To become homeowners without breaking their relationship

A real estate purchase is a decisive step: the couple can leave strengthened or destroyed. Reviewing obstacles to overcome, or how to become two-person owners and stay happy.

Ségolène Barbé

"We wanted a new place, like our history," says Corinne, 54. "We are neither engaged nor married, and my partner already has a little girl, so buying together is a good thing. way to weld our relationship, "says Julie, 26. In the age of sentimental zapping, why do so many couples dream of owning land? For financial reasons of course. But also to build something together, take a new start for two, in a place without any pots or corpses in the closet. "The acquisition of the house is a culmination of the maturation of the couple, a positive vital momentum, dynamic, an opening to the future and to the world, explains psycho-sociologist Perla Serfaty-Garzon, but it is also a potential for conflict. "

They dream lovingly of the wallpaper they will put in the living room, from a garden where children will frolic, but forget the paperwork, the compromises, the sleepless nights ... Buy with two is a course of the combatant, which makes it possible to discover otherwise, to approach the subjects which annoy, to take stock on its differences and his common desires. A bit like a couple therapy!

A projection in time

The house is not an ordinary commodity. To finance it, you have to commit together on a loan of ten, twenty or even thirty years. "Two people must be ready, at the same time, to commit themselves for the long term in the eyes of the world and the bank. which is far from obvious ", observes Perla Serfaty-Garzon. A simultaneity all the more difficult to obtain as the couples of today are no longer in the fusion "free together", in the words of the sociologist François de Singly, author of Libres ensemble ( Armand Colin), they say more willingly "I" than "us".

"I've lived with Clémence for seven years and I've been reluctant for any form of commitment for a long time," says Paul, 40. Clémence has never been married, she has a very romantic vision of the couple. I am divorced, with a child.This separation led me to revise deeply my relationship to the couple.And then, with time, I became less paranoid ... Finally, I took the step and I do not regret it. " For these two, the story ends well, but for others, much less. "I see divorcing couples just after the purchase because they feel they have committed too much one screw to the other, testifies the psychiatrist and therapist of couple Jacques-Antoine Malarewicz, author of a study on the irrational in the act of real estate purchase (2007).They subconsciously thought that the real estate purchase would allow them to reassure their couple. "

Of course, we will always be able to resell, to move (what the French do, on average, only every fourteen years ...), but the the purchase of the apartment forces one to confront the one who will be in five, ten, fifteen years old.How many children will we have, do we see ourselves growing old here? can make you dizzy when they occur too early in the life of the couple, when you have not had time to tame, to overcome the fears of past failures. " By buying this house with my wife, I also thought that I would want to live there when I'm retired, says Boris, 49. In this house, I could even agree to die. "

The Shock of Values ​​

" Fred and I have been together for a year and a half, says Agnès, 31. We have been looking to buy for six months, but it is much more difficult than we imagined. Fred wants the old, me modern. He wants to do some work and I am afraid that it will bite on our weekends ... "House or apartment? Downtown or suburbs? Open or closed on the outside? Buy as a couple, it is to confront its values, to learn the trade-off.

"The act of purchase reactivates the family loyalties, the values ​​transmitted by the families of origin", analyzes Jacques-Antoine Malarewicz, especially as the parents or in-laws are often invited to give their opinion on the apartment. " Couples are already rarely agree, says Yann, real estate agent. So when the stepmother gets involved, I see the head of the son-in-law lie down ... The man prefers the financial aspect, in general he finds it too expensive, while the woman sees more the practical side, the size of the rooms, the proximity to the place of work or school children ... It is almost always the woman who has the last word. When she has the heart stroke, we know it's in her pocket. "

Crucial point of the negotiations: the choice of the address, highly strategic." Through the address, it is the image that we will give of oneself to others that is at stake, the social group to which we are attached ", underlines Perla Serfaty-Garzon Some, more at ease with their rebellious side, have no trouble assuming a more popular address, others, attached to an image of social success, do not want to leave the bourgeois district of their city. " Men are often more attentive to the tinsel side. A little like their car, they are very attached to the external aspect, "says Thierry, real estate agent.If men and women come from two different planets, nothing beats life together to test his way of living together ... and find common ground." At first, I did not want to hear about the suburbs, says Boris. And then, after four years of living with Sylvia, I changed my mind.I wanted a house and a garden because I love how it transforms the places we live in, to make it a warm and open place to others. Finally, the purchase of this house has confirmed the way we both enjoy life. "

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