Sometimes, starting an argument is really not worth it, guys.
It took me the better part of six months to realize this, but I'm at least starting to understand what goes into making a happy home, er, content one-bedroom apartment.
Last October, I made one of the biggest changes of my life when I decided to move in with my girlfriend. My family was supportive, as were my friends, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous as hell when the day actually came.
Unlike other dudes who move in with their significant others, I had never lived on my own outside of the four years I attended college in Boston. And I never had roommates other than the ones who brought me into this world.
Initially, it was far from the paradise I think we both envisioned. However, half a year in, I think we're finally starting to get it.
A big reason for that is what I learned not to fight about with my girl.
1. What to watch on television
I never knew what Bravo was until I moved in with my girlfriend. Now, I can rattle off the roster of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" with ease. At first, I did everything in my power to not watch these shows, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was far more beneficial to concede the television on a random weeknight than during the Stanley Cup playoffs or the World Series.
Relationships are all about compromise, and that definitely extends to living room viewing choices.
2. What to order from Seamless
If you don't live with your significant other, you may be sitting there thinking, "I'd never order food from a place I'm just not into." Let me tell you, if it means your girlfriend's happiness and the sanctity of your evening, you're going to find something you like on the menu.
I'm not trying to make myself out to be a martyr by any means, but when you learn to adapt to not always getting what you want, I think it actually makes you a better person.
3. What to cook for dinner
This point of contention starts on Sunday mornings when we make a list for the grocery store. When I was living with my parents, I was used to eating robust pasta dishes and a different, multi-course meal every night of the week. Hey, my mom is an unbelievable cook.
Obviously, that's not happening when we're buying groceries with our own money and my girlfriend and I both have full-time jobs. The point of this isn't to say my girl isn't a great cook in her own right, but she wants to eat healthfully during the week. And while I consider myself to be a pretty health-conscience person, sometimes I want to shovel a big ol' plate of pasta in my mouth at the end of a long Tuesday.
Not forcing the issue is important, though. Our partners need us to help them. If I wanted to, I obviously could get myself some pasta, but that's not the point. We're making a healthy effort together, and I've definitely lost some weight in the process.
4. What color pillows to buy
Let's be honest, guys: You don't give a sh*t what color the pillows are in the living room and the bedroom. As long as they're not made of expensive silks from the Middle East or something, there's no way I'm reining my girlfriend in when it comes to decorating.
You have to understand some women really love this. You have to be supportive and give your girlfriend full autonomy. Plus, this is one of those bargaining chips you can keep in your pocket for when you want to watch a full day of sports on a Sunday.
5. When "we'll" clean the apartment
I learned the hard way if I take the initiative and do something -- empty the dishwasher, vacuum, Swiffer the floors -- then my girlfriend will more than do her part. The key here is to be proactive and make a plan rather than just say, "Can't you just do it?" That will get you nowhere, fast. Trust me.
Also, pick up on the subtle hints. If she says "the apartment is filthy," just grab the vacuum and get some work done to keep the peace.
6. Closet space
This is a no-brainer. I learned fairly quickly after I moved in with my girlfriend I'm only going to get about a third of the closet space. Don't fight this, there is no victory in sight. And, really, isn't this how it should be?
7. Folding the laundry
For me, it's a pet peeve when the laundry is done but doesn't get folded and put away. Instead of arguing with my girlfriend because the majority of the items in the wash are hers, I just fold the damn laundry and put it away.
In the end, I've realized it really isn't that big of a deal.
8. Things you know mean way more to her than they do to you
Overall, it's about not fighting over things that don't really mean much to you in the first place. I love my sports teams, and I'm going to watch them when they're on. But on a random Wednesday night, I'm not going to fight to watch a Mets game in May.
I love my girlfriend and, honestly, her happiness is more important than mine. When you live with your significant other, you quickly learn if one of you isn't happy, neither of you is happy.
Being right isn't what's important, being happy is.