Clara Benson recently wrote about the unusual living arrangements of her boyfriend, and how it has affected their relationship. The article, titled “My boyfriend lives in a dumpster,” explains that Jeff, her boyfriend, is a science professor and dean at the university he teaches, and the dumpster is part of a year long social experiment he has embarked on. As intriguing as life in a dumpster may or may not seem, the real heart of the story comes from the insight Clara gained from it regarding the many facets of love.
The pair had been dating for a year, and Jeff had been anticipating his social experiment long before their first date, where he promptly informed Clara of his unique plans. After a year of serious dating that eventually developed into both partners sharing one common living space, the relationship blossomed. As the time for Jeff to take up residency in the dumpster drew near, Clara began to wonder what this move would mean for her love life. Like anyone in a committed relationship, she was concerned about not being able to spend as much time together and how that may put a strain on their connection. She anticipated the inevitable infrequency of intimate moments between the couple, and worried about how the loss of privacy would impair their romance.
Jeff suggested they figure things out along the way, and although Clara’s anxiety made her less confident, she hoped their efforts would bode well for their future. She doesn’t deny that it was hard at times, and the transition left her with initial feelings of loneliness; her boyfriend had moved out, after all. As time went on, however, the couple learned how to thrive in the new circumstances. They spent more time enjoying their city, cultivating their connection in different settings. Being with each other in public replaced their old routine of being home together. Clara realized that love is not the same for all couples, and relationships don’t always have to adhere to societal norms in order to be successful. She knew that Jeff’s dedication to the dumpster experiment was important to him, and she learned that the bond they shared didn’t have to take a backseat because of it.
The thing about love, is that it allows for so many interpretations that people often lose sight of it’s root. One concept can only provide a multitude of possibilities if it is understood to be an abstract whole, comprised of an infinite number of intricacies. It’s easy to get sidetracked by popular opinion, but when you venture into a relationship and discover how little any of that matters, you see the true subjective nature of love. Like life itself, love and happiness are different for everyone, and just because you found it in a dumpster doesn’t mean it’s trash.