Tiny Living & Dating…

I have often wondered how living in a Tiny Home would affect my relationships, would it improve them?  Would it scare girls off to tell their friends about this crazy guy who lives in a house the size of their walk in closet?  It’s an interesting question because Tiny Living is not for everyone, idating1t is not for most of us in fact, but there are those who love it!  I remember in one of the many videos about Jay Schaffer’s house the news reporter questions him about sex in a Tiny House and low and behold he said “it has happened more”  There was obviously some tension in the air as the new caster was a very attractive women, but alas Jay is now married.

So I just wanted to write down some of my musings about this topic and generate a conversation on this topic, see what happens.

I guess I should disclose that I am currently single, I am a straight man who is 25 years old, a “yougin” as many refer to me as.  With a handful of serious girl friends through college, love, as in many people’s cases, has been elusive for many reason, some my own fault while others were out of my hands.  I am a weird mix of old world acts like holding doors for women – though at odds with it being a self described feminist – to a progressive stance on sex, co-habitation and pro choice etcetera.  Oddly I am a meat eater, but am always attracted to vegetarians, even before I know they are vegetarians.

Being a single male I know there are several things which a women generally seeks in a potential partner.  While I make no claims to understand women in the least, there are some universal things that I have seen as a trend.  Things like being funny, smart, to some extent good looking, monogamous, and successful.

These things are valued and interpreted for people differently.  dating3But there is some expectation, I feel, to get settled down in a nice house with white picket fence.  Our culture has pre-established several status symbols which we are measured, house being one of them.  There is a paradigm which exists what IS a good house.  A good house is generally large, it is generally in a city or planned community in the suburb.  It includes an SUV parked in the driveway, a formal sitting room, formal dining room and lots of extra space.  We are given formal dining sets at our weddings that we will use almost never.  There is the expectation to keep up with the Joneses, which we have already covered.

This, in general, I feel is what many potential partners are looking for in a man, but it is at odds with what Tiny Living is, what it stands for and how it manifests itself in our lives.  It is this manifestation that I really worry about that will turn off some many partners.

While there is value having dialogue with others about Tiny Houses and Living, it will not convince many to overcome such strong socialization of our culture.  Even as I am generally informed about many issues surrounding this topic, I still feel the pull of our consumer society to buy buy buy, when I know in my head and heart that this is society’s influence bearing down on me.dating2

Some will say I must simply seek company of those who are like minded, that would move into a Tiny House with me in a heartbeat.  While I agree with this I must realize two things.  The first is that this is a small pool of people, which I am not currently in close proximity to;  And second is that it is important for me to interact with those who are not of the same thinking, in order to share my ideas and learn from theirs, this dialogue allows me to refine my ideas and change them where I am wrong.  I worry often about preaching to the choir.

I maintain friendships with all my ex-girlfriends and have seen their reactions when they learned of my goal of living in a Tiny House.  The first was intrigued and was all on board, I jokingly refer to her as having “hippie tendencies”.  The second one who is a very grounded person looked at me like I was crazy.  Even after she listened and could appreciate my views, I fielded the question.  Would you ever date a man (other than myself) who lived such a manner?  She honestly answered no, her reasoning was that she felt there would be so much backlash from her family and that her socialization was too strong.  She felt her family wouldn’t be able to see the value of sustainability and eco-friendliness and simply interpret as sub par living, of me being cheap, a hermit or in some fashion unfit for her.

I know of a few people who live in Tiny Houses, one couple is Tammy over at Rowdy kittens, she and Logan made a decision as a couple to diverge from the status quo to be better stewards of the earth, their life and money.  They are recently married if I am remembering right and as far as I know they are doing well.  Jay Schaffer has recently been married and with a child on the way they are moving into a 600 square foot house.

I know at some point in the dating process I would need to show my partner my home.  It is a big part of me, what I represent.  I love cooking and often cook nice dinners for my significant other, it might be a bit more interesting in a Tiny House.  I often wonder if it would be better to live in a normal house that was junky to a Tiny House that was nice, how would they react?  What would they tell their friends when they got home?  Would they go on the next date?  Which would they value more, a dirty house where they could change the man, or a nice Tiny House where they have very little chance of changing his principles.

This is all from the male perspective, straight one at that, I would be interested in seeing what women would think.  What effect a younger women or older women would have.

