Saturday, October 4, 2008

French Guys Are Weird

So Thursday night Ben came over and we had a little discussion. He says "I really want us to take our time and get to know each other, so I'm not going to ask you to move in with me yet."

Ummm.... what?

The context of this conversation was that his ex-girlfriend moved in immediately after they became a couple and he thinks the fact that they rushed into their relationship is a big part of why things ended so badly between them.

So I pose a question to the blogging world: is it normal in France to start living together immediately? Or was he just trying to explain why he's doing things differently this time around? I know that French guys get serious very quickly, but moving in together? That's a huge step. I feel like that's a lot of stress to put on a new relationship when you're still trying to get to know each other, and then add to that dealing with all of the stresses of living with another person and it seems like a recipe for disaster. It seems more acceptable to live together in France than it is in the US, so maybe they don't view living together as such a big step, maybe to them it's more normal? I'm really interested to hear what people think about this.

In other Ben news, he volunteered to have another automatic driving lesson! I guess he was inpressed that I eventually got the car moving. I really doubt that I will ever enjoy driving manual, or be very good at it, but at least I'll know what to do. If you find yourself in Aisne, stay off the roads!

13 comments:

Andromeda said...

Ben has said that he wouldn't want to move in together for the first year and a half, but I think he said that so I felt better about going away to Mulhouse, lol. Also, since he is a student I think he would hate to have me paying for most of the rent, he is stupid and macho and insists on paying for things even though I'm the one with the job. So at least next year we'll both be students and poor, haha.

His one cousin, however, has been living with his gf since she turned 18, so 4 years now, they were together for two years before that. His other cousin started looking at apartments to buy with his hooker of a gf after only three weeks together, and luckily for him and his wallet, things broke up soon after. I had a tutoring student who lived with her boyfriend but then moved out during the months I knew her, she said they were still together but it was just too hard living together, they were both super busy with work.

So it depends, but I do see the tendency to live together as soon as possible. I understand it, it's cheaper and more fun and since a lot of people don't get married young/ever, it makes a lot of sense. Still, very personal decisions and I think that if it feels right, do it, if not, don't, and I guess for Americans, having it "feel right" just takes different stuff than for the French, given the cultural backgrounds.

Leesa said...

Hi Mira,

Alex said that in light of Ben's past experiences, it makes sense that he told you that up front... I think that because he is interested in you and that the relationship does indeed have potential, he is trying to avoid the past mistake he made with the other girl of "rushing things." I think it's defin. a personal choice, but as you and I talked about over our Starbucks drinks... I think waiting to see where the relationship goes and taking the time to get to know one another is a good idea... In fact, in a relationship... You never really have to rush moving in with someone... Anyhow.. That's our 4 centimes.... Take care and have a good night.. Leesa

David said...

It's neither normal or abnormal to move in together right away.
As you mentioned, it's not a big deal in France as it is in the US that's all...
Some couples do move in together right away, some don't...
It's just not an issue like in the US.

Ksam said...

Yes, it's extremely normal. When I was in Bretagne, I couldn't believe how Fab's friends would move in with their girlfriends after like 3 weeks together, and then they'd be all surprised when it didn't work out and they were both stuck trying to get out of the lease.

I think a lot of it comes though from the fact that people tend to live at home a lot longer than they do in the US, so they see it as an easy way to get out of the house (plus, who really wants to keep bringing their gf/bf over to their parents' house on a regular basis).

Zhu said...

I married a Canadian and I suck at advice so... sorry!

All I can say is that relationship are very different in France. I mean, I found Americans weird when I first came so I assume the opposite is true as well.

au soleil levant said...

Thanks for all the great comments! Maybe it varies by région? Maybe in rural areas, like Bretagne or Picardie, couples tend to move in together more quickly because of the whole living with their parents thing? Whereas those in a wealthier, more cosmopolitan région probably earn more money and are able to move out sooner?

I think that as a whole because living together is so much more acceptable in France than the US and so much more common, it probably doesn't seem like a platform to marriage and indicative of a very very serious, long term relationship as it does in the US. I'm constantly surprised by finding out that someone I work with never married their partner with whom they have two kids, or who lived with their current spouse for years before they got married. I don't think Segolene could have ever run for president of the US after living in sin for 20 years and having four children out of wedlock....

David said...

"Sin"...
You mentioned the word.
If moving in is such a big deal in the US it's because of the influence of religion...
It's also why you guys get married so "easily" in the US.

In France, it's all a matter of practicality. If it's more practical to live together this is what happens. And I also think that living with the person is a good indicator of whether this person is the one you want to spend the "rest of your life" with.

I don't think you know a person well until you live with them and, I never understood how some Americans don't live together before getting married.

au soleil levant said...

I love how you said that we get married so "easily" in the US, and the influence of religion. It's so true - look at poor Bristol Palin, who is going to be forced into a loveless marriage with the father of her baby.

You're right that you don't really know a person until you live with them and see if it drives you crazy when they use the toothpaste from the wrong end of the tube. But at the same time, now that we do everything with our partners before getting married, why on earth get married? There's nothing special left about it, except that it changes your taxes. I guess the idea that you're officially tied to each other, but you can get divorced pretty easily these days.

David said...

"Why on Earth get married?"

Exactly...
Personally, I know only two valid reasons to get married:
-taxes.
-your loved one is foreign and their visa is gonna expire and you can't follow them in their country.

That's all.

Au Soleil Levant said...

And here I'm still an old fashioned believer in marriage. You have to admit that it is a great excuse to buy a pretty dress and throw a great party!

Leesa said...

I have to say that there ARE people who get married for LOVE--- people!!! Alex and I fell in love with each other.. and either he could have moved to the U.S. or I could have moved to France... I preferred to move to France, so that's why I left it all behind... To be with my loved one... my soul-mate... "better half." Plus, being over 40 (both of us) gives a slightly different perspective on things than you youngins'!!!!!
; )

David said...

I gotta agree with the age thing.
In my twenties, I was totally against the very idea of marriage.
Now (in my thirties) I think it's ok for taxes and visa purposes.
So, I guess in my forties I'll think it's a good idea... ;-)

Leesa said...

Hehe... I couldn't agree more with you, David... I NEVER wanted to settle down OR get married again and that was up until I was about 39 when I met Alex... So, there is still hope for you... You just have to get older, that's all.... I wouldn't really advise ANYONE to get married too young, unless you have nothing better to do but make babies!!! No, just kidding... I actually regret that I didn't meet Alex 10 years earlier... because when you get older (for a woman, that is) it's a helluva lot harder to conceive!! But, who knows... I was a WAY diff. person then... So, maybe I would have NEVER gotten married 10 years ago... .