It’s been 4 months since I have last blogged.
In the words of Charlie Brown, “Oh, good grief.”
I really need to get better at this!!!
Well. Since Friday morning my boyfriend and I re-signed our lease for another year of living together, and ironically, he turned around and left town until today, what better time to write about our first year of living together?
Now, I know plenty of people out there who do not agree with living together prior to marriage. That is a perfectly reasonable belief, and I would not dare to judge anyone that holds that belief. However, there are also plenty of people that think living together prior to marriage is a good test of the relationship. I am one of those people, and as such, I ask you to reserve judgment on my boyfriend’s and my decision to live together.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
For privacy purposes, I will refer to my boyfriend as “S”.
S and I have been together for a little over 3 1/2 years at this point (3 years, 7 months and 10 days, to be exact…but who’s counting?). It has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, pretty typical. We moved in after about 2 1/2 years of dating. Though we had discussed doing it sooner, the timing wasn’t exactly right between work, leases ending, and just not feeling ready.
Let me tell ya. As much as I love living with S, there are a TON of things I have learned in the past year. And that is what I am going to focus this entry on – things that I (really, “we,”) have learned in the past year.
- Do not move in together until you are absolutely ready!! This is probably the MOST important thing I have learned. There were many discussions had about the logistics behind moving in together, whether it would be weird having him move into an apartment I had been living in for the past year, whether we should find our own place to make our own, etc. SO many discussions. In the end, however, we made the decisions that fit US best. I am so glad that we made the time to plan this out, and didn’t make and sudden decisions.
- You WILL have an adjustment period. Prior to us moving in together, I was a little terrified that it would ruin our relationship. I thought that we would be around each other so much that we would get on one another’s nerves, that we would never get any alone time, etc. At first, it was a little weird getting used to living with him – I would be lying if I didn’t admit to that. However, pretty quickly, it became something exciting and new. Not having the hassle of alternating where to spend nights and weekends was fabulous! Getting to decorate our place together and make joint decisions was great!
- Privacy and personal time still exist, though not as much as you’re probably used to. I think this was the hardest adjustment for me. Growing up as an only child especially, I’m used to having a lot of time for myself – choosing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and not having to really share much space with anyone (other than my parents of course). Over the year, however, I have still managed to maintain some independence – I have friends over to hang out, and don’t necessarily spend every waking moment with S. He has shows he watches on his own, while I watch my own shows as well. We spend time reading, and going out with our friends, and it works out so well. Don’t get me wrong – we definitely spend quite a bit of time together! – but we are able to enjoy our own activities as well. I think being able to enjoy time together AND apart in our mutual living space has made this such a great experience so far, and has strengthened our relationship.
- There WILL be an increase in arguments. Constructive arguments are not a bad thing, especially when they are more of a discussion and less of a yelling match. Lucky for us, we both have different personalities and are able to work together to find a solution relatively quickly. Arguments you didn’t even think you would have, like what brand of food to buy, how to clean things in the apartment, which way the toilet paper roll needs to be facing, organization methods, etc. – ALL are things that come to light when you combine both of your lives together. As long as you are willing to discuss things, not let the little things get the better of you, and most of all, compromise, then you will be good to go!
- Financial transparency is required. Super un-romantic discussions about paying bills, grocery shopping, shopping habits in general, savings, and other money-related areas are all going to be laid out on the table and dissected piece by piece. It is fair to say that while living apart, many couples probably don’t discuss these things as thoroughly. While it is not the most romantic and lovely conversation to have, it IS something necessary. If you are unable to make it through these discussions without coming up with a compromise or solution, it is not going to be pretty.
- Through all the ups and downs, you have a best friend to come home to. I think that for me, as a super social person, I enjoy living with someone. In my experience with roommates (although I can’t say that I have the BEST track record…), it’s a person that I grow to have a special bond with, get to know on a personal level, and create some great memories with. Though I have never lived with a boyfriend until S, I can say that there is definitely a difference between just having a roommate and living with a significant other. With having a roommate, there’s an expiration date – you know that living with that person won’t be permanent. However, with a significant other, there’s an understanding that you’re putting faith in the relationship, that you both think that it’s going to last for quite some time, even possibly forever, and that makes it an even more special bond.
