The last year of my living in New Zealand, my ex-boyfriend and I more or less lived together. We had to share my room in the flat in Wellington. The room was huge but it still drove me crazy because I would be bossing him about all the time going “PICK UP YOUR STUFF, NO EATING COOKIES IN BED! LOOK AT THE CRUMBS!!!” UGH UGH UGH.

    I guess the 2 house thing would work if you REALLY kind of respected each other’s space. I know of many couples who would probably end up trying to give “helpful suggestions” about the state of each other’s homes and I guess that would probably still cause arguments.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I think most of us are very individual beings with our own little quirks. What you said is so true. I find that loads of females in relationships get riled up about those very things you just mentioned. Ugh cookies in bed would drive me bonkers too! hahahaha.

  3. Guus says:

    Having separate homes is one way to create the space, but I think in the root of things it’s the psychological ability to ‘give each other a break’ every now and then. At times, I have the need for a retreat, but I’m just as fine spending it by taking a walk on my own or spending an afternoon in the library. No need for my own place. It’s most important that both understand and give each other space.

  4. lynnette-net says:

    Guess different people have their own ways to deal with relationships… but i guess cohabiting isn’t that popular in Asian societies yet… or at least in my social circle…

  5. When it comes to co-habitating, it always comes back to the “milk and cow” thing for me…(why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?) And the same argument (it’s just a silly piece of paper) can be used for a reason to get married as it is to not get married.
    My ideal would be one common house, with a room for each partner, which is what I have….the garage is his, and the laundry room is mine.

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