I Love My Baby Daddy, But Not Enough To Live With Him

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alternative living arrangements“You’re funny,” my boyfriend/baby daddy said to me after I told him I could see myself living with him six days a week.

But I wasn’t being funny at all. I was telling him the truth. I truly don’t see how married people do it. In fact, I wish married people would speak up more often about how they live with someone every single day, hopefully for the rest of their lives. There are so many books out there on being single, but no books out there about the truth about marriage and how to live with someone.

I hate to admit this, but my ideal is that my boyfriend/baby daddy could live next door to me. Don’t get me wrong: I love this man more than any man I’ve ever been with, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. It’s just that I also want a break, at least one night a week. It isn’t feasible, economically, for us to afford two houses next to each other. However, it is feasible that he rents a place, which he does, to be closer to his own children’s school and so he can be there for their after-school activities. Even after we have our baby, I told him I’d pay for him to keep it.

As it stands, he sleeps there two nights a week, and I really look forward to those two nights a week. Don’t get me wrong, again, I miss him like hell, but it’s a good kind of missing, and after those two nights, I can’t wait to see him again. But there’s something so glorious about me being able to get into my ugly sweats that I won’t see let me see me in. (As a side note, I always dress sexily to bed when I’m with him. It’s such a small thing and it makes him very happy. Just my tip to you ladies!)

Also I get to sleep in the middle of the bed, which I can’t do if he’s sleeping with me. I can also gorge on disgusting junk food in bed, like pizza, something else I won’t let him see me do. My married friends tell me that once I have the baby I’m going to want to have him around all the time. I’m like, “Really? Why?” With lots of family help, and a live-in nanny, could I not survive with a baby on my own for two nights a week?

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  1. UhYeah

    January 31, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I actually LIVE with my husband. It’s such a small thing and makes him very happy. Just my tip to you ladies!

    • R U Serious?

      January 31, 2012 at 11:19 am

      LOL @ UhYeah! I agree with you, I live with mine too and it makes him happy. Sorry Rebecca but this article reeks of immaturity and it kind of scares me that you have children. No one can be perfect all the time and if your man loves you he should love all of you, sweat pants and all. If you can’t or won’t let him see certain sides of you then I’m not sure you should be having kids with him.
      If you think married couples are in each other’s face 24/7 then you really have no idea what marriage is actually like.

    • Frances

      January 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      That line irritated me too. I actually feel the same away about a lot of what she wrote about. I need my space, and I would love to be able to afford a nanny or a separate hideaway to go to one night a week or month. But her tone totally put me off.

      “I don’t patronize my readers. It’s such a small thing and makes them very happy. Just my tip to you ladies!”

  2. Fabel

    January 31, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I totally see where you’re coming from, and I can relate to the anecdote about your friend (I don’t live with my boyfriend but I always kick him out if I actually have THINGS to do. It’s not like he bothers me, but I can’t do the whole “sitting-in-the-same-room-being-busy-with-separate-things” thing)

