Can you date if you don’t have your own place?

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SatokoHoujou asks:

Hi there. I’m new to online dating, have heard a lot of stories and experiences from other people I know but never thought it was really for me. Recently though I’ve been thinking about doing it and see how it goes. I saw some people mentioning that you shouldn’t be trying to date, especially online date, if you don’t have your own place yet and if you also don’t have a job. I know that’s kinda of a vague question, but would it really affect me that much? For context, I’m 19 y/o, live with my parents, finished highschool not too long ago, and I’m currently looking for a job. What experiences could you share with me about this?

TL:DR: 19 y/o dude without own place and currently looking for a job. Is it a bad idea to try online dating?


Demetrius says:

In your case, I think you’d be fine dating before you get your own place. Online or offline. I can count on one hand how many people I know personally who at 19 years old had their own place. I’m fairly confident those same people were dating well before they moved out on their own. I didn’t get my own place until I was 21 years old and trust me when I tell you that I was dating between being 18 years old and before I got my own place. I actually dated a lot more back then, probably because my main responsibilities were work, school and “pick up after yourself, my house is not a pigsty”. Not having your own place isn’t too much of a deterrent in terms of dating when you’re a year or two out of high school. I think you’d be fine dating, whether online or not, before you get your own place.

Now that’s probably true for your specific situation, but in less specific situations my answer changes. Not having your own place can be a problem when it comes to dating, depending on a few factors.Here’s the best answer I can give without getting get bogged down in minutiae: If you’re wondering “how hard is it going to be for me to date when I live at home with my parents”, the level of difficulty is going to be based on a mix of the following criteria:

  • Your age
  • Where are you in terms of your personal and professional life
  • Is living with your parents a cultural/religious norm and/or a requirement before you get married?
  • Are you living at home to provide care to your parents?
  • Is this a short-term, long-term, or temporary living situation until you get back on your feet?

The age part is important because let’s face it, its way more accepted in Western culture to live with your parents when you’re 19 years old than say 39 years old. In a vacuum, excluding all the other criteria I mentioned, the older you are the harder it will be to date if you live at home. The more criteria you add, the more subtle my answer gets but that’s a good base to start with. Age is important, but where you are professionally and personally in your life is too. If we took two 28-year-olds and they were both living at home, they might have the same sort of dating chances on a general level. Now, if one of those 28-year-olds still lives with their parents but the reason why is that they just graduated from Grad School, while the other person’s personal and professional life have stagnated for 10 years, they’re going to potentially face drastically different dating prospects. Essentially, if you’re living with parents because you’re using it as an opportunity to grow or change in a positive way, it’s a lot easier to date. As for the cultural and religious aspects, that’s a big factor as well, and your culture and religion really do change how you’re viewed. I’ve been to the wedding of at least two different people who went directly from living with their parents to living with their new spouse. Both of these people have religious and cultural backgrounds where it’s normal for people to only leave their parents home post marriage, so dating for them was very different from it would have been for me. Now obviously if you’re providing care to a parent and that’s the reason you live with them it’s more likely to help your dating odds rather than hurt. Still, some people may not believe you, or might just be turned off by the idea of dating someone who is a care-giver for an ailing family member. Whether or not you can afford to live on your own is important. Finally, whether or not living at home is short-term, long-term, or temporary. If it’s temporary or short-term, it’s less likely to be a problem. If it’s long-term, it’ll probably be an issue.

That said, I’m just generalizing here based on my own experience, and lots of conversations I’ve had with people online and offline. We have data on how many young people live at home with their parents but in terms of perception, and how they are perceived directly related to dating, I can’t say that I’ve found anything that can accurately capture something as subtle as how you’ll be perceived if you live at home. People generally shy away from dating someone who lives at home, but it’s becoming less and less uncommon, so who knows! Fun fact: There are actually more young people living with their parents at this point in history then at any point in the last 130 years!

Still though, in your specific case I think you’ll be fine. That said, maybe don’t start dating before you get a job. So you can pay for dates and stuff. 😊

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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