I often cite the professional titles I hold as a badge of honor. Author, blogger, coach, business owner I’d list them all if I knew anyone would actually stick around to actually listen; but there is one title that I don’t boast as much, shacker.
I have been living with my boyfriend for about three years now and I have no plans on making the union official in the eyes of the government. I am not the only one who holds the title, in fact, according to statistics I am a product of my generation. In an article published by the Atlantic entitled The Marriage Problem, the author states that “young people are declining to marry while older people are reaping its benefits (Alice G. Walton).” Which is ironic to my particular situation given that my boyfriend is a Gen Y’er and my millennial ass isn’t paying a bill in the house.
Other more startling articles like, Why 25% of Millennials will Never get Married cite factors like our dismal pay rates, and lack of financial security as the reason why marriage is off the table for young people like myself.
No matter the statistics, and intrusivities that the thought of cohabiting produces, I have actually put a lot of thought into my living arrangement and it is, in fact, the most adult decision I’ve made in life so far. Including being a business owner.
Before I slowly but surely moved all my things into B’s place I lived with my mom in a cozy townhouse. I was working multiple menial jobs and had no real life direction. Being with someone who was not only successful in their own right but wanted to mentor me to be as well was exactly what I needed at the time.
Soon we both found ourselves turning to each other for counsel on major career and life decisions, introducing each other to the same friends and family we said we never would and spending both weekdays and weekends with each other. All while constantly wrestling with the idea of marriage and how it would fit into the dynamics of our odd little relationship.
Ultimately, we decided that we didn’t need that title between us to confirm our bond. Also, it wasn’t practical. He had been married before and I had decided to dedicate my life to building my career. A very conscious choice that I made taking into account the societal pressures I would face on this journey that would apparently “not keep me warm at night.” (whatever the hell that means).
Kids aren’t on the table of us either. He has his own and I’m of the mindset that as much as we try to be superwomen, sometimes we can’t have it all. I have chosen to nurture the relationships I have with my friends, and family. And ultimately, although I truly admire those sheroes who make those motherly sacrifices, I realized over time that I wouldn’t be very happy making them in any space of my life (Nope not gonna grow to be more patient over time, it’s actually gotten worse as I age).
So I shack. It’s the new millennial marriage anyways right?! This odd blend of modeling the dynamics of our parents and grandparents while skipping the weight of responsibility may be frowned upon by many. However, with a divorce rate that has been on a steady incline since the 1960s, it’s not the worse way to commit to the one you love.