Author Topic: roommating with weird neurology?  (Read 2581 times)

joonifloofeefloo

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roommating with weird neurology?
« on: February 28, 2017, 06:44:18 PM »
Wasn't sure how to title this!!

I love the idea of a roommate.
I loved, loved, loved, loved living with two different roommates, who I feel I lucked into.
For many reasons, I might like me (and my kid) to share a house with someone.
I don't have a someone in mind, I have to find them.

I am, however, aware of my many foibles.
Although no one can tell by looking at me, totally OCD about hygiene and tidiness...
Need minimalism...
Need absolute silence some hours of each day...
Background sound (radio, TV, beeps) makes me cuckoo...
Sometimes can truly not interact with another human being...

If you are a person with a weird brain, and have a happy shared-house situation, how did you create a thing that works for your neurology? If your roommate happens to be your spouse/etc, that fits too!

Mezzie

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 07:17:04 PM »
Except for the tidiness, I have many of the same issues. I'm especially sensitive to sound. I'm a morning person, though, and my husband and roommates/renters are not, so I generally get a lot of peace in the early morning. I can also go outside to garden or to my room to read if things are annoying me in the common areas (which is rare; my roommates are the best -- my husband, too, of course!)

I think it's important to be clear about what qualities you want in a roommate. For ours, we thought it was just going to be a few months while the roommates got back on their financial feet, but we've gotten along so great that we're still all in the same place two years later.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2017, 07:20:17 PM »
...we've gotten along so great that we're still all in the same place two years later.

Wow, Mezzie! What a hope-infusing story! Thanks very much for the practical ideas as well :)

Do you have the minimalist piece (low latent inhibition, etc)?

Two ideas so far:

1. Seek a "shared home with yard" situation, where I can park an RV in the yard for a silent extension.

2. Find someone even more wired this way than me. That's what worked with the two roommates I loved most. Their neurology was like mine x4, and it was easy enough for me to "live up to" that level, and 100% worth it. However, I'm not sure that's a fit with Kid, who is super considerate, etc, but not naturally OCD-tidy, etc.

HappierAtHome

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 07:47:11 PM »
If you are a person with a weird brain, and have a happy shared-house situation, how did you create a thing that works for your neurology? If your roommate happens to be your spouse/etc, that fits too!

When I had non-spouse roommates, or when I lived with a non-compatible partner, it was a nightmare for me. So I don't have tips on that! Coming home to a messy, dirty house was NOT good for my mental health, and neither was feeling like I was the only one who cared about such things.

With Mr Happier, I think it mostly works because his strongest preferences align with mine: generally neat and tidy (not always in the same ways, which is actually better I think as we cover a wider range of cleaning and tidying between us), no constant noise, lots of time to be at peace with oneself just BEING without your spouse right there wanting attention... lots of naps and recovery time, a focus on self-care.

We achieve a lot of what we need by having a house big enough to have more than one 'zone'. So one of us could be in the big living room, or in the study at the other end of the house, or the bedroom (I love reading while lying on my bed with the fan on in Summer), and we basically can't hear / sense each other at all. Our longer term plans include changes to the garden that will create some of these zones outside, too. We do also spend lots of time together, just to be clear :-)

We do differ on 'stuff': he likes a more cluttered aesthetic with all his sentimental items on display. I need a lot of blank space and emptiness in my rooms. Our solution has been to have a space that he is free to clutter up (the study) and to have the main living areas more in line with my needs. This works well for him too, as it means the main living areas are always neat and tidy which is (in a contradictory way, I know!) something he needs just as much as he needs his sentimental clutter. The downside is that I don't enjoy the study very much, but as there are multiple other zones for me to hang out in, it hasn't been an issue at all.

On a less practical, more emotional note, we make sure we have a lot of time and energy to give each other in being compassionate, understanding and very listen-y in ways that make us both feel recognised and supported in our quirkiness.

Peony

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 08:24:22 PM »
Someone on the YNAB forum mentioned using top-quality, comfortable, noise-cancelling headphones. I also may be looking for a roommate and those are on my list if I do. Noise nearly ended my relationship, without my even realizing it was an issue (now we live separately so everyone's noise level can be as they prefer).

