by: Rossella Forle’
After year of living alone or with a lot of psychopathic or lovely flatmates, for reasons still unclear, at some point I decided that was time to move in together with my boyfriend, share with a man everything the bathroom, the bed and my premenstrual irritability.
The transition from student life, single woman to a quiet couple life, it is difficult and traumatic.
In my many years of experience of living with friends and not, I can count the most strange, special, beautiful, unstable and drugged living arrangements. If you live together you can really know someone.
During the University in Perugia I shared the house with boring students of Law, artists weed smokers, actresses, and Spanish in Erasmus.
In Rome I shared with friends, with whom I spent evenings on the couch talking shit, sharing problems, worrying about my dissertation, go to parties in the countryside, ride a scooter around at night and go to the Link* in Bologna.
In London, however, my life were still in between the student and the adult stage. The column of dirty dishes in the sink and the empty rum bottles in the living room, as the stench of moldy ashtrays in the corner, are the same from the Uni time , while the alarm clock at seven in the morning, a shitty job for a minimum wage had more to do with the first approaches to the real work world . On top of everything the pressure of attending a Marketing Master degree with rich American and Japanese students. So I thought that living in squats would give me a certain economic freedom, I would not fell forced anymore to work at £ 5.50 per hour in a cafe or in a bar in Shoreditch, when Shoreditch was not fashionable.
Living in squats is a little bit like living in a camp. I took advantage of the hot shower of the neighborhood pool, to keep myself fit and clean. The beauty of the squat is sharing everything, absolutely everything with everyone. I met a lot of people most used to share common spaces in squats, that between open minded roommates during the university years.
Panama saw me instead, switch from damp houses in London to a super apartment on the 12th floor with a cleaner, in the chic district of Panama City. I felt a bit like Tony Montana at the top of his social climb.
After six months in the city, I realized that I wanted to have a real experience in a tropical country and I moved on the Pacific coast to a fishing village, living in a house with surfers. One of the best experience of my life, I learned surfing and I smoked the best weed of my life.
In my ten years of life around, I think I have seen the most strange habits. Back to Rome I decided to live alone. My little tiny studio flat in Monteverde seemed a mansion. No more hair of others girls in the sink, no more awkward conversation in the kitchen in the morning with an unknown guy that slept with your flat mate the night before. Freedom! I could look at the whole series of Romanzo Criminale or Boris in one afternoon and no one would think I was an antisocial person. I could finally get around with panties, no one would see it, apart from my neighbor.
Living with myself was important to learn how to be alone, after I’ve shared the house with my ex boyfriend that ended badly. My first experience as couple was a disaster, lasting little more than five months. I have not yet understood why I decided to move in with him. He was a child, I was looking for a man, willing to live with me, more that anything I was trying to prove to myself I could do it.
My current relationship is important and how all the important things is beautiful, complex and difficult at the same time, but full of joy. Living together at 30 years old can be dangerous, if it comes from the desperate search of stability, as if settling down is something that you can plan in advance (see marriage and children).
The decision to move in with a man should be thoughtful, not that I did it. Try not to give in to temptation to move in together if the main feeling is fear of loneliness.
As 30 years old women, we live with this inner voice that encourages us to be with someone, because single is synonymous of loneliness and desperation.
So as far as we are or pretend to be emancipated, the fear of being an old “maid” frightens us, we don’t really realize that it is a simple cultural imposition. Same as motherhood, I have seen many, too many women that probably without children would be more happy.
The children or the marriage is not and cannot be kind a goal to reach to show the world that we are adults. We are sure that being adult means getting married?
What is stability? or rather what we mean for stability. It’s not just having a home, job, marriage and the mortgage to pay. Should be an emotional stability, one of the most difficult to reach, because it’ s the result of an hard work on themselves. Unfortunately, I have experienced that, without an emotional balance, the risk is ending up with the wrong men.
I heard stories of strong beautiful women with career scared of being in couple, after disappointing experiences they don’t have more the desire to invest in a relationship. Who wonder if it’s a generational problem, the difference social balance between men and women or the just constant uncertain conditions of our contemporary life.
There is no specific reasons, I think. For long time before I met Mattias, I believed that relationship were like the perfect match with the perfect man, that doesn’t exist. “American films with happy endings, ruined us ” as my friend Marco said ones. Love is the most important glue but it’s also the most difficult one to find. I found love, the real one, at the tender age of 32 years and I realized that what I felt until then was attachment, co-dependency, admiration or fear of loneliness, but nothing, nothing even remotely similar to love.
Love is the courage to face problems together, to keep your individuality and merging with the other person, keeping intact your taste for music, style, food, holiday and have a common vision of life and future.
So many times I have taken the shape of my men, becoming the perfect girlfriend, it was my way to explore new things but I did not realize that in reality I was creating relationships with selfish men, and I was too weak to admit it.
I reached levels of endurance and tolerance hard to understand, love does mean suffer for someone, true love is pure happiness.
True love can also be unbearable, like see him with the hole in the boxer, or you obsessed with cleaning. True love is arguing cause you while he is talking about work, you’re chatting with your friend on whatsapp about the shoes that you saw. True love is not bored of the other, even when you’re bored on your own. True love is buy a yellow Triumph Spitfire from 1976, just to go sometimes to the beach together in the summer, even if you live in England.
My man is Swedish, was a fortuitous choice. I will not stick with the usual stuff about the Italian men, it could be just a populist conviction who would make all Italian women united, in the hate towards a category often rightly mistreated.
Not all Italian men are jealous and insecure, not everyone are self-centered and too focused on the perception that others have of them, not all Italian men are unfaithful and prefer to go out with a younger woman rather than face the disaster of their marriage.
All men from all around the world are like that, we are all weak and complex, and often the solution that others see the most right for us, it’s just the most difficult to attain.