Wifeys & Gentlemen,
I want to start by saying a huge congratulations to my LGBTQA brothers and sisters for the awesome victory in marriage equality today.
Moments like this are the reason why I keep writing this little blog. Because of the true, long standing beliefs I have always hand about the power and awesomeness of such an incredible and worthwhile journey of love and life; marriage.
For those who have followed me for a while, I try to be as inclusive as possible when writing these posts, and now I can say with excitement and confidence that there is no more TRY! Everyone is the same in the eyes of the law, and it means the world to me to be able to write from a place of total inclusion and not from one of wishful thinking or “maybe one day” hopes.
With that being said, let’s all chat about what some consider to be an important and interesting prelude to taking the marriage plunge; cohabitation!
Did you guys take the quiz? I did! & I tried to answer and honestly and seriously as possible. You can imagine my relief when the results said that my boyfriend and I would be great roommates…considering we’ve already been living together for over 3 months and, you know, because I kind of like him.
When thinking about writing this blog, I was torn about how I wanted to approach it. Did I want to speak candidly about the hardships, fears, and pitfalls? Did I want to focus only on readiness and preparation? Did I want to shoot for the moon and try to fit everything possible into this one post?
Yes to all of the above.
As usual, forgive the length, but I wanted to try to provide as many impressions of this step as possible in order to help my wifeys make the best and most informed decisions possible. Please remember, I am no expert (yet) and my thoughts and opinions are only supported by both personal experience and as much research as I can get my hands on. So while this cannot be your only guide, let it start the conversation. Let it serve as a reference when you start having doubts or just need a fun, light hearted memo to take your mind off of the weight of your decisions.
Alright, let’s do this thing!
Are You Ready?
As indicated by the quiz that I posted last week, deciding to move in with someone can be a daunting prospect. Much like many of the milestones we achieve in life, no one is ever 100% ready to move forward and take the next step. A lot of it is about faith in yourself and faith in each other that the love and affection you share will prevail over any hardships that are encountered. Even if you and your partner are fighting all the time lately, this isn’t exactly a deal breaker. It’s how you handle the fights when they come that matters most. It’s knowing that no matter how much you fight, you are still happy to claim this person as your own. Readiness means different things for different people. Have you guys spent extended time together before? Travelled together? Shared expenses of any kind? Reflect, together, on these indicators to measure your respective temperaments when it comes to how you are as a roommate and how you envision yourselves sharing and taking responsibility for a common space. A lack of experience in these departments does NOT spell disaster, so don’t’ worry. It simply means that both of you will need to be extra attentive and communicative about your lifestyles and openly discuss the things you want and do not want in a live-in-partner.
Additionally, it never hurts to get a second opinion if you’re stuck. Asking for help is a sign of a responsible couple. While my boyfriend and I aren’t much for constant fighting or “bad” behavior, the prospect of living together still made us nervous. Despite us spending lots of time together, traveling well together, and sharing the expenses of a pet, it was extremely helpful to know that friends and family were excited to see us making changes in our relationship. Those affirmations and positive offerings of advice indicated to us that maybe we were doing the right thing. We were still nervous, but it made us feel better! Our excitement outweighed the butterflies.
Also, as you all know, I’m a huge fan of lists! Make a list of everything you’re scared of and everything you’re excited about before moving in and talk it over with your partner. I promise, if your relationship is good, those good things will outweigh the fear and you can commit to working through the trails together.
So What Are The Perks?
Once you and you main squeeze decide to make it official and move in together, you’ll notice a lot of interesting perks. Some of them are obvious and a few are more subtle. But yes, there are definitely perks!
From a financial perspective, if you’ve done it right, moving should save you money. There are instances where this might not be true (coming from a situation where you didn’t previously pay rent, for example), but on the whole, living with someone provides the chance to cut expenses in half and begin to make room/plans for your future. Maybe you and your lady friend really want a car? Living together can help put you on track to save the money to buy one. Many newly engaged couples also find that living together (if they hadn’t previously) can help them put more money aside for their wedding or allow them to save for a down payment on a house.
Moreover, there is the literal perk of always having someone there; to help, to comfort, and to be your friend. Just watched a scary movie and don’t want to go to sleep alone? Great! You don’t have to! Hate having to carry all those grocery bags inside the house by yourself? Great! You don’t have to! Did that jerk from your office do something totally out of line AGAIN and you need a shoulder to cry on? Great! His strong, broad shoulders are waiting for you at home. Want to play a game of trivia and need a partner? She’s sitting right there, ready to play!
