Thursday, September 08, 2016

Privacy For Nuclear Families and Empty Nesters

Dr. Laura has this thing in which she says once the youngest kid is 18, they should be be out. She's also against adult siblings and elderly parents moving in to a husband & wife home or even onto their property in a separate dwelling. She says this is because the husband and wife need their privacy.

I scratch my head with this one. Almost everything Dr. Laura says makes a lot of sense, especially when you know her reasons. I don't recall hearing her reasons for this.

The grown kids should be out, from what Dr. Laura has said, for their own good. They need to spread their wings and get the hang of flying on their own. Adult siblings, like everyone else, should be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live independently. As far the the elderly parent, I can't help but wonder if this is somehow related to Dr. Laura's own personal experience.

She doesn't say that, though. She says the husband and wife need their privacy.

I can understand that some people want their privacy. They want to live alone with their spouse and nobody else. Fantastic. They should have their privacy.

But she makes it as a blanket statement for everyone.

What if both spouses sincerely WANT the sibling or the parent(s) there?

My guess is that Dr. Laura's position is that, deep down, the unrelated spouse can't possibly want their sibling-in-law or parent-in-law living on the same property.*

It just sounds a little strange when she says it is for "privacy". It makes it sound like they're doing something embarrassing. The only thing I can think of that a married couple shouldn't do in front of their parent or sibling that wouldn't be confined to the bathroom anyway is... have sex. If the married couple wants to have sex in the kitchen, they won't be able to if they think there's a possibility that Ma is going to be bursting through the front door like Kramer.

People still raising kids aren't going to be doing much of that. And if they're old enough that the kids have been raised, how many are going to be doing that? What if that's pretty much a dead issue in their marriage? What if they only like to do it in bed? I'm sure there are some newly empty-nesters who are having all sorts of fun all over the house, but it's a tiny percentage. Telling a husband (or wife for that matter) that they'll be living like that if they get everyone else out of the house isn't really going to be backed up by reality in most cases. It's like telling husbands if they're more attentive and more romantic, their wife will be more eager and enthusiastic about making love. It's just not true for the majority.

Even if they do have an active sex life, most of their waking time  at home they're going to be doing things like chores, watching TV, reading, processing mail, etc. I don't understand how having a sibling or parent or in-law walking into the room is problematic for that.

For most of human history and in many places today, it was/is common for multiple adult generations to live in the same dwelling or on the same property. I know that doesn't necessarily make it ideal (slave labor was common for most of human history, too), and I know for thousands of years there was shorter life expectancy, but to talk as though it is some unusual thing or some violation comes across as strange.

When Dr. Laura gets a call from someone whose spouse is for keeping a grown child or sibling or parent at the property or moving one of them in, she asks the caller why the spouse doesn't want to be alone with them, why they want a "spacer" between the two of them. I can understand that is what is happening in some of the situations*, but for others, it is possible the spouse didn't think of it that way. They have a concern for the other person and see that other person's needs as more important than living alone with their spouse (if they've raised kids they haven't lived alone with their spouse during those years anyway) or they simply don't think things through. After all, a lot of people don't think things through but seek to immediately "do something" about what they see as a problem. We see it all of the time in politics.

I can understand wanting to make sure, if kids are still being raised, that there is no interference from the kid's uncle/aunt/grandparent, but they can live on the same property and still not interfere.

I can understand wanting to make sure in-laws don't interfere in the marriage, but again, they can live on the same property and still not interfere.

I dunno... maybe it's just semantics but "We want our own space" makes more sense to me than "We need our privacy". But still again, a married couple can still have their own space even if the house or property is shared.

What am I missing here?

*A sibling of my wife and the sibling's spouse are living with us, inside our house, and I'm sincerely, no-foolin', honestly, genuinely, really-mean-it glad they are, even though I am subsidizing these able-bodied adults. Now, if you would have told me when I was getting married that I was going to have these people living with us and I was going to be subsidizing them, I would never have believed it. After all, I liked living alone and was going to have to adjust to live with a wife to begin with. Oh, but there's so much I didn't know when I married, and a lot of it I wouldn't know until after we were done making babies. Yeah, because of those things, it brings me peace of mind to have these other adults with us. It is helpful having them with us, because they do some chores my wife should be doing and they can look after my wife and kids when I'm not home. This is necessary because my wife's physical disabilities (which went from not-limiting at all to very limiting after we were done baby making) and mental illnesses  (most of which I didn't know about until after the kids were made) and each kid alone can physically overpower my wife, and my kids fight and there's no much my wife can do to physically stop them. I've also noticed that my wife has directed some of her negativity and nagging and criticism toward her sibling and the sibling's spouse, and I have to admit it is a relief to have some of that redirected away from me. I'd be just fine with our guests staying with us until my youngest child is 18.

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