Ah, love! It is a wonderful feeling. Everything is bright, new, and shiny. You and your beloved are on the same page about everything. You are so in sync and nothing will come between you. Then it happens...
The boxes are packed, the movers are paid, and you and your significant other left standing in a maze of brown cardboard and sticky tape. The air smells of fresh paint and Sharpie. Suddenly you both are envisioning the lives you will have now that you're living together.
Life After Moving in with Your Significant Other
You hear about it all the time, how difficult it is to move in with someone. Be it your best friend, a college roommate or your S/O. Sharing a life with someone else is a drastic change no matter how you look at it. I thought I was prepared for it when my fiancé and I moved in together five months ago. I thought I knew what to expect. I had roommates in college and shared a bedroom with my younger sister for 14 years. How different could this really be?
First week: My fiancé and I bought a new queen sized bed for our place. It was not until after the bed was paid for that we realized we needed sheets and a quilt for the bed. We quickly jumped on the computer and started scanning Target's web page, Peir One and Amazon for something we liked. It was all very exciting. This was our first piece of furniture we were buying together. The first item that would represent our future together.
I immediately spotted a lovely simple grey and blue set. It had a sort of pinstripe design. My thoughts were that it was clean, simple and easy to match with any other items we decided to buy in the future. My fiancé however, hated the look. He said it was plain and boring. He said it reminded him of something you would see in an old person's home.
Knowing my fiancé I wasn't completely taken back by his response. Being an artist and a creative soul I know his appreciation for fun designs and color. So we kept looking. We must have looked through a hundred pages of perfectly suitable bed sets, and spent over two hours analyzing the fabrics before I was ready to snap. I had not realized before that moment how different our taste's were. It was like we were totally different people. I am sure my fiancé felt like he was sitting beside a total stranger at that point. We were stunned that something so basic as picking out sheets could make us question how well we actually knew one another.
In the end we both took a break from scrolling through store catalogs and had a couple drinks. When we returned a few hours later we found a quilt that was perfect compromise. A grey quilt with an intricate design and a splash of color on the underneath and the trim of the quilt. Within one week living together we were reminded of the importance of compromising. If we had not both been willing to give in on what we wanted for the bed then we might still be stuck in the endless stream of colorful fabrics.
After about a month: Moving is hectic. It is plain and simple there is a lot that goes into picking up your life and relocating it. To cope with the craziness my fiancé and I were undergoing we fell into a sort of routine. He would wake up and dress for work while I made the bed (with our new sheets and quilt). Then I would drop him off at work and return home. At home I spent the day cooking, cleaning and working on my Master's Degree. At the end of the day I would pick him up from work and without so much as a word he would head up stairs to bed and wait for me to call him down to dinner. Now, this arrangement was fine for a short while. We were both in this constant state of go, go, go just trying to get everything organized. Though when we were unpacked and he was settled into his new job this routine no longer felt beneficial to the both of us. I was feeling run down and pressured to get all the housework done. It was not that I had a problem doing any of the work. It made sense for me to do it all while he was gone, but then having him come home and not say a word, just go to sleep while I still worked around the house. I felt really unappreciated.
I cooked him his favorite meal one night after a long day doing research for my big paper, and I asked him how he liked the meal. He simply shrugged and said I have had better. In that moment I lost it. I was absolutely stunned by the response. I am not trying to paint my fiancé as an ungrateful or rude person. He is the opposite of those things. But in that moment I could not believe how ungrateful he had been acting. It was then that I told him how I had been feeling about our current routine. I explained that I was hoping to receive some appreciation for the work I had been putting into all the little projects around the house.
It was as if his eyes had been opened. He did not even realize I had been feeling that way. He did not realize that he had come across in such a thoughtless manner. We talked and talked for hours, and he apologized for not being as considerate as he normally would be. Now, we have a routine that encourages us both to take notice of the work each other does. Him at his job and the tasks he helps with around the house, and me with my school work and house list.
Moving in together forced us to communicate. Of course we communicated prior to living together, but this form of communication was different. This was a tough conversation for us to have. It could have blown up into an argument, or we could have ignored it and resentment would have built up between us. Instead we learned that we are not perfect. We are only human, and if there is an issue we need to be able to tell each other about it or it will never get any better.
One month ago: My fiancé and an I love spending time together, however this means that we are ALWAYS together. This may seem like a wonderful thing until you realize that your fiancé burps an insane amount of times a day. Just like when he realizes that I wake up every morning with dried drool on my chin. Being together like this has given us the chance to learn all the new lovely things about each other that we may not have known about before.
As my future mother- in law stated, "and just like that the romance period has disappeared." When your living together you can't hide things from one another. You and your S/O are going to get to know one another on a completely new level. While learning all these gross new facts about one another might be a little unnerving it is also an incredible feeling to have someone there for you, and supporting you.
Recently my mother has been going through a tough time with her cancer treatments. One night after making dinner together, my fiancé sat at the table with me and took my hand in his. Then with a very thoughtful expression on his usually playful face he said, "Are you ok? I mean with everything going on with your mom."
At first I nodded and went on to eat my meal. But he squeezed my hand and caught my gaze once more.
"Babe, you can talk to me. I know this hasn't been easy for. I can see you aren't yourself."
It was an extremely touching moment I will never forget. Minus the brief time when we first moved in together my fiancé has always been an incredibly thoughtful man. He takes notice of the little things. He noticed before I even really came to terms with it myself that I was not ok. Over the course of the four months we had been living together he had gotten to know me on a different level, and now was able to see me. Really see me and what I was going through. Living together brought us closer than I ever imagined possible. Giving us the chance to support and care for one another in away that I did not even know I wanted.
This week: This week I have been out of town with my mother as she undergoes a new type of cancer treatment. My fiancé could not take off work to come on the trip with me. This is the first time in five months we have been apart like this. It may sound over dramatic and fanciful, but until now I forgot what it was like to be without his uplifting spirit, easy going nature, encouraging gestures. In reading my previous article about how I met my fiancé, you will find that we were in a long distance relationship up until recently. Being apart is not entirely new to us. However I forgot what it felt like. This week I have been reminded of how thankful I am to have a life with him now and share a home with him now.
Living with your S/O is not easy. Blending your tastes, habits, and lifestyles does not come naturally. It will take effort and work if it is going to last. Though there are so many beautiful moments to be shared that can only be understood when you experience it for yourself.