Partnered couples of all demographics are getting away from it all at home, in private dedicated personal spaces. Man and mom caves, my space, chill rooms, do-not-disturb getaways, and time-out hideaways are what these emerging places are called by devotees. It appears that after a couple of years deferring to the other half, some people need a place where they can go alone, close the door, not be bothered and return again and again to their unchanged, un-negotiated environment.
The adults interviewed wanted to embrace their need for a time out from life, a relationship, or the kids. The need for personal space could be outcome from having their own room in childhood. Many of those that practice caving related the pleasure of a place within their home where nothing was rearranged, tidied, or monitored by their significant other. And, they reported that it wasn’t a home office, workshop or sewing room that qualified as a cave.
The caves took on assorted looks and locations in the home. A magazine editor built out a third-floor hideaway in her Victorian home’s attic, where she escapes to read, look at photo albums, listen to music, stare out the window, or sleep. When she arrives at her “mom cave” she hangs an “occupied” sign on the door. The rule of households that have a caver is; you only disturb them if there is an emergency.
On the west coast a busy corporate executive converted a bay of his three-car garage into his “time out” room. When he’s in residence there, he can think about personal or business issues uninterrupted and does nothing, which is hard, do with three young boys running around the house. He has the only key to his slice of “down time” from his family. He only allows tours of his “time out” to his wife and children when they become curious about his world within theirs. Cavers varied in their usage of the cave, some visited everyday and some only when needed.
Another “my spacer” wanted to explore her closeted creative side. The policewoman wanted a space where she could doodle, sculpt, and experiment without critiques or comments from her partner. Her space was an unused bedroom, now filled with folding banquet tables, where a multitude of projects rest, waiting to be completed or discarded. She told me that the best part was she could throw away something that only she saw and make independent decisions about what she created as an individual.
The ultimate caver I met, was a computer technician who emptied a storage room in his basement and slowly improved the space over a year. He said the slow transition gave his wife time to adapt to his getting away without leaving home. Walking into this rare invitation-only cave, I found it an environment where this adult could define himself mentally and physically (sometimes it’s his yoga space). The walls featured some posters, shelves with unrelated objects that he bought specifically for his cave, a desk to write random thoughts (but not a journal), and a comfortable recliner for napping, reading or dreaming.
I didn’t run into any dual-caving couples. Most cavers were partnered with someone who didn’t require any personal and individual time. The spouses of cavers all said that when the cave idea was broached, their initial reaction they felt was a mild rejection. But, after experiencing their partner caving, they all agreed it was a benefit to their relationship. As one wife of caver said, “You have to understand that caving isn’t about the spouse, it’s about the caver. ”
After talking to friends and colleagues about caving, I experienced a big ah-hah moment. Seems to me that allot of caving goes on, the computer technician gave it a name, and spouses or partners of cavers can rest assured that their not coupled with the only caver in America.
Copyright Mark Nash 2006-2007
Mark Nash is the author of five real estate books, new for 2007; Real Estate A-Z for Buying & Selling a Home. William J. Sittig, Chief of the Science, Technology and Business Division of The Library of Congress has invited Mark to make a presentation on 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home to the members, public and staff of the Library on March 21, 2007. Nash has been featured on Bloomberg Video-on-Demand, CBS The Early Show, CNN, and The Today Show. He is a syndicated columnist for RealtyTimes.com and reviews books for MyShelf.com and The Midwest Review of Books. To subscribe to his free monthly ezine; Agent to Agent visit: http://www.AgenttoAgentezine.com