My boyfriend and I recently celebrated our first month of living together, which still seems such a crazy concept after months of long distance where all we did was hope that someday we would get to wake up next to each other. I know one month is laughable to those of you in long term committed relationships, though (to me) this is a big first step. We have learned so much about not only one another, but about our relationship and it’s like we are watching it grow before our very eyes.
I admit, I thought living together was going to be the same as last spring and summer when we stayed at one another’s places six times a week. It seemed logical that our experiences then would simply transfer over and there would, essentially, not be much of a difference. How naïve I can sometimes be.
I’m still figuring out how to be in a real partnership, which honestly does not come easy to me. There’s a mysterious balance between being my own individual and being part of a loving partnership that takes trial-and-error and, well, time. It is very much a learning process and I’m only beginning to understand what some of the lessons of living with a significant other are. So here goes: I’ve outlined six that I feel are ever-present in my own relationship after moving in together.
1. Accept it’s all team effort.
It is no longer important whose chores are whose or which of you took care of this and that last. If one of you is running late to get out the door, then the other helps get that one out quicker with keys, coffee to-go, packed bag, jacket—whatever is necessary that saves them thirty precise seconds. Cleaning is completed twice as fast when both of you set to the task and it should never be an argument about who’s supposed to walk the dog.
Like it or not, you are no longer living by yourself, for yourself. Embrace it, because it is the little day-to-day things you do for one another that make all the difference in a happier home environment.
2. Find a balance between going to bed together and one staying up later.
I believe it truly is valuable in a relationship to fall asleep together after a good cuddle session and pillow talk; however, there is nothing wrong with staying up later to do your own thing (reading, working, finishing a movie, whatever it may be) when your partner is tired and ready to go to bed.
It is a little strange getting used to this, especially because I am almost always the one who stays up since that’s the only time I’m able to do what I love—blog. It’s all about establishing a balance (and kissing the other goodnight, no matter what!).
3. Establish a daily time where you are both whole heartedly present with one another.
When this daily time may be entirely depends on the two of your schedules, yet make it part of your everyday routine to set aside even just ten minutes. Ten minutes where you both have one another’s absolute full attention and feel free to talk about anything and everything, listen intently, or laugh without a care. Perhaps you go on evening walks together, or take your morning showers together, or sit on the porch drinking coffee together, or curl up on the couch every night together. No electronics, nobody else, no other tasks.
Make it happen every single day—it becomes that little joyful highlight in the midst of your individual busy schedules, and you always know you have that time together without any distractions each day.
4. Understand how to best support the other when they’re feeling off.
Let’s face it, there are going to be off days even in the best of times. One of you brings the stress of work home, there’s a subconscious emotion tugging at who knows what, someone is mentally exhausted or drained… whatever the reason, it is going to happen. Instead of having the opportunity to say, “I’ll see you when you’re feeling better,” you’re stuck with this person under the same roof you both call home. It isn’t about dealing with them or handling them, because that is inches away from tolerance.
Figure out how best to support your partner during these times (and learn from your mistakes). If they need to be left alone, leave them alone. If they need to vent for an hour, sorry but listening is part of being in a relationship. If they need to be sat down in front of a good movie with a large alcoholic beverage in hand, start pouring. You get the best. Understand what they need in these moments, so they are able to feel better and you are also able to positively move forward with your evening.
5. You don’t have to do everything together.
(When you’re not working, obviously). As you first move in with each other, you’re so excited because you finally have the opportunity to spend every possible moment together. For me, after two weeks we started to realize just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Yes, I stick by the idea of having that fully attentive time together each day, and yes, we cherish our time together. However, it’s okay for me to work on my stuff in my nook while he hangs out in the living room from time to time. It’s okay for one of us to stay behind while the other goes on a quick grocery run. It’s okay for one of us to eat when the other isn’t hungry. And so on and so forth.
This is, like I’ve mentioned, a partnership, yet we are still two individuals who are capable of exploring our own interests and needing quality alone time. And the fact I like to listen to Harry Potter audiobooks when I run errands by myself has nothing to do with any of this.
6. Remember to be silly with each other.
We get so caught up in the hecticness of our jobs, priorities, responsibilities, and at-hand tasks that we forget how to have fun with the little things in life. Spontaneously break out in dance while you’re cooking dinner, create a surprise for the other, continue sharing inside jokes… whatever makes you both laugh and feel silly, go for it. Never let that spark fade simply because the serious things in life get in the way.
Enjoy each other’s company with goofiness and freeness built on top of the comfort and love. Who cares if you look like an idiot attempting Miley Cyrus’s twerk? Or sing your favorite ballad song completely off tune? Or rip a loud and smelly one? Or prank the other when they least expect it? Be your silly self here and there, your significant other will love you for it (because that’s probably one of the reasons they fell in love with you in the first place).
I love my boyfriend and I am excited for our future as we learn more about one another and our future. It’s definitely different living with your significant other, yet I wouldn’t change it for the world. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned after moving in with a significant other? How have you adapted to the change and grown as a couple?
Oh, and be prepared for more posts like this… because I’m hardly scratching the surface here.