Getting married may be a dream for most people, even starting at a young age. We build this fairytale life in our heads, plan up a huge wedding with a princess ballgown, and create our picture-perfect mansion where we’ll have beautiful children and live happily ever after. Okay, maybe not everyone feels this way, but some of us really do! However, things aren’t nearly this effortless, nor perfect. I will say, however, that I have met my Prince Charming. It’s just that my Prince Charming and I have sort of done things, well, ass backwards, for lack of a better term. We’ve lived together for one year, not married nor engaged, just boyfriend and girlfriend going about our daily lives. As fun as that may sound, it came with many challenges. Our relationship ultimately handled the test of time and living together truly was a fun learning experience for the both of us. Upon living with each other, I’ve observed and learned many lessons about not only my boyfriend but more-so myself. Here are the six lessons I learned after living with my boyfriend for a year.
We live in a day and age where our thumbs work overtime at crafting snarky text messages back and forth with our significant other if we’re suiting up for war. Our screens are comfortable hiding spots for controversy. Living together diminishes this shield of text-message-protection. Problems need to get solved face-to-face, because how awkward is it coming home to someone you’re mad at and having to just be around them. I’ll tell you…it’s very awkward. Quite frankly, it’s something I don’t want to be doing after a long day at work. Communication is very much so key when you’re living together. If something is bothering you, speak up! Squashing the beef before it transforms into something unnecessarily bigger will help you and your significant other out in the long run.
Establishing a routine is easy when you live at home and you’re literally born into it. Adding another person into the mix can be a challenge. My boyfriend and I had to learn a consistent routine for ourselves in accordance with our work schedules. I often work nights, and my boyfriend works during the day, so our time spent together often doesn’t match up, the same goes for our attitudes and moods. Creating a consistent flow of effort while living together is crucial in remaining happy. Knowing that Tuesdays are days we hardly see each other, but Wednesdays are our nights to enjoy off together is the consistency that we understand and works for us.
A female’s living space greatly differs from a male’s living space. However, both parties can agree that some things are not to be touched. It’s not that they’re of a special importance, but sometimes we have our natural orders that liked to be maintained and followed. Respecting each other’s personal things and space is a lesson that needs to be learned quite fast when living together. An understanding of respect also goes towards the cleanliness of general areas, i.e. kitchen, living room, bathrooms, etc. If you value each other’s spaces as a place of solitude and peace, then you’ll respect each other enough to leave those areas alone, as well as the things in them.
A relationship requires a lot of empathy, whether we like to call it that or not. Your partner has a life apart from your own, so making sure you understand the difference in schedules is important. Understanding that they won’t always be home when you are due to some of their obligations is also something that requires understanding. If they had a hard day, giving them space, even when living in the same general area, is necessary. Being able to empathize with your partner is being able to put yourself into their position, and trying to understand how they’re feeling, in order to act accordingly. Knowing my boyfriend needs to be asleep much earlier than I do means having empathy for timing of dinner, or after-work-movie-watching. As much as I would like to shower right away after getting home from work, I have empathy for our schedules, knowing we only get a brief hour of time together before he heads to bed. Prioritizing that time together requires a level of understanding between the two of us, which came more naturally as time went on.
You’re sharing a space of living, for crying out loud. If toiletries are bought, they are often times shared. If you’re not one for being generous, living together will soon change that. Same goes for food. You can’t expect your favorite bag of potato chips to get untouched while living with your boyfriend. Luckily, sharing was never a problem for me and my boyfriend. If he wants the last cookie in the package, I’m more than happy to give it to him. The same way that he’ll share his contact solution with me since we’re both blind as bats.
Maintaining intimacy with each other while living together soundseasy, but it actually can be sort of difficult. Apart from having respect for the other people you live with, it’s not unusual to get annoyed or aggravated with your loved one quite often. Intimacy sometimes needs to be worked at, especially the longer you live together (if not married). Being away from each other gives you opportunities to miss each other, therefor making each moment together more special. When you see each other every day, more often than the average unmarried couple, sometimes it’s hard to create that spark or ensure that all your dates are magical. and that’s okay! Understanding that not every date will be straight out of a movie requires a lot of maturity and understanding. Putting effort towards your intimacy sometimes needs to be done, and as soon as you and your partner have a mutual understanding of what it is that you both want and need from one another, this becomes easier and easier!