  3. Gina

    January 31, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I found your article very refreshing. I am married to my future baby daddy. Our first anniversary is coming at the end of May. One may not think that less than a year into wedded bliss, I really have the experience to speak on the ins and outs of living together for the rest of our lives. However, we have actually lived together since the first few months we started dating in early 2009. When I say living together, I mean we have been TOGETHER…almost day in and day out since. The only big exception being a trip to Cali that he had booked in 2009 before we got together and we both cried like babies over the phone while he was gone…OH and he came back a day early to surprise me. (I know, I know, gag gag gag!) Even as I type those words, I know how crazy ridiculous that sounds and many people would probably want to start the countdown to the moment that one of us will suffer spontaneous combustion from sheer lack of personal space and time. Oh yeah, and we work together, too. And ride together to work, as we only have one car.
    It’s funny though, never in a million years would I have thought this much togetherness would EVER work for me. I must confess that I too have had that all too familiar worry of when the bomb will go BOOM, but alas, that has not happened and I don’t “worry” about anymore. I like to think I can speak for him here, and he would probably say that I can. Go figure.
    We learned very early on that we have great communication and we discussed that revelation and how it would carry us through, no matter what. This is not to say that we are eager and positive to talk out everything at any given moment. Yet another trait we share, consideration of others. Having consideration of others affords you the wonderful opportunity of thinking before you speak…how novel, right?
    Being married, or being partners in the same house, requires a lot of consideration of one another. It’s simple really, put yourself in their shoes to determine the best way to approach a not so great subject, but one that must be discussed. Kids, for example, are a delicate subject in many ways. I have a 7 year old daughter from a previous relationship that DID spontaneously combust. So my husband inherited an “instant family” and I am so fortunate to have found someone that shares these very important qualities.
    I found your article refreshing, because as I read, I could see myself in YOUR shoes! While I may be perfectly okay going home every night with the amazing man that I married and have fun, have dinner, or do nothing at all with him right by side, the thought of that personal alone time is oh so tempting. Like you said, not because I want to be away from my husband, but maybe I NEED to be alone sometimes.
    We also recognized very early on that this downright stupid crazy in love feeling would not sustain itself, nor did we expect it to be that way forever. We have a simple little phrase that reminds us to maintain our relationship, “it is up to us”.
    So when we have days that we are not on the same page, those days are easier to manage with communication, consideration and downright stupid crazy love!
    You asked for married people to speak up and I took that challenge. I spoke up not because I AM the best and most knowledgeable person about marriage, but because you, in fact, have opened my eyes to your perspective and I hope I can do the same from my perspective.
    To answer your closing questions of the married folk, yes, we probably do need some alone time…more than just his night with the guys or hanging with our girlfriends. My honest answer to being annoyed is no, I’m not annoyed by my husband’s presence every single day. Otherwise, I would not have married him. I think that the key to a marriage that will stand the test of time is not a one size fits all, master key. Rather, it is the understanding of who you are and who your partner is, at the core. If one truly understands that, then no matter how you decide to have your living arrangements, the heart is still in the same place and “it’s up to us” to be sure that never changes.

    Side note: While this “comment” is almost a book, I would like to recommend one that was given to us when we were planning our wedding. It’s an easy, enjoyable read that will open any couples eyes to their selves and their partner’s needs for a truly loving relationship.

    The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman

  4. CW

    January 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    For the first few years of our marriage, my DH was stationed at an Army base where they spent 2 weeks out of every month in the field for training exercises. We were childless at the time, and I have to say that I liked that arrangement back then. Now that we’ve got 3 kids, I wouldn’t want it because it’s too hard doing it all by myself when DH has to travel for work. I don’t know how widowed/divorced/unmarried moms manage to keep from going insane.

  5. Jen

    January 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Rebecca: While I can’t say I have the same feelings as you do, I can understand where you are coming from. We all need personal space and for some people vegging out in separate rooms is enough and for some an apartment across town is better. My husband and I love sharing a bed and bedroom, but I also know married couples who sleep in separate rooms at least once in a while for the sake of their marriage. I believe Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton actually do the living next door to each other with a connecting door thing! To each their own and as long as it’s something you can both handle whatever works.

    All that being said I find a few of the things you said alarming. The fact that you won’t do things like gorge on pizza or wear grungy clothes in front of your boyfriend makes me think you actually feel really insecure about his love for you. Like I said, I think wanting personal space is totally normal and however you choose to get it is fine as long as it works for you guys as a couple. However, how can you expect to spend your life with someone who you are constantly “on” for? How are you going to feel about him being by your side for all the disgusting moments of childbirth (which is WAY grosser than grungy sweatpants)? My husband had to literally wipe my butt and bathe me during the last month of pregnancy because of a medical problem that made it impossible to do that stuff on my own. Without judgment I would suggest you think about WHY you feel the necessity to hide these essential parts of yourself from your boyfriend and perhaps work on showing him a bit more of your true self.

