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Psychological effects

How does living with an unrelated person affect one, psychologically?

Gulf News

Life situations are the best teachers. Does it affect one psychologically, if one chooses or is forced to live with an unrelated person for economic reasons?

Psychologist Anjalie Sharma told Gulf News: “It all counts down to one thing - how adaptable or flexible one becomes, to share a roof with an unrelated person. It can be intriguing and nerve-wracking sometimes. The good side is that it’s a good chance to find a new friend in that person. It also helps you grow personally. Knowing each other’s struggles, respecting sensitivities, trying to pave way for each other’s likes and dislikes can be a positive addition to one’s temperament. Moreover, it is always a good feeling to come back home knowing that one will not have a meal alone but will have company.

“When one tries to relate to an unknown person, it’s a constant learning experience, different from living with your own family members whom you have grown up knowing. The journey can be very interesting. It helps your stress levels to know that many of your burdens are shared, especially expenses and responsibilities are shared. While living in a city with long hours at work, one can always look forward to unwind with someone. It banishes loneliness. It can also be therapeutical and fun to cook and eat together on weekends.”

According to Sharma, there are also a few negative effects of this since privacy, confidentiality and space are often compromised.

The three prime factors in sharing expenses are having transparency, clarity and discipline in money matters. Transparency about what expenses you would like to split and vice versa. Clarity about present and future expenses. Discipline in respecting each others budgets and incoming salaries. If these things are in alignment, such a joint-family system can work out well, she adds.

- The writer is an HR professional based in Dubai