Why You Should Never Date Someone Who Lives On Your Street

June 12, 2019  |  
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dating a neighbor advice

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When I was single, I had a brief dalliance with a guy who lived within walking distance of my apartment. Honestly, looking back, I think if he hadn’t lived right there I wouldn’t have even been attracted to him. We probably all, at some point, have a fantasy of having a little fling or full-blown love affair with someone who lives in the neighborhood. It feels so easy and yet so forbidden, all at the same time. When you’re into someone, knowing you could run into him at any moment when you’re simply walking to get coffee makes your neighborhood feel more exciting. I think all of that put a rose-colored lens over my eyes that made that dude look much better than he actually was. And, it turned out that dating a man who lived down the street was a BIG mistake. You don’t even think about all of the ways every part of dating—good and bad—is inflated when he lives right there.

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Things will move too fast

First of all, the relationship will move too fast. It’s almost impossible to put the brakes on it. When you live across town from each other, there’s a natural buffer there. You may only see each other on weekends because getting to each other on weeknights, at a reasonable hour, with all the traffic, just isn’t possible. But you can see each other almost every day when you live next door. And so, you very well might.

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Is it love or convenience?

It’s hard to know if you’re really into this person or if it’s just convenient. Hey, everybody wants companionship. At least when someone lives across town, you have to ask yourself this question: is the trouble of seeing him worth it? The work you have to put into seeing the guy forces you to ask whether or not there’s really chemistry there that’s worth fighting for. But you don’t have to ask yourself that when he lives up the block.

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You have no excuse for alone time

You feel weird turning him down for a hangout. He knows you’re just up the street. If you want alone time you just have to say, “I want alone time.” There’s almost no other excuse good enough to not see each other when you’re literally 100 yards away from each other.

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It hurts more when he can’t hang out

On the flip side, it feels deeply personal when he can’t or won’t hang out. Men who live across town can say they’re busy with this and that and you accept it. But, when the dude is your neighbor, you know you’re both winding up at the same place after your other obligations. So if he doesn’t want to hang, it just feels personal.

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Things become codependent

Many of us likely have some degree of codependent tendencies. Like I said, it’s natural to want companionship. At least when a guy doesn’t live nearby, you’re forced to maintain some sense of independence. He just can’t go to the Farmer’s market with you or go shopping with you in the middle of the week. But when he’s right there, he probably can. And you can accompany him on errands. Suddenly, you both become very codependent.

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But they also wouldn’t progress

Ironically, while living nearby can lead to a codependent relationship, it can also cause a stagnant one. There won’t be talk of moving in together, even after a long time of dating because, well, you basically already live together. But you don’t, and it’s a big difference. When I dated my neighbor, we didn’t make a point to meet each other’s friends. It was easy to skip it when we were tired, saying, “I’ll meet them another time.” We felt like that other time would come easily, since we were neighbors. But actually, not making the point to meet each other’s friends meant we never did.

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Let’s not forget: you could break up

Up until this point, we’ve only talked about what the relationship would be like. But let’s not forget that, like most relationships, this one could just…end. You know how, after a breakup, you really, really don’t want to see your ex? Well, that’s not really an option when he’s your neighbor.

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Then you won’t feel at home, at home

You won’t feel at home in your own home when your ex lives so nearby. Every time you simply go outside to get the mail, or just get in your car, you’ll fear running into him. Let’s not mention what it’s like if it’s a bad breakup and the ex won’t leave you alone…and he lives right next door. You may just have to move!

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You can’t date anyone else in the neighborhood

You really only get to date one person in the neighborhood. I mean, you can date another guy but…that’ll be awkward. Your current boo and your ex will run into each other all of the time. Simple, everyday life will be full of tension and awkward moments.

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What happens when you date someone else?

Speaking of dating someone else, even if your next man doesn’t live in the neighborhood, there will be a next man. And with that man on your arm, you’ll run into your ex several times because he’s your neighbor. And future boyfriends won’t love that an ex lives so close by.

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Or when he dates someone else?

What about when he dates someone new? She’s going to run into you a lot. She’s not going to like that you’re around. Those will be some tense interactions. If you still have feelings for the ex at all, this will be incredibly painful—you’ll see him with someone else regularly.

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You know you like the same date spots

You know you like all the same local date spots. You went on dates there. You pretty much covered all of the date spots in your neighborhood, and now you don’t feel safe taking a new guy to any of them. You may run into the ex there, on a date with someone else. Nobody will enjoy that evening. So you’re leaving the neighborhood, just to have dinner with your new man.

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You have to change your dog walking paths

If you both have dogs, the issue is just compounded. Those pooches need several walks a day, and dogs tend to love all the same spots. You have to totally change your walking path to avoid running into the ex and his dog. (It’s double sad if your dogs were friends and now you’re keeping them apart).

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You’ll have common neighbor friends

You probably have several common friends in the neighborhood. They’ll have to take sides in the breakup. They don’t want to but, the truth is, they aren’t going to invite both of you to their dinner parties anymore.

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If it comes up, take things SO slowly

Look, if you do meet someone who lives in your neighborhood and the chemistry is just too good to resist, take things really slowly. Like, snail speed slow. Don’t so much as kiss until you’ve hung out a dozen times. You should be really, really certain this could go somewhere before you, well, sh*t where you eat, as the saying goes.

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