Dating at home

So you’re back at home. You never thought this would happen, did you? But, as with most things in life, nothing went exactly as planned. As you lay in your childhood bedroom, surrounded by beanie babies and embarrassing photo reminders of your (even more) “awkward stage,” memories of sneaking in after curfew, late night phone calls and school dances all come flooding back. Aside from your marginally improved hair and makeup skills, an outsider looking in may not even realize any time has passed at all.

Whatever you do, remember: this is NOT forever. It may feel like it, but with this crazy economy, dream jobs (and salaries) are much farther off than anyone had anticipated. A classic “first job” and student loans looming on the horizon are a perfect storm to land you squarely back where you started from. And that’s not a terrible thing. You’re being fiscally responsible, saving up, and (trying to) advance your career. Look at you, turning into a real adult!

But what happens when you catch the eye of that hottie from accounting at the company party? At first, it was just batting lashes at the water cooler, but now he finally got the nerve to ask out! But wait; now what? How do you date someone as an adult… while living with your parents?

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Repeat this five times: You are NOT the only one at home. It is nothing to be ashamed of and certainly no reason to hold you back from seeing someone you’re interested in. A perhaps painful, but very necessary first step: talk to your parents (and siblings, if applicable) and set some ground rules. Just because you’re back in the house doesn’t mean you’re right back to being a 16 year old ‘metal mouth’ and a freshly minted license. So breathe deeply and save the anxiety for when you’re deciding on a first date outfit. It’s time to talk it out!

The most glaring issue to tackle is going to be physical space in most cases. Whether it’s designating times or even areas of the family house where you can be with your guests–undisturbed–will eliminate a lot of potential strain and uncertainty when that hot date eventually does rings your doorbell. And, with pre-established “schedules” of sorts, both you, your dates and the rest of your family can feel comfortable sharing space (and Netflix time). Besides actual privacy issues, talk to your family about how involved you’d like them to be if a date does turn serious. Is he/she welcome, or perhaps even expected at family dinners or (the dreaded) Sunday game night? How late can guests stay? Working out important questions like these beforehand will keep dating from home feeling like high school all over again.

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And one last piece of advice: just do your best to hide the beanie babies.