In searching for some graphics, I found a great blog post about Green Dating sites, sites that connects environmentally conscious people for dating.   HERE

  1. As a slightly older woman in a settled relationship I had the same concerns when I was building my small alternative home. (there’s an irony as to how that ended up) I think that you’d be surprised at which women are open to it and which ones aren’t. Once they see and understand how you live you’ll be faced with two issues 1. Is it something they can see themselves doing (probably an independent question from YOU being a part of the equation) 2. Do they really like you that much?

    I think these are independent issues. I suspect that a number of women raised in a larger suburban home has never stopped and thought about it, but maybe it just might fit them or their beliefs surprisingly well. This will be a journey of self-discovery for them. That is a lot to ask of a potential partner. Good thing to get it dealt with before marriage. That said, you’re still faced with the issue of whether or not she likes you THAT much.

    Myself, I’ve not ended up living in my small home but have compromised (he’s worth it) with an extra-large home with LOTS of people to accommodate his business near clients and have found work within walking distance. We average about 500 sq. ft. per person in our household so it’s pretty tight/efficient but in a larger envelope of a building.

    You might find that there are a range of options to achieve your goals and walk the talk of your beliefs and finding someone who is willing to take that walk with you is more than just the small home now. I suspect that it encompasses a larger issue of seeing yourself as not mainstream yet wanting a larger dating pool to find someone. I think that you might be best to just keep trying and make sure that you and her have a long conversation about values and goals before you “settle down” in any fashion.

    🙂 Keep us posted. A good guy is hard to find so I’m sure you’ll have enough opportunities!

  2. One very important thing for everyone to remember … people should be dating you for YOU .. not for your house. And, if your tiny house or your wanting to conserve resources is a problem to them, you're probably dating the wrong person anyway! 🙂

  3. Ryan – this is a great article. You bring up a lot of interesting points. It's hard to resist cultural norms, the pull of consumerism and gender role expectations.

    Logan and I have been married for 6 years (and have been together a total of 8.5). During the first few years of our marriage we got swept up in the "bigger is better" mindset. We were both 23 when we married and felt pressure to live a cookie cutter life. But we knew something was missing. We were way too stressed for such a young age.

    But all of that changed a few years ago.

    We were happy in our early 20's and had a strong relationship. But now that we don't have so much stuff, our relationship is even better. We prioritize each other rather than stuff or work.

    So what I'm trying to say is: Don't limit your options. Whoever you are dating may be more receptive to tiny living than you think. For instance, when Logan and I started dating he was living in a condemned single wide trailer (on the edge of a stinky cattle feed lot! and I'm a vegetarian. LOL! At the time he was doing an internship program and his employer provided the housing).

    Also, people change and that is evident by our relationship. We've grown and changed together, for the better.

    When you find the right partner, everything falls into place. And rather than trying to please someone from the outset, be yourself and pursue what you love. Being authentic will get you more dates than being fake. There is nothing wrong with tiny living and if the person you are dating hates the concept of tiny/simple living, then it might not be a good match.

    Don't get me wrong, relationships are all about compromise. But I don't think you should compromise your dreams to make something work.

  4. Hi Ryan,

    I wanted Tammy to post first before I posted because you requested a woman's perspective and you probably don't need another guy's perspective. But since I personally enjoy unsolicited advice on occasion I thought I'd throw my ideas out there and you can have them what they are worth.

    My dad's advice was always "only pursue women you like you". He took this advice a bit further with my younger brother when my brother complained to my dad that he was almost broke because he had to maintain his beat up old truck. My dad cleverly quipped back: "well son when you find a woman at least you'll know she isn't dating you for your money or your fancy car". 😉 Your situation reminds me of my own personal choice in college to purchase a car. I really didn't want a car. I really didn't need a car. But I felt the pressure that to date someone at college I needed a car so she didn't think I was "crazy". Its hard to resist conforming to the herd. I ended up purchasing a little, beat up truck. However, upon reflection I realize everyone I dated really wouldn't have cared if I chose to not to own a car because they hated their cars too. 🙂

    Besides aren't bachelor pads supposed to be eccentric by definition? You already heard Tammy's story about me living on a feedlot. I didn't even need a car or a tiny house to filter potential partners. At that time they could sort me out just by my distinct "cattle smell". Even clean and pressed duds would smell like the feedlot after living in that place for awhile. 😉 By comparison I think a tiny beautiful house is a much better presentation of your values. It shows you have modesty. 😉 If there is one thing I know about women and people in general they like a little confidence but they hate "cocky" and "immodest" behavior. 😉

