One of the single biggest expectations, hopes, and pressures of being a man is to not be broke. Regardless of what women say about how important a man’s financial situation may or may not be, it’s never something men believe; Your nice words are just political correctness that you rarely ever put into practice or wish to have to exercise. Two of women’s demands/expectations for dating are both anchored to finances: stability and that he be a provider. Regardless of how much a woman has, she fully expects that a man that she likes and that likes her will meet those requirements. One of the simplest ways of measuring that is based on his living situation and the expectation that he will have his own place. It gets sticky here because according to a 2016 Pew Research poll 60.6 million (almost 1 in 4) Americans lived in multi-generational homes. The poll defined a multi-generational home as having more than one adult generation living under the same roof, and the trend is increasing across all races, genders, and ages. This means that your chances of meeting someone that lives with their parents are steadily increasing.
The meme above is one that regularly pops up on social media and dating chat rooms, so we wanted to find out exactly how bad it was looked upon for a man to be living at home and what his dating prospects would look like. We went to the barbershop/beauty shop, shared the meme and allowed some interesting conversations to begin.
Considering the growing number of multi-generational homes, the political and social circumstances that are making them more common, and the possibility of meeting/dating someone that still lives at home increasing; dilemma, shock, stigma, and shame still surround people that live with their parents. The older you are, the heavier the burden for you and the person.
As Anna, a 30-year-old teacher admits, “I know it’s wrong and judgmental, but I don’t think I could date a man that lives at home. I couldn’t respect it and I’d be embarrassed to tell other people it.”
Another lady agreed stating, “I understand people fall on hard times, blah blah…but at the end of the day, I prefer for someone to have their life together. I might have accepted that in my 20’s but I’m knocking on 40 and I can’t sit around waiting on potential.” – Sylvia
Despite admitting that she lived at home still and was single, Deenah states 34, “No grown man got a reason to be living at home, get out, do better.”
All three comments in their brutal honesty are met with mixed emotions, as everyone kind of understands but they wouldn’t quite say it.
Here are where the misconceptions exist. It’s often presumed that if a man still lives at home he’s lazy, irresponsible, or a momma’s boy. People often automatically jump to conclusion that he pays no bills, doesn’t help out and that someone cooks and cleans for him. Because if you live at home, you obviously don’t know how to adult. But what we fail to evaluate are the reasons why an adult may still live with their parents.
Let’s first acknowledge that we have a different standard for women than men. Women can live at home until married and no one will bat an eye, maybe if she begins to have children the circumstance changes.
Another reason why a man may be living at home is illness/condition. He could be taking care of his parents or helping them recover or he could possess a condition where it’s not safe for him to live alone.
The largest and most prevalent reason is finances. It’s not always concluded that if a man lives in a multigenerational home that he’s a deadbeat dad with kids all over the place, has a spending problem, is unmotivated or that he doesn’t work.
We should remember that amongst the largest reasons for personal debt in this country are student loans, medical bills, divorce, and underemployment. We have people not making enough money or being in too much debt from trying to live the American dream. We all know that life comes at you quickly when it comes to medical bills, a bad diagnosis or an accident can sadly put you in a rough predicament. Divorce, child support, and/or spousal has the ability to not only strip your dignity but make you downsize your entire life. An entire election was recently swung on unemployment and underemployment, need I say more. And of course there’s inflation, meaning your money doesn’t go as far as it used to, the price of life is steadily going up year by year, you get less and less value for a dollar every year.
As Paul informed 36, “I don’t want to be home, but I honestly have no choice. My parents were struggling with their mortgage in a rough housing market (another major political issue), and my rent was going up every year without a cost of living increase. I also was paying increasing fees for storage. At a certain point, it was like should we both go under? So, now I help them and I can save a little bit.”
It’s wild that we say stuff like family first, but will demonize and punish someone for living out the creed.
John, 34 also weighed in, “I had an apartment, but my mother convinced me to move back home because I do a lot of traveling for work and I work a lot of long hours. My apartment was essentially an expensive storage facility because I’m rarely ever home. Apparently, my neighbors or whomever also noticed because my apartment got broken into twice, so moving home made all the sense in the world. I basically shower, change clothes and store my stuff there.”
The issue of multi-generational homes is one that housing markets are even starting to notice, as housing is starting to be built offering two kitchens, or an upstairs and a downstairs, with access to the upper floor that bypasses the downstairs. You can live in the same house but not have to interact with the people downstairs unless you want to.
For many this is a matter of pride and old way of thought. We’re basically shaming people or asking to go broke so that we can be comfortable or walk around naked. Yet we’d shame these people for going broke, it’s a classic “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
A few women were somewhat understanding, however, Laura stated after seeing the meme, “I have more respect for a man living with his mother and saving his money than someone who is living the “bachelor” life or creeping on his wife. I can’t understand how women undervalue a man with values. I prefer to date someone who lives at home. Independence is overrated if you’re living paycheck to paycheck.”
“I still live at home, so I’m not going to ask for something I don’t live up to,” said Tiffany.
To wrap it all up, Jeremy added this perspective, “Other cultures have multigenerational households at much higher rates. Our society encourages kids to move out ASAP then we get mad when they don’t want to deal with us when we get old. Instead of saving and buying cash at 30, we rent until 30 then take a 30-year mortgage just so we don’t have to get creative when we shack up!”
The bottom line is that as the study showed more and more adults are having to move back home. So our perspective on what it means when an adult lives at home may have to change. Now for some people, this will be rougher than for others, for some, it won’t be understandable until it hits close to home or happens to them. Those of us that love to talk about being “woke” or “conscious” often talk about group economics; but cutting costs, sharing resources and bills, is group economics. Financial responsibility is a part of being a good provider. And being a good leader requires you to make the tough decisions and sacrifices. Living within your means may be the sacrifice.
Ladies, pay attention to his deeds find out the purpose he lives at home before you swiftly judge and write him off. He may be saving and investing his money wisely, getting out of debt and even if he can’t afford to live on his own, as long as he is prepared to pull his own weight and not to have to be taken care of, that’s still a responsible adult. There’s a difference between being lazy and not having enough money to make ends meet. There’s also a difference between not making ends meet, and not having a lot of funds to splurge on after you’ve paid your bills. Remember a relationship is a partnership.
Take it from Tanya, ”It’s all in the WHY, for me. A person’s living arrangement, while single, doesn’t dictate who they are as a person, for me. Who they are as a person is dictated by their actions, which is what I’m observing.”
Written By: Johnny Brownlee II
Follow Johnny on Instagram: @slin_k_polymath