8 Shocking Things I Discovered After Moving In With My Significant Other
There are couples who spend years together, but doing long distance for a few months pulls them apart, and they can’t handle it.
There are couples who spend years apart and when they finally come together, the physical relationship isn’t what they thought.
When my girlfriend and I decided to live together, my first emotion was fear. What if we grew exhausted of each other?
What if my mess made her irritated? What if she hogged the covers or woke up because of my snoring?
Here are some things I wish someone told me about living with your significant other:
You will barely be with her.
I, naively, thought we would spent tons of time together: picnics, walks, exploring, sight seeing and mini-road trips. Clearly, I didn’t think that part through.
We both work full-time. She works about 11 hours a day. My commute alone is about an hour and a half. What does this all mean?
We are exhausted and tired, all the time. This doesn’t leave a lot of energy for picnics, walks and exploring.
You will be on a schedule and committed to it more than to your partner.
We are consistent and faithful to our routine.
She wakes up at 5:45 and gets ready. I wake up when she kisses me goodbye. I get ready and head off to work.
I get back home at around 6:30, go straight to our room and pick up the mess we make getting ready in the morning.
Then I go to the kitchen to figure out what’s for dinner. She gets home around 7:30 and dinner is ready. We eat in our room, I hear all about her students and she hears about whatever I did that day.
I shower while she checks lesson plans (yep, she still works, even when she’s home), by 10:00 pm we’re in bed in pjs, both on our laptops or our phones, wrapping all our work up for the night.
At 10:45 we get in a solid five minutes of “I love yous” and then, on really lucky days, we’re knocked out at 11:00.
We wake up the next morning and do it all over again.
With these schedules, it's hard to not become robotic or distant. The strictness of the schedule just fosters it.
Develop little things that will help you and your partner. We have a strict no phones/laptops/TV during dinner time policy, which helps us pay full attention to the other's stories and feel more connected.
You need a grocery list
I know this might sound ridiculous and maybe it’s only us, but I cannot stress this enough.
You and your partner probably have very different eating habits, and therefore very different grocery shopping habits.
I, for example, am a vegetarian.
Geo is not.
I do not snack.
Geo only snacks.
I do not understand why someone needs three different kinds of popcorn.
Geo doesn’t understand how I don’t understand.
There is a lot of compromising when it comes to groceries, more than I think people realize. More than I realized for sure.
Be prepared; have a detailed list of what you are going to get, and what you plan on making throughout the week. Go in flexible and ready to negotiate.
“You can get the cookies if we leave one of the popcorns.”
“Fine! But that kale is way too big.”
Groceries will also serve as a symbol that you and your partner are not identical, and you won’t always agree on everything; compromise and flexibility is key.
Get away from your partner. It is totally okay and necessary. Geo does puzzles and I sit in coffee shops and write (like I’m doing now).
I go for walks around the lake and she naps. Do whatever you love to do, by yourself. Take the time to think about yourself, take care of yourself and focus on just you.
It will make you a better partner. Plus, if you’re not happy, you can’t possibly make anyone around you happy.
You will learn a lot about yourself.
One thing I definitely didn’t think would happen is that I’d learn about myself. I hate messiness way more than I thought.
Maybe it’s because our room is tiny, or because Geo leaves her boots in the middle of the floor, but it gets me so irritated.
I also learned I am not the housewife type. I do the cooking since I get home earlier, and every time she asks, “Whats for dinner?,” I promise you, my skin crawls a little.
But we can’t eat out every day, and she gets home way too late to cook herself. So, I suck it up and cook. She irons my clothes for work to even things out.
You will learn A LOT about your partner
We do not have a communication problem, and considering all we did the first 10 months was talk, we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well.
We used to pride ourselves on how well we knew each other, but we were wrong.
I now have realized, the same way you never stop growing and changing as a person, your partner will always be learning something new about you.
Here are a few things I never pictured would come up, living as a lesbian couple:
You will not know what belongs to who. Folding and putting away our clothes is a nightmare.
“These are your socks. That’s my underwear. This is my tank top, no it’s yours”
Everything you need is doubled. Twice the shampoo, face wash and tampons. I swear in the span of a week, I went to CVS four times to buy tampons. How many vaginas do we have?
Thankfully, neither of us are too high maintenance because figuring out whose foundation is whose would also be a hassle.
On a more serious note, when you're living apart, the gay thing doesn’t come up a lot.
Yeah, we discuss it, how it affects our lives in school/work and our relationship with our parents, but we never thought about us, and how that aspect of our identity intertwines with our relationship.
Here, living together, it comes up a lot.
Although we live in one of the most liberal states, in one of the most progressive cities, in one of the most “gay friendly” neighborhoods, the fear and paranoia that comes with being gay never leaves you.
Holding hands is scary and rarely happens for us, even sitting too close is something we have to consider.
We’re probably safer here than we would be in almost any other part of this country, but that uneasiness never leaves you.
The fear that someone might say something, look at you a certain way or move their kids away is sad and definitely puts into perspective the privilege of something as simple as holding your partner’s hand in public, and not thinking twice about it.
When we’re asked how we know each other, we quickly have to examine the person and the situation, measuring how safe we are.
If we’re with people our age, we’re more likely to say, “She’s my girlfriend.” If we’re in an Uber or on the T, we’re more likely to say we’re friends or sisters.
We both pride ourselves in being social change agents, on being comfortable in the uncomfortable that is talking about certain issues. But with this, we just can’t. We’re working on it.
We applaud interracial couples, same-sex couples or any couple society might deem unacceptable for their kind of love, who happily and beautifully hold hands and show affection in public.
But the danger and bravery it takes to do that is never lost on us.
So until we can be brave like them, we will watch in admiration.
You will fall, somehow, more in love
Somewhere in between the excessive snacking and boots placement, you will fall more in love with your partner. You will see parts of him or her you had only ever heard about.
You will witness how all the stories she has told you about her life manifests itself in her everyday being. You will learn new things about her every day that will hold onto you, as you hope she never lets go.