I spent the first half of my 20s as the perpetual and only single one in my group of close gal pals.
I spent the second half with back-to-back boyfriends, and it was then that I realized there are a lot of things no one talks about when it comes to serious relationships.
I've sat through my fair share of brunches, post-work happy hours, and even hour-long phone calls with friends. We've chatted about everything from irregular periods to villains on our favorite reality shows to the latest person we had to block on our Facebook newsfeed because their posts were just TMI.
But the one thing nobody seems to come to the brunch table or the phone call ready to admit is that sometimes, taking the next step in your relationship is scary.
Hello, friends! Why were you never honest about these things? Because now it is my turn to take that next step with my boyfriend (not the marriage step, oh no — please, everyone calm down): We're moving in together, and I'm terrified.
For a while, I was nervous to admit that. Every time I asked my friends what it was like moving in with their then-boyfriend and now husband, they'd say, “Oh, I don't remember. I think it was easy!”
I even enlisted the advice of a close friend of mine who moved in with her boyfriend less than a year ago. I asked her if it was weird, hard, or different living with him, and she said, “Yes, it feels like we're roommates. What's wrong with that?”
Well, just about everything, I thought.
Right now, my boyfriend and I are practically in a New York City long distance relationship. He lives in Brooklyn and I live in Manhattan. We see each other twice a week, and if we're both feeling energetic or willing to put up with the mood swings of the subway trains, three times a week.
We miss each other in between and the best part is, in my opinion at least, we both still have our crash pads to run away to when we need space, when we need a night in our own beds, when we just want to close our door on the world and each other because we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
But all that is about to change. I'm about to sell my mattress and box spring, ditch my roommate of five years and my personal closet space to share a new apartment with my boyfriend. It's scary.
I want to make it clear that this fear of mine has nothing to do with the question of whether the guy I'm moving in with is the right guy for me. He is. He's wonderful and he puts up with every single thing that I am without ever trying to change me or judge me.
I've had this “move in with your significant other” fear on the top of my list forever. I'd ask my therapist, Linda, about what the root of this fear is, but I can't go back to her anymore. I ghosted her after my third session two months ago and I don't feel like calling her up now about this.
Though I know she'd ask me questions like, when you start to have a panic attack about moving in with him, what drives that attack?
Well, sometimes, I live to watch trashy TV shows — the kind of shows that let me sit back, turn off my brain, and stare at the TV screen as I embark on an adventure into other people's drama. When doing this, I don't want to explain myself to anyone, let alone explain what happened in seasons one to four to the person watching season five with me.
I'm most nervous about letting my boyfriend into my personal TV time and trading in Monday night Bachelor for Monday night football. He doesn't judge me for watching the endless list of shows that I like to watch (like Vanderpump Rules, Top Chef, and Younger), but I'm nervous that having someone beside me as I eye roll and scream terrible things at the TV will make the experience feel differently.
Perhaps I'll have to spend too much time explaining who Lisa Vanderpump is that I'll miss one of the hot-mess storylines of the show and have no idea who at the restaurant refuses to talk to whom.
But as much as I like my solo TV time, I love my girl time more. What makes this move hard for me is the fact that I'm leaving a roommate I've lived with for five years and have never had a fight with — to live with a guy.
I'm going to miss our girl talk. I'm going to miss venting about how a friend of mine said this to me and how my boss said that to me. I'm going to miss gossip time and reality TV show watching time and, the best part, just wasting time beside someone else on the couch while discussing all the weird things we go through as women.
Sure, we can plan to have these chats over Sunday brunches and post-work coffee meet-ups, but it won't be the same. Coming up and kicking back on the couch beside your BFF means you can spend an hour alternating on and off of being silent, raising our voices to rant, laughing, and then being silent again.
Imagine doing that in a public setting? We'd be kicked out of Starbucks in less than 20 minutes.
In a way, ditching my current roommate for my boyfriend freaks me out that my boyfriend will turn into just my roommate. I like my relationship the way it is now, and I'm scared that will change. Will living with him make our relationship feel more like we're roommates and less like we're madly in love?
What if we get too lazy to go on dates, so we succumb to take out and documentaries every single Friday night? What if farts and burps become our new love language? What if, oh gosh — what if we start sending each other passive aggressive text messages over dirty dishes and even more passive aggressive Venmo requests for money because we now decide to split every single thing 50/50?
If our relationship miraculously stays the same and we don't become two bodies living in one tiny apartment, does that mean we'll get married next year?
Nothing makes me cringe more than hearing people say, “Oh, wow! You're taking the next step with your boyfriend.” I don't like this idea of next steps and I certainly start to panic a little when I hear people say that after my boyfriend and I move in together, then we'll get married.
I'm not looking to live life on a timeline; I'm looking, simply, to just live life.
I wonder if my married friends were trying to hide something from me. Were they too scared about moving in with their significant others? Did they learn to share their TV time and give up half their closet space? Will I learn those things, too?
Only time will tell.