Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fear of commitment

I'm signing a lease on a new apartment this weekend. It's a cozy little place with big windows facing in both directions, pretty light gray walls, and a little garden outside that's maintained and shared by all the neighbors together. I'm excited to have a place all to myself again for the first time since I moved in with La Moustache in the summer of 2007.

One question that the landlord asked me threw me into a bit of a tizzy: "Would you prefer to sign a one-year lease or a two-year lease?" I faced the same question the last time I signed a lease, with La Moustache. The benefit to a two-year lease, of course, is that the rent doesn't go up after the first year; the downside is that you are locked into a two-year commitment.

I remember moving to New York in the summer of 2003 and getting my first cell phone plan, and thinking that a two-year commitment seemed outlandish. Who knew where I would be in two years? I could be in another city, another country, on another continent. As it turns out, more than seven years later, I am still on the exact same plan, with no intention of leaving it anytime soon. Likewise, when Moustache and I moved in, a two-year lease seemed daunting. He wanted to sign it, but I pushed for one year instead. We didn't move out until 2 1/2 years later, at which point we no longer had a lease, and I regretted my fear of commitment when our rent went up $60 a month after the first year.

Life has a way of changing more slowly than you think it will, and then all of a sudden abrupt changes come out of nowhere. I find it virtually impossible to plan my life around the constraints of a lease, and am amazed by people who are able to do so. Opportunities come up; situations don't work out. I have broken three leases so far in my life, always leaving on good terms with the landlord, and the last two places I've lived I didn't break a lease only because I didn't have one.

Likewise, I've been thinking about where I stand with Dreamy and wondering whether I want to make a commitment of exclusiveness with him. I thought I would bring it up this weekend, but it turns out that I'm not quite ready to do so; I can't exactly ask Dreamy to be exclusive with me when I have a date lined up with Dreamy II next week. I thought I was ready to take this step, but it turns out that when Dreamy II asked me out I really wanted to say yes. We'll see what happens.

So where does this leave me with my lease decision? I have no idea. It seems like in the end it's a bit of a crapshoot. But the landlord seems like a reasonable guy; maybe he'd consent to an 18 month lease.

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