The practical and emotional perks are endless and unique to each couple. Discovering new things about the person you love is a dynamic and ever changing adventure with no real end (yay!).
Overtime, you’ll find habits and routines that you don’t even realize are working in your favor. You do things for each other that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do. & most importantly, you are there to watch out for each other. There is someone there to be accountable to and accountable for.
Sigh: The Drawbacks
I don’t like to live in the negative so I am going to try to keep this brief. With everything good, there is always a little bit of bad to balance it out, and vice-versa. Primairly, the major drawback of deciding to live with your significant other is based on how well you handle/accept this one fundamental and inescapable fact:
YOU WILL FIGHT.
It sucks. But the sooner you accept it and make peace with how to handle conflict, the better and more pleasant your household will become. If you are a couple who is used to fighting, you will STILL be surprised by how much this increases. If you’re a couple who does not fight at all, prepare for what will feel like a firestorm of miscommunication, bad moods, attitudes, and hurt feelings.
Sounds bad, right?
Meh. It’s not the best part about living with someone else, but simple science can comfort us by making us aware of how inevitable this principle truly is. Think about it; you’re around each other 7 days a week for many hours a day. During that time, you experience bad moods, bad days, personal challenges, drama with other people/friends/family, and all other common life factors that change the way you handle yourself and your interactions with the people you love.
Remember: You are exposed to all of the quirks, habits, smells, schedules, and routines of someone else. Even the most compatible people are bound to clash on ideals sometimes. Not to mention, women get PMS and men have daily surges and drops in testosterone that have a profound effect on attitude. You’ll yell and scream, sometimes for no reason.
It’s normal. Instead of focusing on how to avoid fighting, welcome it. Learn how to have a constructive fight and then make the commitment to learn from each other. (& if you need help, there’s another blog about that…just saying).
Once you and your boo-thang are able to get over the “hump” of dealing with arguments, you can move on to other inconveniences like; snoring, messy habits, sharing a room/making more space for each other’s crap, what shows you’ll watch on which nights, noise levels when trying to sleep/study, cooking/chores, and getting the alone time you want/need.
If you’re anything like me, these drawbacks seem minimal at best. However, wifeys, please remember that it is okay to be scared. It’s okay to hesitate, and it’s okay to be unsure. Defining moments are rarely achieved successfully without some level of fear. It’s what motivates us and keeps us honest.
Down the line, I will have more specific comments about this topic that narrow down some of the pitfalls of living with your significant other and how they can be handled/overcome. Today, however, I’d like to end this post on a happy/funny note. I asked a handful of people to answer three questions about living together.
Enjoy the answers and…
Until Next Week,
Carry on Wifeys!
What is/was the best part about living with (insert partners name here) from a practical standpoint?
Person 1 – the best part of living with him, practically, is the muscle! You have no idea how hard it is to have to make two trips back and forth to bring the groceries in! He does that…all in one trip! He helps me lift heavy things and reach for things I can’t. He drives the UHAUL and brings in the new furniture…& then he builds it too! He takes out the garbage. & he could totally pick me up…if I let him. It’s nice. I am a sucker for a mans man and he is one in that sense.
Person 2 – from a practical standpoint, the cost of living was cut in half. We cooked for ourselves so we alternated buying food. Cleaning was mainly me but he kept his crap in his closet for the most part. He took out the trash and that was the main thing I wanted because I don’t do trash. Since we were both athletes we shared gym bags, I was a tomboy so I wore his basketball clothes. We had turtles together so we shared the responsibilities of taking care of them. It was nice to have a backup person that would cover you. Like a spotter when you’re lifting. Not to mention I could walk around naked, sleep naked and have sex whenever I wanted.
Person 3 – From a practical perspective, the best thing about living with her is being able to plan and discuss our lives without distance. From grocery lists to road trips to our future plans together, it’s a relief to be able to discuss, debate, and decide. Living together helps us build a foundation together with limited distractions. It also helps us better understand each other’s quirks, likes, dislikes, and habits.
