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I love you but don't want to live with you

“You keep saying you love us”

“Of course mom, I love you. I love dad. I will do anything for you people”

“Then why is it that you don’t want to live with us?

“Mom, how can I make you understand. I love you both, but I want to live on my own”

“But you said, you will do anything for us”

“Yes, I will do anything that is needed to make your life better. I will always be there when you need me”

“But you won’t stay with us”

“That’s is different mom, I want my freedom. I want my life”

Is that conversation familiar? You could be the parent or the child. You could be two people who are siblings, friends or whatever the nature of the relationship.

I love you, but don’t want to live with you. I love your home, I would like to visit but not stay. For some people, this seems very difficult to digest. For them, loving means being together. How can someone love us but not stay with us? Why do they want to live on their own? The attitude of people who want to live on their own comes across as ambiguous to the other person.

Loving someone, including parents, does not mean the same as wanting to live with them or work with them. We may not want to spend 24 hours with the person. We may be happy to see them once in a while. But if there is an emergency and we are needed, we are willing to drop everything and be with people we love. Each person likes to lead his or her own life. Need for privacy is not about secrecy. They may have no secrets but they need their lives to be private. Living or working with people is the loss of that privacy. A person may be willing to lose that privacy with some people but not with everyone.

When someone says they prefer to live on their own, it does not mean they love us less. Loving someone and wanting to live or work with them are two different ideas.


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