I was on a zoom recently with lots of communitarians (cohousers, intentional community residents and wannabes). One person said that they noticed that people who didn’t fit into cohousing moved out within one year.
I asked what made them not fit and they said “People who need to be right.”
I learned a few things that day. One, how common it is that people know if cohousing is correct or not for them within one year. We had four families leave within a year, one right at a year, and three others at a year and a half (though I know one family knew before one year). It goes with my firm belief that everyone should rent at first, if they can. See if this community is for you or not. Looks like you should rent for two years to be sure.
The other thing that was reinforced is how cohousing tends to blame the victim. The one leaving. It’s all on them. They didn’t fit. I see very few places that self-reflect and see how it takes two to tango.
I may be a bit sensitive since someone accused me of wanting to be “right”. That word was flown around. I never said that. I never even felt that. I am not insensitive (in fact too sensitive) and I saw how most people thought what I did was wrong – and those who agreed didn’t speak up against the groupthink). It wasn’t a matter of right or wrong but I chose an action and I didn’t expect the reaction. Once that reaction was there, I didn’t see a way of getting back into the fold. I had made a mistake which all of us do. If you are a community, aren’t you supposed to forgive mistakes That’s what I was working towards and to explain how I came up to my decision.
No matter what I said, some never could listen. They heard I was mad. That I wanted punishment. That I wanted to be “right”.
I just wanted some terrible actions to stop. That was it.
I heard someone who is forming a cohousing community how they will work to solve problems. They brought up examples of communities that were problem solvers. Made me almost sign up right away. But then I remembered what happened to me. What if you are the only one who is a problem solver? What if everyone else is super passive?
For most things it’s not a big deal. But this issue felt urgent to me and others (which no one likes to bring up – they like to pin it all on me when there is evidence of others who had the same solution).
That’s what being in the community can show you. Do your real core values match up with those around you?