doubling down in the co-op house

Soundtrack in my head: T’Pau, “Heart and Soul”
co-op house
© Kalsers | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

It looked kind of like this outside today, except with more slush on the ground.  I feel justified in not having set foot outside at all today. Instead, I hunkered down and, among other things, had a good conversation about future directions of the co-op house with one of my housemates.

As I get older, I get more and more clear about what I want out of a life partner. (What this has to do with co-op living I’ll reveal in a minute)  It’s been quite a long time since I despaired over the lack of a life partner in my life.  I’ve dated several out of town Bahá’is a lot over the last several years.  The thing about local Bahá’í spiritual communities is that unless you live in a major metropolitan area the dating pool is infinitesimal in size.  My Bahá’í dating count here in Madison–one person I was interested in who did not reciprocate and two people showing interest in me with whom I did not reciprocate.

The last person I dated was someone I communicated with for three months, met once, and we mutually lost interest in after that.  The funny thing is, I almost always feel relieved after these things end.  Even the cases where I felt some sadness about it ending, sadness has been followed by relief within 24-48 hours.  The point is, I like my life and am clear that there are certain aspects that are so important to me that changing them is not negotiable.  In dating profiles, I usually make that pretty clear because I’m perfectly fine with screening out people who see what I write and decide to go elsewhere.  (And with all the Bahá’í talk of the importance of marriage preparation and being careful about whom you pick as a life, I’m disappointed at the tendency of Bahá’í women to post vague profiles on dating sites.)  But invariably, many of the people who don’t get screened out are those that give little thought as to the implications of what I say on my profile.  But I’m getting better at recognizing those people, too.

Likewise, my housemates and I are getting clearer about people who will and will not be a good fit for our co-op house.  Unlike dating adverts, however, we won’t necessarily specify those traits to everyone in advance.  Why not?  We’re not interested in people good at telling us what we want to hear.  One practice that I put an end to quickly was telling prospective members what our drug and alcohol policy is and then asking them about their feelings about drugs and alcohol.  We ask the test question first and then give the answer to the question later.

So today, I had a really good discussion with one of the other core members of the house about the types of house members we’re looking for.  This has me excited about the possibilities for our co-op house.  It’s been clear to me for a long time that one can’t just gather a bunch of people under one roof and call it a co-op house.  A boarding house, maybe but not a co-op house.  Ten years of co-op living have been ten years of trial and error for me, and like many things in my life, it’s something that only gets better with time.

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