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 11:13:09 PM »
Thanks so much, HAH and Peony! This is great!

I have those super fancy, wireless, Bose, noise-cancelling earphones... and zero idea how to make them do their thing. I'll ask Bose.

obstinate

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 11:23:50 PM »
I am basically neurotypical, but I have a thought. Have you tried reaching out to your network to find someone who has the same desires as you? I mean, they don't have to have the exact same neurologic wiring, but they also prefer extreme quiet, keep fastidiously clean, etc.? A lot of these folks surely have equal amounts of trouble finding a compatible roommate!

Best of luck.

ElleFiji

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 11:29:44 PM »
Overall, I don't roommate anymore because I can't get the feeling that shared space is mine. But to keep my own room cozy and mine when I have roommated previously, I find my air filter creates a noise barrier, and a diffuser makes a scent barrier. I keep my own room as tidy or messy as I need to, and barely venture into shared spaces.  I will also make mini spaces within the room, so that I have a study corner, a pretty things corner, and a cozy warm bed. It isn't perfect, but it got me through 2.5 years that could have equaled catastrophic debt.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2017, 11:32:53 PM »
You know, that's an excellent idea, obstinate, thank you!

A lot of us on the spectrum don't have a network (part and parcel! oy!), but maybe there's a way to find each other for this purpose... I do know one person who is weirdly like me; he's living in his car. Maybe he would find it "worth" paying for indoor space if it were with someone also quiet and geeky? It would surely be easier for some of us to find each other now (I'm in my 40s) than earlier in life, when none of us had our diagnoses/info/etc yet and just thought we had to cure ourselves into wanting sounds :)

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2017, 11:43:24 PM »
ElleFiji, great input, thank you!!

Yes, it doesn't have to be perfect, just "lovely." Like right now, our housing is imperfect on four counts (a) zero access for kid to his disability services (unserviced area), (b) no tub for home-spa, (c) landlord is coaxing us to leave so he can get the vacation rental dollars, and (d) lack of companionship inside it. However, it is truly "lovely". Roommating would swap some of those cons out for others, presumably. Imperfect is okay.

ElleFiji

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2017, 11:50:46 PM »
Oh! and another system I saw neurotypical people in their 30s do quite well (about 10 years ago)

 - Renting a shared space with MORE than the required number of rooms per person, so that each person gets a bedroom plus a lounge or study (living room, dining rooms and bedrooms can all turn into lounges) and some people will close the door or curtain to their lounge, some didn't.

And we use soundwalls at some of my work spaces, they are more advanced than air filters for white noise, I think several speakers in different locations.

Sorry that my ideas are scattered.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2017, 11:52:02 PM »
This conversation inspired me to Google what folks with, say, Aspergers are figuring out for housing.
Look what I found! http://www.autismhousingnetwork.org/

This noted, when I pondered what made those two roommates perfect for me, I realized it was not a specific diagnostic profile (we all had different ones), but the following combination of traits:
  • quirky, so we understood each other, had room for each other
  • innocent, harmless, and kind
  • I was willing (happy!) to meet their level of need
  • they were each sort of "mothery" with me
  • I may well have been a bit mothery with them, because even though I think I'm not mothery, people express that they are very drawn to exactly that trait
  • gave each other lots of space; intentionally chose opposite shifts in our jobs, etc
  • yet each had an excellent intuition about when and how to approach the other when needed
So, apparently I seek to find not "someone Aspie" but "a mothery Aspie"? Where's the network for that? ;)

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2017, 11:53:31 PM »
Sorry that my ideas are scattered.

Not at all! They are beautiful, relevant, and helpful!

Bicycle_B

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2017, 03:08:38 AM »
I have had roommates for most of the past decade; am Aspie-ish, sensitive to sound - hate background TV or radio, also smoke of any type, etc.  I reserve the right to interact or not.  My private bedroom stays private.

