Most long term relationships start the same way: you find someone you're attracted to and get along with. You start a whirlwind romance with him or her until you're both madly in love. If you're really serious about the relationship, one of you may eventually bring up the idea of moving in together.
Maybe you've already spent so much time at each other's apartments that you think combining them will be a breeze. Maybe you see a future with them and are just eager to take the next step.
Either way, when you agree to share your home, you get excited about your future together. You think, “I already want to be around this person all the time and now it'll be like having a sleepover with my best friend every night!” or “This is great, it'll be just like having a roommate but with half the drama and twice the sex!”
And that is where you're wrong.
In our case, there was a honeymoon period, but it was very short. When we were done with the stress of finding a new place and figuring out the logistics of moving our belongings to a new location, we were relieved to be finished with everything and starting our new life together. Reality slapped us in the face the morning after our first night in the new place.
Before we lived together, we were both always on our best behavior when we were in separate apartments. Once we stopped acting like guests in each other's homes, I quickly realized I didn't know my boyfriend as well as I thought I did.
Once we were sharing the same living space, we both wanted to be comfortable in our own home. The quirks came out with a vengeance and I soon noticed how differently we lived.
I found that the person I loved more than anything had an inexplicable, deep-seated inability to close kitchen cabinets or clean as he cooked. He said it was because he liked to do all the cleaning all in one go.
I tried dropping hints about how I wanted him to change, but nothing happened.
We got into petty arguments, which only got worse because we were constantly together. It was often a struggle to get the alone time I needed to recharge.
As time went on, my boyfriend went from being someone I thought I couldn't live without to a person who constantly got on my nerves. I started to see why some old married couples bicker constantly. My previously perfect relationship had morphed into something that was unrecognizable to me.
Dealing with these changes felt like an identity crisis at times.
Eventually, I found the best way to get through it was to keep communication open and try to understand situations from his perspective as well.
I realized my clothes taking over our shared closet space was just as annoying to him as his laundry practices were to me. I also realized that bits of my hair being all over the apartment was unpleasant to me.
In the end, I had to learn to live with his quirks and accept that my kitchen cabinets would always be ajar, because choosing my battles wisely meant that life wouldn't constantly be a struggle.
The truth is, virtually all couples have to deal with these struggles, no matter how long they've been together or how well they got along before they moved in together. Living with another person is not easy.
But in the end, you'll realize you learned things about your partner you never would have known otherwise.
You'll find out how he got every scar on his body and listen to the way his breathing changes as he drifts off to sleep. You'll know what he's thinking when he makes certain facial expressions, even if he denies his feelings when you call attention to them. You'll pick out the little ways he shows his love for you, even when you're in the middle of a fight.
And at the end of the day, you'll look over at him lying next to you in bed and realize you know and love this person on a deeper level than you ever could have imagined before you moved in together. And you'll welcome the change.