  6. Lindsay Cross

    January 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I think the problem is that you’re asking everyone else to get on board with your view of marriage or living together, without respecting that it might be different for others. Sure, my husband and I need a little alone time. I accomplish that be reading in bed while he’s tinkering the garage. I don’t mind if he sees me in my sweats or judges me for watching trashy reality TV. We’re married. Forever. He’ll get used to it.

    If you’ve found a situation that really works for you and your boyfriend, congratulations. I hope it works out. But that doesn’t mean that everyone who does’t want your set-up is unhappy in their marriage or dying for time away from their spouse. Why not give everyone else the same courtesy that you’re asking for?

    • Rachael

      January 31, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      Wow, Lindsay, that’s not what she was saying at all. I’m not Ms Eckler’s biggest fan by any means, but she wasn’t saying anything you claim she was. At least take the time to read her articles before you comment.

  7. Rebecca Eckler

    January 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you all for writing. I’m surprised, Lindsay, that you write for this site, but don’t seem to have read the piece. I certainly did NOT say that all married couples are unhappy. I even admitted that I was no expert in marriage, since I’ve never been married. I was basically just asking married people how they do it. Give me the courtesy of at least reading the entire post and looking at both sides. And who cares if I don’t want my boyfriend to see me in ugly sweats. That’s my choice.

    • RighttoWorkMom

      January 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm


      I’m married. I live with my husband, and I love it. However, I do not let him see me in sweats. I do not let him see me curl up in front of a tv with a bunch of junk food. That’s my choice. I don’t address acne, clip toe nails, or use nair-face lotion in front of him. These are my choices, and they work for me!

      As for living together, if you have the financial option (which you clearly do) I recommend having your own “rooms.” They aren’t bedrooms, but just rooms. I have my library. I have a giant stuffed chair that’s just for me, a tv/dvr with endless bad chickflicks recorded, and I eat crappy food and wear crappy clothes in there. I’m also surrounded by wall-to-wall books. I love it! It’s also strictly my space. He can come in if he needs something, but the room is not for him to use. He has his own room with an old Gallaga machine, a ton of baseball memorabilia, and his own tv/dvr. These rooms make us happy, and they mean that we don’t have to leave the house to feel like we have alone time!

      I also agree that it really seems like Lindsay didn’t read your piece at all.

    • Nancy

      January 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      @RighttoWorkMom I am so jealous! That is exactly what I want, when I can afford a house. My boyfriend and I live in a small apartment together, now, but one day I want us to share a bedroom but have separate rooms, just like that. Mine would be just like yours, too (It’s been my fantasy for a long time)! And my boyfriend’s would definitely have a ton of baseball memorabilia and his own tv. Sorry, gushing.

      Anyway in response to Rebecca’s post, I can’t believe your therapist said that to you, that’s ridiculous. I mean, it makes sense but I don’t think there are any rules that lay out how to know you’re in love like that.
      I’m not married but I live with my boyfriend and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Here’s my answers to your questions:
      “Don’t you need some alone time that includes more than just your husband going out for a night of poker, or you going out with friends for an evening?” -I guess, but we both already do that; we have our separate lives and activities so it’s not an issue.
      “Don’t you get annoyed with someone in your space, or face, every single day?”-Seeing him is what I look forward to every day. Sometimes I do get annoyed if we’ve been together too much and I’ll tell him so straight up and ask him if he’d go to his friend’s house for a bit, or I’ll go somewhere myself.
      My two favorite people to hang out with are 1.him 2.myself. I’ve noticed that my friends who don’t like being alone are the serial monogomists and have never been very independant. Like you said, you were a single mom for 5 years, you’ve learned to do things yourself and like youself and enjoy your own company. I think more people should be like that. A lot of the women I know who’ve had constant long term relationships don’t seem to like or trust themselves very much at all, and are very scared of being alone. Much better to love yourself!

