Kevin and I have been living together since October, which is only a few months, but already I’ve learned SO. MUCH. It’s a big adjustment, but it’s also super, super fun (looking back, I assumed not much would change since we spent so much time together already, but now I see why sharing a home is a huge step). Here are the 4 things I’ve learned so far on how to cohabitate with a significant other…
Communicating is as important as everyone says. It starts off every list ever on how to function in a healthy relationship, and rightfully so — communicating, really communicating, makes everything else fall into place. The thing is, I didn’t really understand the full scope of it until recently. Case in point: when we first moved in, I pulled out Kevin’s vacuum to do some cleaning. It was heavy and cumbersome and as I tried heaving it over the carpet, I jammed it into my pinky toe. In a fit, I whipped out my phone to text Kevin something cross, something along the lines of, your vacuum sucks and I hate it. Of course, everyone’s human and those texts happen, but the bigger point — the one I was actually trying to make — was that I felt frustrated about how the housework was being divvied up. Living together has required that we clearly communicate (and mature!) with one another. You really have no other choice.
Speaking of housecleaning…Pick your battles. My mom says this all the time and I think it’s so true and wise. While it’s important to clearly communicate your needs/expectations to your partner, there are also those things worth letting slide. Kevin does this thing where he puts his dirty clothes on top of the hamper instead of inside it. Is it annoying? Oh my god, yes. Is it affecting our relationship? No. I’ve learned to let it slide.
Two humans are not always going to be on the same schedule (or in the same mood). Kevin and I have flip-flopped schedules; he goes to work and is around people all day, I go into my office and have conversations with my dog. At 5:30, Kevin is ready to veg out on the couch — I’m dying to chat and be social. It’s been a forehead slap of a moment to realize that two people aren’t always going to be in sync, and more importantly, that it doesn’t equal a lack of closeness. And this is where date nights come to the rescue!! Now I understand the appeal, too; you look forward to it, you have time to get into that headspace, and despite living together and only hours before commenting on each other’s morning breath, it can feel surprisingly flirty.
What works for you as a couple is exactly that: working for you. There are about two days before every cycle where I am prickly and not very cuddly. Sharing a bed during that time is hard for me and I can actually feel my skin crawl — I want so desperately to have my own space. In the beginning, I thought sneaking into the guest room would be a betrayal, a sign of our relationship going south. And in the past, I’ve looked to other couples to see how they live their lives together. I know a couple that takes separate vacations; I also know a couple that goes grocery shopping together, every single time. As we’ve figured out our own lives together, it’s been helpful to disregard what other people do to figure out what works for us. On those two nights when I sleep alone, we’ve come to look forward to it — I get my space and Kevin gets to sprawl out. The most important thing? It works for us.
If you live with your partner, what have you learned in living together? I would really love to know.