photo: Eddy van Wessel


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Living together

My sister was the first in the family to go and live together with her boyfriend without getting married. It sparked discussions in the family, but eventually it was accepted. She married the guy a couple of years later. When I decided on sharing a house with my boyfriend, that was no longer an issue.

This was in the seventies, in a small town in Holland. Since then, it has become normal for two people to first live together for a while, and when it works out to get married. Or, if not, to split up.

Some couples never get married, or only marry to legalize the children, or when they want to buy a house. In the bigger towns another form of relationship is popular: LAT, or living apart together. Sharing life, but not living in the same house.

What I am trying to show is that life in Europe is not all about sex, as is often said in conservative Kurdistan. It is about finding the right person to live with. You have to try it out. And if it does not work, you have to able to split up and search again instead of being unhappy. Life is too short!

In the United States, and amongst strict Christians elsewhere, a movement started not to have sex before marriage. Young people take a vow. But does this lead to better marriages? In Kurdistan one should be married by the age of 25 and get children. Same question. Surely I am not the only one who has seen the Kurdish couples that have nothing in common, and we all know of the many secret relationships here.

Although living together unmarried in Kurdistan is not accepted, I know the first couple to do so. The assaish has been informed and has no problem, nor has the family or the neighborhood. Modern times are coming! Yet in this same town the assaish was checking up on a lady friend of mine, to see if she was really living alone, and is not allowing young men to live alone.  

I know men of over thirty still living with their parents. They should be able to leave, without the society telling his mum she is a bad mother. Good parents make sure that their children are happy and can survive without them.

In Europe men who stay long with their parents often are bad marriage partners, because they are so used to being looked after. Most wives do not want to be their husband’s mother.

Kurdistan is developing, getting wealthy, moving forward. Yet socially, little is changing because the older generation is resisting change. They risk their children’s happiness. And they keep the divorce figures at an unacceptable height. 

This blog was first published in Kurdish in the daily Kurdistani Nwe

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