Living with a person is beautiful and it is hard. It is testing and it is fun. You get to see your favorite person everyday and learn everything about them. But they can be trying too; you actually have to poop in the same house. Here are some tips of the trade I have learned living with my boyfriend for 4 years:
1. First, be yourself all the time. You and him will learn so much about each other that it will be scary and beautiful. You will learn about what he does first thing in the morning and right before bed. You will learn what he acts like when he is grumpy and how he acts when he doesn’t feel like doing laundry. You will see a side of him that he has kept secret from the public. It will be honest. He will be himself, and love him for it. But be yourself too, and he will love you for it. After all, you share space so no more faking it.
2. Be patient. There are days when I want to scream because he leaves socks on the floor, right next to the laundry basket, after I have cleaned the bedroom (literally, right next to the basket). I can’t stand it. But he doesn’t understand those little quirks about me, and I don’t expect him to. But I do expect him to love me anyways, just like I love him, even when he leaves his socks on the floor. Even when I trip over his big shoes in the middle of the night, on my way to pee, when he leaves them out instead of putting them in the closet where they belong. There will be things you hate and there will be things he hates. But at the end of the night, no one is perfect and you love him. You are allowed to get mad about things like that; you’re not allowed to hold them against him. And visa versa.
3. Spend time apart. He and I hang out with each other all the time and we need a night apart to keep things from getting stale. Whether that means he hangs out in the living room watching football while I am in the bedroom painting my toes or if it means I go out to the mall alone, or go have a girl’s night. I need those times away from him. As I am sure he needs them away from me. So, take time away from him (but not at the bar with dudes. That’s just a recipe for disaster). And be okay with it.
4. Communicate about everything. Honestly. He had no idea that I was neurotic until like, year 3, when I finally sat him down and said, “Okay look, I can’t handle crumbs. I can’t handle socks. I can’t handle untidy spaces. I am neurotic and I need to control my environment.” And he said, “Oh? Okay.” And then he tried harder, and then he threw his socks on the floor. It’s a process. Revert to tip #2.
5. Invite your family and friends over. There is nothing better than sharing your joined space with people you love. You will get to see each other’s hosting dynamics and how well you do as domestic partners in party situations that are taking place at your residence.
5. Let yourself be happy that you are living with him! I know you, the miss-independent-I-don’t-need-a-man-she-man-man-hater type that can’t possibly be the girl that lives her boyfriend. But let yourself love to live with him. Even when it is annoying, I know you will love it. It’s wonderful to come home every night and be happy to see him. It does not mean you are not independent. It just means that you have found something that makes you happy, a way of life, and you deserve that.
6. On the contrary, DO NOT GIVE MORE THAN HIM. Know when it is time to go. Pay attention to your moods and your arguments. No relationship is fun when the bad times happen more than the good, and sometimes living together can bring that out in a couple. Living together is basically the next step before marriage so if you find that you two just aren’t meant to be together, and that is okay. You can hire people to move your stuff for you. Better now than after the wedding and at least you both know you gave it an honest all-out effort.
7. Call your friends all the time. Do not rant and rave at your live-in partner about him. Do that with your gal pals. They will laugh with you at the awkward moments when he walks in on you taking a poop, and they will be the first ones to tell you when you are changing for the bad and you can’t see it. He will not be able to see this part of you so don’t expect him to.
8. The most important advice I can give is have fun! Living with your boyfriend can be like living with your best friend only you get to have sex with them!