My technique has been to take charge of a space (I own a home), advertise very specifically, and interview in a bit too much detail.  I am upfront about my quirks and seek people whose lifestyle fits them naturally.  I explicitly attempt to determine whether they are comfortable not making smoke or electronic background noise and usually succeed. Intellectuals too proud to watch TV have been a common theme. Also I agree only to mutual 30 day notice, not year long leases; if someone doesn't work out, they have to go.  Generally it has worked.  Currently have 2 roommates who have been here more than 4 years.

secondcor521

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2017, 04:05:55 AM »
My three children are neuroatypical in various ways.  The oldest lives with me full time; the younger two go back and forth between my house and their mother's.

Among us we have ADHD, misophonia, and what I call Aspie tendencies.  The biggest challenge is the misophonia.  What has helped most with that is a healthy dose of caring about each other which creates a willingness to adapt behaviors and environments as needed to accommodate all our unusual neurology.  We're still working on it.

Good luck!

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2017, 09:06:54 AM »
My technique has been to take charge of a space (I own a home), advertise very specifically, and interview in a bit too much detail.

Love it!

And what a service you are providing to others who dream of quiet, etc.

I keep thinking about doing this. Buy a three-bedroom, two-bath place, and get roommates in. Me and Kid can share one bathroom; roommate gets other one.

I get nervous about it. I owned before, and got roommates in, and it sort of sucked, because at that time I didn't know how much I needed to communicate [this is my home, it is set up honestly, it is not waiting for someone to fill it with stuff, for example; this cupboard is mine, even though I prefer to keep much of it empty, it is not yours just because it has empty space] and because in my "I can't remember how to be around The Humans hours" I wouldn't know how to get back into the house, or from my bedroom to the bathroom, because there were Humans en route.

I do think it might be better now that I have more confidence in my goodness and also a gregarious kid who draws attention, thus keeps it away from me.

The other catch is that all the homes I can both bear (detached, some nature, etc) and afford are reserved for people 55 and up. The housing available to people under 55 is high density, asphalty, crazy expensive, etc.

Just thinking aloud about this possibility for me, too...

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2017, 09:08:22 AM »
What has helped most with that is a healthy dose of caring about each other which creates a willingness to adapt behaviors and environments as needed to accommodate all our unusual neurology.

That's it, yes! Those two amazing roommates I had, it was like that with them. Me with each of them, each of them with me. My kid and I do that too.

PJ

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Re: roommating with weird neurology?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2017, 02:09:32 PM »
My technique has been to take charge of a space (I own a home), advertise very specifically, and interview in a bit too much detail.

Love it!

And what a service you are providing to others who dream of quiet, etc.

I keep thinking about doing this. Buy a three-bedroom, two-bath place, and get roommates in. Me and Kid can share one bathroom; roommate gets other one.

I get nervous about it. I owned before, and got roommates in, and it sort of sucked, because at that time I didn't know how much I needed to communicate [this is my home, it is set up honestly, it is not waiting for someone to fill it with stuff, for example; this cupboard is mine, even though I prefer to keep much of it empty, it is not yours just because it has empty space] and because in my "I can't remember how to be around The Humans hours" I wouldn't know how to get back into the house, or from my bedroom to the bathroom, because there were Humans en route.

I do think it might be better now that I have more confidence in my goodness and also a gregarious kid who draws attention, thus keeps it away from me.

The other catch is that all the homes I can both bear (detached, some nature, etc) and afford are reserved for people 55 and up. The housing available to people under 55 is high density, asphalty, crazy expensive, etc.

Just thinking aloud about this possibility for me, too...

If you were able to afford such a space, someday, you may find that it doesn't cost that much more, for example, to make it a 4 bedroom place, as someone else suggested up-thread.  Depending on the layout of the house, you could then either keep that 4th bedroom as your private "living room," which might allow you to care less what is done in the main living room.  Or, you give it to you tenant as "their" sitting room, so that they have a place where they can kick off their shoes and leave a glass on the table overnight, and have the door shut so that it doesn't bother you (as much!).  Plus, then they are, if not confined to hanging out in that room, at least discouraged from hanging out in the common space most of the time.