- Speaking of roommates – do not think of living with your significant other as just having a roommate. This isn’t necessarily something that we did; only on occasion do I refer to S as “my roommate,” and even then it’s as a joke. Really, just because you literally share a space with them, they are technically considered a roommate. Romantic relationships are outside the boundaries of a majority of roommate relationships. If anything, the romantic level of the relationship should increase rather than fizzle out and digress to a roommate-status relationship. Should you find that living with your significant other feels more like that, it’s probably time to discuss that. But, that’s also not something to fear or prevent you from making the decision to move in together! The possibilities for romantic gestures increase tenfold when you are sharing a living space. Surprises such as cleaning the house, doing the dishes, making dinner, bringing home flowers, and other endless ideas, are ways to keep the relationship alive and show that living together can be super romantic
- Just don’t expect it to be romantic 24/7. Having unrealistic expectations when it comes to living with a significant other can dampen the relationship. I will admit, I somewhat expected more romantic gestures than I probably should’ve. Dammit, Hollywood, please stop giving us these silly notions…flowers, chocolates, wine, jewelry..are typically NOT things that are going to happen on a weekly, or even monthly, basis. This could be a whole different blog post honestly – romantic expectations from partners can differ between relationships. Everyone is different; some partners are very good with romantic gestures, some overdo it, and some don’t do anything. Hey – whatever works for you! But communicating when you’re feeling neglected, or wanting more romantic gestures or surprises, is something that can save everyone a lot of heartache.
- You will get to know that person inside and out – and they will get to know you in the same way. Definitely. You will get to know the good, the bad, and the ugly, VERY fast. But that’s one of the wonderful parts of living with someone! You get to bare the parts of your own heart and trust someone with that completely. They will see you in times of weakness, sickness, heartbreak – and in times of pure joy, excitement, and every possible emotion. You will share yourself with them, and they will do the same. It’s incredible, actually, the things you learn, and continue to learn, as time goes on. It’s only been one year for us, and the little nuances I’ve learned about S are so numerous I couldn’t even tell you half of them I’m sure. Regardless, it’s something special that you really couldn’t experience otherwise.
- You will learn which things actually matter, and which ones to let go. This is probably an ongoing truth for us. I am a nit picky person, and I think a lot of people can attest to that fact. I alphabetically organize my bookcase and movie collections. I have my closet and clothes organized a specific way. I clean things in a certain manner. Everything has its place. And for S, that’s not always the case. It’s perfectly natural for everyone to have different ways of doing things; however, if you have different tendencies when it comes to these small daily tasks, sometimes it can cause irritation to slowly build. There are times when I completely lose my shit just because he didn’t unload the dishwasher the right way; and then I realize that he didn’t mean to personally offend me by doing so. Just one of the many examples I can come up with in our year of living together. Eventually, it’s exhausting to argue over tedious things such as this. It doesn’t benefit anyone, and it does more harm than good. The small things are not worth losing a big thing over. Once you realize this, it’s easier to let those small things go. You learn that if you want it done your way, you can do it yourself. (And yes, I do unload the dishwasher most days 😉 ).
- Last, but not least….you will learn that it will make or break your relationship. For some, the sound of the key in the door begins to sound like nails on a chalkboard; you dread that person coming home. For some, living together highlights the ways in which you are not compatible, or makes you realize that you are better off as friends. Thankfully in our case, I am pretty certain in our choice to live together. Like any relationship, we are by no means perfect. We have our ups and downs, we fight and make up, and we work together as a team. We give one another space when needed, and spend quality time together as well. For us, I think living together was the perfect choice, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings our way 🙂
That’s a wrap! Now I’m off work, and get to go home to my man. 😉