Respectability
From: Joaniblank (Joaniblankaol.com)
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 95 14:12 CST
I find it interesting that someone has  suggested that we not get into a
discussion of polyrelationships here because we want to keep the image of
cohousing "respectable" I agree that we don't need to discuss sex and
relationship here now,  but I am uncomfortable with his reason. Yes the co-
in cohousing does often raise eyebrows and comments, about political and
economic issues as well as around personal relationships, but part of our
task in promoting cohousing is thinking about speaking to those questions,
explaining exactly what it means to us, this odd (to some) concept. 

Also I think that this brings up a larger issue; namely, how, in our
communities do we deal with a number of life issues that might be considered
private matters when people are living in conventional housing arrangements.
Many of us feel that one of the very important  characteristics that draws us
to cohousing is that, unlike any other kind of shared housing I have ever
heard of,  in cohousing households have as much privacy as they want inside
the walls of their homes. But because of the way we do choose to share our
living space and lives, we do learn more personal stuff about one another. My
guess is that individuals are all over the map in terms of how much they talk
about ususally private stuff and in terms of how they feel about being open
on a variety of issues.

In addition to openness about sex and relationships, there are other
potentially touchy issues that can get opened up (for good or ill or both!).
I might mention a couple here: 

1. How we relate to our children including how we discipline them, what we
teach them about living with other kids and other adults who are not their
parents, how do "rules" in our house differ from those in the common areas or
in the outside world.

2. How we spend money. How do people in the community feel about how
extravagent or frugal they perceive others to be. You might say what I spend
in my own household is not anyone's business, but if, for example, I make
economic  choices for myself that regularly affect my ability or willingness
to spend money for the common good , others will undoubtedly have feelings
about it.

3. What our political or religious beliefs or practices are, essentially
private matters, unless we pressure others to be more like us.  

I expect that most communities will find a way of distribuing issues and
concerns into individual/private(household)/cohousing group/cohousers in
other groups/larger community/larger world boxes in their own way. What fun!
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