    • Nancy

      January 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      That wasn’t in order of importance! I like being alone and being with him equally 🙂

    • Frances

      January 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      It’s totally your choice whether or not you want to wear sweats in front of your man, but the way you put it was totally judgmental. ‘Just a tip for you ladies”? WTF? Keep your bedroom tips to yourself.

      I agree with everything you said in the article. My grandparents divorced in the 70’s and my grandmother has been dating an wonderful man since 1981. They lived together for one year, realized it didn’t work, and he moved to his own apartment in the same apartment building. They have a great relationship. I think many relationships could benefit from such an arrangement.

      I live with my partner, but he and I both take mini vacations apart. If we could afford to, we would rent a small studio apartment, but we can’t right now. I think your tone in this piece was bourgeois and out of touch. The vast majority of women I know can’t afford a live in nanny. I would love to have the luxury of spending 2 nights apart from m y partner. I’m an intensely private person, and considering we both work from home, the living situation can be rough.

      I think the overall tone of this article hurt the message you were trying to get across. I thought Mommyish was going to be different then those typical parenting sites like Babble that are aimed at upper middle class women, but I guess I was wrong.

    • RighttoWorkMom

      January 31, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      Nancy, thanks! I hope you all get your rooms someday, too. We had to go through a lot to get ours, but we love them! We’re also big believers in not wasting compromises where we don’t have to, know what I mean? We don’t like the same kind of toothpaste, so we buy two different kinds. It doesn’t matter how much money you have – you will still have to have enough toothpaste for two people! We don’t like the same kind of mattress, so mine side has a foam pad on top. We both have movies that the other may not want to see – we take turns choosing. I’m a vegetarian. I cook meat for him for dinner in exchange for him giving up the meats I most object to (I’m not listing them here because that could open a pointless debate!). And so on.

      Do you all do something similar? I bet you do if you’re like us about the individual rooms. 😉

  8. SaraJane

    January 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I’m not married, but have been living with my partner for several years, so hopefully this qualifies for you. I can totally understand you wanting your own space to do your own things. I’m currently pregnant with my first child, so maybe my views on this will change once the baby comes, I don’t know.

    My partner and I love each other and love living together. However, we also love our independence and our space. I think the key is to have activities outside of the home that you do without your significant other, even if that’s just getting coffee with a girlfriend or something like that. My partner likes to go out with his friends on Friday nights, which I love. I have made that my stay-at-home night. I order in food or just eat whatever I want and eat it all if I want to, since it’s just me. I save that time to watch movies or shows that he doesn’t like and it’s awesome. Often he comes home after I’ve gone to bed. If he comes home too late, he’ll sleep on the futon in the other room. It’s great. We both get to stretch out on the entire bed, but we still wake up in the same house together.

    I’m not knocking your choice to keep the second apartment, but there are ways of having similar arrangements and still live in the same place. We do it and it works quite well for us. I’d go crazy if he was home all of the time or I was always expected to be there hanging out when he’s home. Sometimes we’ll spend entire days in separate rooms or with one of us outside doing something else.

    • self help

      February 1, 2012 at 11:48 am

      SaraJane, I was thinking the same, but you wrote it out better than I could.

    • Sara

      February 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Same thing here. My husband and I both fairly independent, which means if he wants to spend 3 hours in the basement doing whatever while I spent 3 hours in the bedroom doing whatever, we do. In fact, that happens 5-6 nights a week. Just sharing a house doesn’t mean that you’re locked at the hip 24/7.

  9. bl

    January 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I see where you’re coming from. I’m a person that needs a lot of personal space. I love my bf excessively and sometimes can’t get enough of having him around, but other times I say “OK. I need to be by myself. I’m going to the bedroom, no interruptions, pretend like I’m not here.” I wouldn’t want the physical distance you’re talking about, but to each her own. I find it overstimulating to have anyone in my face for too long, though, not just him. I used to feel bad about this but I’ve accepted it as my thing.

