12th May 2021
Shayna Sappington thought moving in with her partner would solve all their problems. She wasn’t expecting it to cause new ones…
Pre-pandemic prologue: It’s 6:30pm on Wednesday evening; you are on the train/bus home, dreaming of that cheesy pizza at the bottom of your freezer, when your phone buzzes. Your partner is inviting you to the cinema. Instantly conflicted, you contemplate exhaustion versus seeing them… the movie doesn’t start ‘til 7.30pm so you won’t make it home until at least 10pm. And you desperately need to shower…
If you’re in a long-term relationship, the idea of moving in with your partner has probably crossed your mind. With most of us in full-time jobs and either a commute or a lockdown separating you, there is little time left for serious dating.
Sadly, this is the reality of adulthood and while most have accepted this fact, it does not mean we haven’t realised the toll it’s taking on our relationships and friendships, which we feel too tired to maintain on weekdays (AKA weak-days).
This feeling, combined with the ongoing housing crisis and extortionate rent prices, is what finally fuelled my boyfriend and me to take the cohabitating plunge. We’d been together for almost four years and he was practically living at my flat anyways, so we figured why not? Little did we know everything was about to change.
It’s important to note that I had never moved in with a boyfriend before and, while I could not be happier, it is an ongoing learning process.
Our initial problems were solved: rent was cut in half and we got more time together. However, we quickly noticed habits about each other we hadn’t before.
|Messy until weekend cleaning||Cleans mess immediately|
|Laundry: flops clothes on horse||Hangs clothes on horse with care|
|Morning person||NOT a morning person|
|Enjoys evening reading time||Enjoys evening phone time|
The biggest difference was our cleaning styles. I leave a mess of things until the weekend, where I embark on my routine cleaning sesh, whereas he cleans things as he goes. I relish my post-work relaxation, so I flop clothes on the clothes horse before settling on the sofa, while he hangs clothes with care so they won’t have to be ironed later on.
After a few weeks, our polite irritation over these habits soon grew to passive-aggressive comments, like me joking about how I couldn’t do anything right (referring to him re-hanging the laundry I’d done) and him saying he almost broke his neck tripping over my shoes. Eventually, these comments evolved into actual arguments, so we decided to strike a compromise.
I could keep my mess, as long as it was on my side of the bed. And he could do our laundry so he can hang things a certain way. In the mornings, I avoid chitchat until he’s more awake and in the evenings, he scrolls on his phone while I read.
We realised that just because we are home together, does not mean we always have to do the same activities. It is okay to sit beside each other and not interact for a while; to cuddle up on the sofa while one works and the other watches TV.
These may seem like small things but these compromises made a huge difference for us.
However, the other danger is thinking you no longer have to designate time together. The key is finding a balance between alone time and date-nights, which currently is Netflix and takeaway.
These compromises seem minuscule compared to the upsides we get: more one-on-one time, regular cuddles (saves a lot on heating during winter) and constant companionship.
I love having someone who is there for me even on the toughest days. Because no matter how shit my day is, I know I get to come back home to someone who listens to my rants, comforts me when I’m sad and makes me laugh; someone who has seen me makeup-free with spot cream on, who kisses me when I have my rainbow retainer in, who has had front row seats to all my random cry sessions and mood swings and fully accepts me for who I am.
So, if you are making this next step in your relationship, make sure you are prepared. Moving in will not solve all your problems; it will even create some new ones. But it brings you so much closer together as you grow to accept each other’s quirks and to fill the gaps in each other’s lives – a necessary step in finding your life partner.
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