As I angrily packed away the bath products my partner had left lying around on the vanity, I sighed in defeat. I could easily get into another argument with them about where things were supposed to go but that wasn't the real problem. Sometimes, fighting with your partner means more than you realize. Because this was a fight we had often, I knew what really bothered me was the feeling that I had lost my personal space when we moved in together, not wherever they left the toothpaste that morning.
I wasn't about to bring up the real issue, though. It was too heavy a discussion and I worried that I wouldn't be able to explain to my partner how I felt without hurting their feelings. We kept on having tiny fights like this for months about which chores were whose responsibility, which pieces of wall decor should go where, and even what brand of cleaning products we should buy. Inevitably, we broke up for unrelated reasons but I was relieved to regain some control over my living space and essentially, my life.
I know now that living with a romantic partner might not be the best move for me and that if I do try it again in the future, I should probably be way more honest about my need to maintain some semblance of personal space.