    As for the sweats vs. cute pjs thing, I think we all have activities we tend not to do in front of our significant others. I look forward to days alone because I veg out with crappy or cheesy tv and chips or some other type of junk. He knows I do this; I’m not ashamed of it. I just don’t do it in front of him because it’s a “me time” thing. I guess maybe the fact that I look like a lazy slob is another reason for doing it alone, but I’m certainly not always “on” for him. He sees me at my worst all the time (emotionally, physically, whatever).

  10. Meghan Keane

    January 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Last night my husband fell asleep on the couch and I didn’t notice until 6A, when I realized I was spread out like a starfish and having my best night of sleep in a month. Our bed is so comfortable when I’m the only one in it!

    • Shawna Cohen

      January 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      A memory foam mattress saved my marriage!

    • NotThumper

      January 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      @ Shawna- same here! 😉

  11. Lindsey

    January 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I hear where you are coming from. I have been a single mom for 10 years and can’t really imagine having someone else come into my space and be there all the time. I always tell people that the only way I’ll ever get married is if I don’t have to live with my husband.

  12. Happy Married Mama

    February 1, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Wow, there’s so much wrong going on here, but I think I’ll try to address what seems to be the big issue:

    You seem like you’re confusing sex and intimacy.

    Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like you’re enjoying your sex life (or at least trying to give a great impression of enjoying it). But if you can’t even let your “baby daddy” see you in sweats, you two do not share intimacy.

    My husband and I do have our own separate hobbies and friends, but, at the end of the day, when I come home is when I get to completely be myself. I don’t have to put up a front or a facade for him, because we are our honest selves with each other. Sure, I like to dress up for him sometimes (whether to go out to dinner, or just to be dressed up for sex), but he’s also the guy who held my hair back when I got food poisoning and puked my guts out. That’s the magic of intimacy, and living with someone. We can see each other at our most unguarded and still be attracted to each other.

    I’d be sad for you that you don’t have it, except for the fact that every article you write gives off that desperate high school-girl vibe of “I’m so cool and laid back; I’m not like other girls”.

    • NotThumper

      February 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      I thought the same thing Mama but couldn’t find the words to describe it. Truthfully, I prefer the intimacy to the sex (not that the sex isn’t awesome too!).
      I just can’t imagine having a relationship with someone, a person I share a child with, that I can’t be myself around, no matter what that entails!

    • Jessica

      February 16, 2012 at 1:16 am

      You said it much better than I did. I agree wholeheartedly with you.

  13. self help

    February 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

    If it’s the best arrangement for yourself, your boyfriend, and your children, and you can afford it, more power to you.

  14. Kate

    February 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Wow, controversial piece. While I think the “just a tip” line was incredibly condescending, I agree with you that people need to have the living arrangements that work for them whether they are dating and have a child together or not. A good friend of mine got divorced from his wife because they just could not live together, they had 2 children. She moved into a home on the cul de sac opposite of him so the kids could see them both all the time and they started dating again and have been together like that for the past 15 years. Also, we all have secret behaviors our significant others don’t have to see. Pajamas, eating habits, grooming habits, whatever- we are all entitled to have somethings we do when we are just having quality time alone.

    • Jen

      February 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      I just think there’s a difference between having those things we prefer to do alone and not wanting your SO to see you when you aren’t at your best (which is the impression Rebecca gave in her piece). Going to bed EVERY night in sexy outfits, not wearing sweats around him and not gorging on junk food when he’s there seems more like someone who is so insecure in their relationship and the love of their SO that they feel they need to convey a certain false image of themselves. That was the only issue I took with the piece, since it seemed less like a personal preference and more like an actual relationship problem.

