Re: concerns about cohousing
From: Barb Andre (
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 12:53:17 -0600
I'll add my two-cents worth to the very excellent responses already
given about the cohousing concerns expressed.

1. Privacy. Yes, you give some up, because you will be in a community
that cares about you. However, in my experience it is not an intense
pressure to "bring you out of your shell." I love to meet with my
neighbors and talk about all sorts of things. My husband prefers to stay
at home most of the time. He says if you have a well-developed sense of
personal space (as do the Japanese), then you'll have no problem with
the privacy issue. I have neighbors whom I visit regularly, and talk
with for hours, because I like them and enjoy the visits. We know a lot
about each other. I have other neighbors I also like, but who prefer to
stay to themselves. I smile, wave, and say hello when I see them, and
that's about the extent of our contact. Interestingly enough, my
two-year-old daughter befriended one of these "private" neighbors and
visits him more freely than I do. We have communal meals twice a week. I
think the question is: Who prepares the meals in your family? and does
*that* person like the idea of communal meals?

2. Meetings. You don't have to go if you don't want to. Although, you'll
get out of the community only what you put into it. The meetings for me
are a chance to spend time with my neighbors: I enjoy the talking and
the getting to know how they operate, and I "own" the community projects
a little more because of my participation. My husband avoids meetings
like the plague. He attends when there is a particularly hot issue that
he feels the need to have input on, otherwise you'll rarely see him at a
meeting. We actually did have one family move out of our community
because of the meetings. I am sad that they found themselves unable to
say "no" to the meetings, rather than attending them because they felt
they had to, and then finding it overwhelming.

3. Space. Well, I have to admit that we chose the options of adding
extra rooms ("saddlebags") onto our house and finishing the basement, so
that we have closer to 2500 SF. I think Rob's point about needing less
space for the children is well-taken. Our children (5 and 2) are often
at other houses, outside, or at the common house. AND our house is also
occasionally full of children from the neighborhood.

The main point, my husband says, is "Will your wife be happier in
cohousing?" Because if she is, you will be, too.

Best of luck in your decision

Barb Andre
Greyrock Commons
Fort Collins, CO

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