    Good luck! 🙂

  5. I must first say that you are still young. I'm only 24 but the changes in my personality over the past 2 years alone have made me a completely different person. Five years ago, I probably would have thought the person I am now is nuts, but I'm not and neither are you. Another BUT is that I am pretty sure that none of us come to all these personal life choices over night. I know it took me years of gathering little tidbits of information along with personal preference to shape who I am today. MY POINT, lol, is that you may have already found someone that would be interested in your life choice but they just aren't at that point in their life yet. Some people will never get us "simple" types. Obviously they aren't your concern and there's no point in bothering with the close minded. I'd say if you don't find common ground interests (you MUST be honest, no point in trying to falsely impress a woman that you aren't compatible with) then just move on. There are, I'm sure, many many women (like me) who share your strong views for a specific type of life and yes it will be difficult to find us oddballs but doesn't that make it just that much more satisfying when you do? Like I said, you are still young so enjoy the… chase, if you will, lol. Be honest upfront if there are specific things you are looking for (mention it casually) and try striking up similar interests. Thats all you can really do, be yourself… oh and be super thoughtful.. 😉 that always helps, lol. Speaking of which, I hope I helped. Good luck in your search! Its the most important one in a lifetime.

  6. I am really glad you opened up the topic for discussion. I am a 32 year old single woman who is doing everything I can to make my dream of tiny living a reality. Still, I grapple with the same concerns. I don't think it is nearly as difficult for women as men. Still, if I were to downsize even more, or…better yet…move into something even less traditional (houseboat? trailer?) I am pretty sure I would get some negative reactions. That doesn't mean I am not plowing forward. I think it is so important to find someone on the same wavelength at the beginning. That, of course, is the challenge. I have reseached "green" dating sites and, although one can search by any number of shared values (from alternative energy to volunteerism), tiny living is not one of them! Arg! Also, I do not live near a major "hub" where likeminded people might get together for the showcasing of some of the cool new tiny living concepts and projects. As challenging as it will be, don't count yourself out. Know that there are women out there who would be game, if not downright excited about joining you. Tiny living dating site offshoot? Haha.

  7. I am a (gulp) 50 year old woman who has recently been dreaming of tiny houses and small living. I live in a 2,800 square foot, suburban Los Angeles home with my estranged husband of twenty years and two teenagers. My downsizing plan includes not only things, but people. Curious, I subscribed to an online singles network. This is shocking and sadly funny to some. Nevertheless, I submitted an honest profile of myself and listed it on the site. I quickly discovered that this was not the venue I needed to explore relationships. I believe that having similar interests is the most crucial bond in a relationship. In other words, it is the starting place for two people who want to live together harmoniously.

  8. I too am part of the site Amy belongs too and I find people's eyes glaze over when I try to explain my desire for down – or should I say Right-sizing for me. Why do I NEED (see response above about buying an unnecassary car) so much space when I feel most comfortable and responsible in a smaller space. Thanks for the article and Amy thanks for the link. I am not giving up hope that the right guy will see life in all its complexities and simplicities as I do.

    Live in the way you are most at peace and that person who completes you will find you either in person or through an online group or word of mouth "Hey I know t his fun young guy who is as wierd as you about living in a small space." Best Wishes in finding her!

  9. I felt this pain; guys wanted snazzy cars and lots of techcrap (sorry, a tv makes my eyes glaze over) and I was more interested in their survival skills. Oddly enough I was in hiking the middle of nowhere when I bumped into a fellow who was interesting enough to keep in touch with. Four years later, we’ve almost been married for one year. We dream of living reasonably (400 sf might be a bit cramped with a big dog though), but for now we’re living with in-laws, so even if society looked down upon us.. who cares? At least we won’t be in our mid 20s and 30s, respectively, living with parents! =X Freakin’ economy.

  10. Ryan,
    Something to consider, even though you live in a tiny house, is there room for her or is there only space for you to be single in it? Is there space for a woman to be with you in your life? Even if your space is tiny, is it “open”, are you open? If you are, you are more likely to attract someone who is open to you and your style of living.

    • very interesting points! I would certainly have to get some more space for two, Jay had this issue recently.

  11. I recently bought 5 acres and built a small house ( big enough for TWO), in the hills outside a Major City. Am debt free and grow an organic garden ….I’ve been divorced for quite a while and would like to meet an honest woman who would enjoy This lifestyle 🙂

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