    • C.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      My parents’ good friends recently moved into separate houses after around 25 years of cohabitation… it seemed totally weird to me at the time but they seem to be happy with the new arrangement. I guess it makes sense to want some space from a person after all that time living together.

  15. Nikki

    February 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I’ve lived with my boyfriend for a few years now, but we’re not married. It was hard for me when we first lived together, because it was in a tiny apartment and I’m used to having a space to myself to be introverted for awhile — read my books, surf the internet, sketch a little without someone always asking me what I’m up to. My boyfriend ended up getting a job with a schedule opposite to mine and we moved into a bigger place.With extra rooms and multiple T.V.s we can do our own thing on opposite ends of the house occassionally. Also, I work a 9-5, Monday through Friday job and he works some nights and weekends. It gives us time off from each other and makes me happy when we do have a schlubby night on the couch together.

  16. Danielle

    February 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Wait–she can tolerate a live-in nanny but not living with the father of her child?

  17. Raero

    February 2, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Yeah, I have to say this article rubbed me the wrong way, too. I just got married a month ago and my husband and I had lived together for three years before that. We get in fights occasionally, and sometimes I want to throttle him for leaving his pajamas on the floor every. single. day., but there’s something very humbling about having someone see me at both my best and my worst and know that they love me for both.

    In fact, it was a truly wonderful moment in our relationship when I realized I didn’t HAVE to always look perfect or wake up in neligee — he still thought I was sexy. This reminds me of a horrendous Cosmo article I read a few years ago that suggested a woman getting out of bed before her man woke up and “freshen up”, then getting back in bed so he thinks she always looks incredible.

    Marriage is NOT about being in each other’s faces and space 24/7, but if that is the impression one has of marriage (or even cohabitation), I can see how it would be frightening. And like previous commenters said, this article seems more about the fear of someone seeing the “real” you than wanting personal privacy and space. Two totally different things.

  18. Melissa

    February 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I see how this article relates a lot to the sex and the city 2 movie, where Big wants a night off a week from Carrie..I have been in a position where i wanted a night off too and that turned out to be more than a night off since i became a flight attendant and took about 24 nights off a month, which then drove us apart and lead us to divorce…therefore i can relate to what Rebecca wants, but I’ve been married for 2 months now and I couldn’t imagine spending a night without him, there’s something about feeling his warmth beside me every night that gives me reassurance that he loves me and i feel safe in my relationship with him..i guess in the end all i can say is, how does your boyfriend/baby daddy feel about not having u that 1 night a week? If he’s OK with it then doesn’t matter if no one else understands or agrees with you, because you have to go with what works for you and him…

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  20. Jillian83

    February 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Do I WANT my hubs around every day? yes! Do I NEED him around every day? No. I function just fine when he has trips out of town or the nights where he needs guy night or I need girl night. There is no checking up on, constant texts etc. We specifically make sure we have time with our friends…and time alone he plays playstation downstairs I read upstairs. We don’t see or talk to each other but after a few hours one of us seeks out the other. Because we love each other and just a quick break is enough to keep us on track.

  21. Jessica

    February 16, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I have been married for 5 years. My husband is my best friend, that’s how I can stand to be around him all the time. He works, and while he works I am home with the kids. Every now and then I will go out with the girls, and honestly, that’s more time away than I need or want. He’s just so enjoyable. We fight, don’t get me wrong, but eve in the midst of a fight, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. And there is nothing like wearing your ugly sweats, your hair up in a sloppy bun, no make up, a bit of a droop from being with your kids all day and having your man wrap you in his arms and say you are the most beautiful woman in the world. I can be 100% myself around him and there’s no judgement. He loves all of me, good, bad, and the ugly =) And I feel the same way about him. That’s why we can stand being together 24/7. That’s why we are excited to grow old together. We were high school sweethearts. How many couples like us are there in the world?

  22. sarah

    June 29, 2012 at 4:51 am

    baby daddy beat me andnow has taken my baby from me

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    September 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

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