One of my favorite things is comparing two seemingly different things – an object, for example, with a human experience such as love, a relationship, marriage and divorce. When I think about these comparisons, I often gain insights into the human condition – or at least have a good laugh. With this in mind, let’s consider whether buying a house is a good comparison for a relationship (unmarried or married). And while we’re taxing our brains in this way, let’s have some eggplant frittata.
(1) Love at First Sight
Have you ever been house shopping and experienced a love at first sight phenomenon? You walk in the front door and are immediately captivated with the space in front of you. It doesn’t matter if what you see first is an entryway or the rear deck; you just know this is THE ONE.
Similarly, seeing that new guy the first time (frontal or rear view) can invoke warm feelings of attraction (and lust) and the thought that this may be THE ONE.
Will love at first sight of house or hunk hold up? See points 2, 3, and 4.
(2) Getting to Know the Person or Home of Interest
So you think this may be the one (house or person). Don’t go too far, however, without seeing him or it in different situations and at different times of day.
You need to know if there are motorcycle gangs or drug runners going up and down the street OR if the person of interest (POI) turns into Mr. Jekyll at night (over-imbibing at the bar) or sleeps until the afternoon (a sign of circadian incompatibility).
(3) The Offer
After determining that the person or house of interest is a reasonable fit for a future residence or relationship, one can suggest an offer of purchase (house) or exclusivity (relationship).
The seller or POI does not always meet the offer with unbridled enthusiasm. There may be a period of negotiation. The seller may ask for more money. The POI may ask for more time to decide about the offer or for certain concessions in the relationship such as a delay in starting a family, a vacation to the Super Bowl instead of the French Riviera, or a cancellation of the series of couples dancing lessons you recently purchased.
(5) The Inspection
No house should be purchased without a professional inspection. Similarly, friends and family members of the couple must inspect the relationship. In the case of a house, repairs are often suggested and bargaining may ensue. A basement may need to be waterproofed or a roof repaired.
Regarding the relationship, a family member may suggest that the POI should get a better job. A friend may suggest the POI’s clothes need to be laundered, given to the Salvation Army, or burned along with his decades old sneakers. The possibilities are endless.
If you have survived all of the various stages – love at first sight, the offer, negotiation and inspection, you may proceed to closing. This means either signing away your life for a monthly mortgage payment OR securing a piece of paper that says you are married, or simply moving in with your guy.
(7) Extended Warranty
During closing, you may purchase an extended warranty for your home to help defray the costs of future repairs. The arguable equivalent for a relationship or marriage is the couple’s efforts to make their union work. This “extended warranty” is often referred to as “working on your relationship or marriage” to help ensure its longevity.
After a period of time, interest rates may drop and you may decide to refinance your mortgage. Refinancing is seen as evidence of a commitment to live in your home for the foreseeable future (or at least a few more years).
For the relationship, a couple may recommit to their relationship during a special vacation and/or time alone. A married couple may renew their vows. “Relationship refinancing” can also occur after a falling out and trial separation.
So are there lessons learned from this exercise in comparisons? Can we now understand relationships better? Or have we just pontificated in an effort to create a metaphor for love?
There are clearly equivalent steps to purchasing a home and finding, developing, and committing to a person of interest. And it’s fun to think that you can refinance a relationship.
The bottom line is that a good relationship IS a home for your heart. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be making those mortgage payments forever.
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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.