Person 4 – The best thing about living with him was he was home to help with our son. And it was his obligation because he was the other parent. Although he didn’t do it all the time, when I asked he would. And it helped when I would get home and he had him ready to go, or ready for bed. Like it said it didn’t happen all the time, but when it did it was nice.
Person 5 – he was cleaner than me, which at times wasn’t very fun and was the cause of many fights, but he cleaned and I enjoyed that.
Person 6 – (see question 2)
What is/was the best part about living with (insert partner’s name here) from an emotional standpoint?
Person 1 – he comforts me in a way that I did not know was possible. I feel balanced and steady when he’s around, and I have felt that way since long before we lived together. Now that I have him all the time, it’s a constantly feeling of safety and assurance. I know he has my back no matter what and I get to feel it and see it every day. He loves me and supports who I am and what I want to be. I never get tired of that. Never will.
Person 2– emotional benefits: we both were athletes so we understood the pressures and lifestyle we were dealing with. It was also nice to come home to someone you loved. On days that I didn’t have a good practice or game it was awesome to come home to him because he knew how to cheer me up and he wasn’t even trying. And he wouldn’t do it to make me happy, but so I wasn’t as sad. Most of the time he would hug me and be goofy to put a smile on my face. He was only person that knew how to get me out of my funk. He was also the first person to break through my walls. He supported me through some family drama and I give him the credit for the good that came from that. He was able to be honest with me but his delivery was in a way I could be receptive.
Person 3 – From an emotional perspective, the best part of living with her is feeling supported and loved. Every day I am reminded of how much I love her and how she loves me. Whether it be a great meal, a hug, a joke, or even an argument, the time, the effort, and the sincerity are felt.
Person 4 – from an emotional standpoint…..um I guess just someone being there. Someone to sleep with. If there was one thing I liked about us it’s that we could cuddle. It was nice and comfortable, not like an awkward cuddle where you want to get out of it
Person 5 – there is something to be said for sleeping next to the same person every night. It makes you feel loved, even when you aren’t getting along. It’s one of the best thing that was “ours”. That sounds cheesy, but, I liked it. I like sleepovers.
Person 6 – the best part from an emotional perspective, is knowing that there will be someone there for you every day at the end of the day. Someone who has spent their day thinking about returning home to the place they share with you. You share the same dreams, you share the same bed, you even eat all the same food. It’s different from living with your biological family and even with other roommates. You become co-conspirators in the affairs of both sets of friends, you get to see someone at their best, their worst, and at their blah. When you’re together you finally feel like it’s home.
What is/was the worst thing about living with your significant other?
Person 1 – He gets the nasty end of my bad moods and he gets to see how gross I can be. I still get embarrassed by certain things and pray he doesn’t notice them.
Person 2 – Worst part: so our situation was different because we were in a small space and we didn’t have much space for ourselves. As we got more comfortable living with each other he got messier and it drove me crazy. When we would fight there was nowhere to go because we didn’t discuss the detail of our relationship (mainly the negative) with other people. We didn’t have the space to be mad without people trying to be involved in the fight so we kept to ourselves but that also drove us crazy. I go back and forth if living together was a good or bad thing, but as I look back on it I thought it was good. We learned a lot about each other and ourselves. We were pretty young too so that also adds a maturity factor.
Person 3 – Worst thing about living with someone else is the feeling of vulnerability. Everything from a common cold to likes/dislikes are exposed for another person to experience, process, and judge.
Person 4 – worst thing: He wouldn’t do shit until I got home. He would fart all the time too and I hated that…they were like awful farts. I could go on about the worst things…bad question.
Person 5 – Just one? Fighting. It’s exhausting to fight and not be able to do anything about it. Just try not to let it be the only thing you’re doing with your man and you should be fine.
Person 6- the worst part is that everything you do is under scrutiny. Why didn’t you take out the trash? Why didn’t clean this thing or that thing? Why did you say that thoughtless or inconsiderate comment? Sometimes you have to constantly be on your toes or risk the chance of bringing down the ire of your S/O like Thor’s hammer, on your soul. This is all based on bad relationship data however. I’ve always picked people poorly and with a high amount of lust in my…well we’ll go with heart. 😉 But there is a silver lining from those failed co-habitation events. You learn who you want in your life and what you expect in a living situation. So though it’s terrible while you’re going through it, it brings out a better future version of yourself (if you allow yourself to learn from it).