Five months into our relationship, I moved in with my boyfriend. But it wasn’t necessarily happening because we wanted it to.
To make a long story short, the living situation I had planned fell apart on me pretty suddenly, and he offered to take me in. My only other option was uprooting everything I’d built for myself, and moving back in with my mother — over 100 miles away.
While part of me was really stoked, a much larger part of me was sizzling with anxiety. We’d only been together about a short while, his house is barely big enough for him and his cat, let alone a second human, and there is a ten-year age difference between us; I was deathly afraid that he’d be so used to living on his own that we’d clash horribly living together.
Originally, the plan was that I’d live with my boyfriend temporarily while I look for another place. After a week or two of me moving in, he suggested that I stay with him; he figured that if we’re going to take the step to live together, why live separately again. So I went from paying rent and utilities every month to helping with the mortgage and other home expenses.
There were a few things I knew would have to happen right off the bat in order to keep the peace between us. And as a result of the following tactics, we haven’t had a single problem with this living situation.
Give each other space
As much as I love being around my boyfriend, I also require a certain amount of time to myself, otherwise I’d lose it. Thankfully, he’s the same way, so we’re able to make this one work without much of a problem. The only challenge has been finding space when we’re both at home together since the house is so small; if we’re both home, having alone time means one of us is sitting on the couch and the other is at the kitchen table, about ten feet away.
So far, our work schedules have allowed us to have a really great balance of alone time and together time. There was one week, though, when our schedules were identical . I found myself starting to get stressed and irritable because I couldn’t do any of my typical me-time things, and I could tell that he was feeling the same way. Truth be told, our first relatively serious issue stemmed from us not having enough alone time. Even during those weeks when we’re working the same hours, we like to either give each other space or let the other person call the shots for the night so if alone time isn’t an option, there’s still some semblance of “me time.”
Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more
I’m not a mind-reader. I don’t easily pick up on things if people around me are starting to get annoyed or upset. Most of the time, I won’t know that a person is upset unless they say it straightforward.
I made sure my boyfriend was aware of this pretty early on to cover my bases — I didn’t want us getting into any stupid little fights because I missed something like that. Fighting isn’t fun, being angry sucks. And since we both prefer to spend as little time as possible being mad about something, we’ve agreed to bring things up when we want to talk about them, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with us. For example: When I was really stressed out about a series of things my mom did, I made sure he knew that I wasn’t stressed out about him, and having that conversation opened the door to vent about her a little bit.
Do your share
One of the things I was most anxious about when I moved into my boyfriend’s house was that he would consider me to be a bad partner or roommate if I didn’t do enough around the house. I like to think of the house maintenance as a team effort. To put it simply, I feel a need to earn my keep in whatever ways I can on top of contributing what I can financially. In addition to contributing to the monthly bills, I’ll use my days off to tidy the house and re-stock the cabinets with essentials, and my boyfriend does the same.
We’ve been living together since the end of December, and I’m glad to say that things are going really great. In the grand scheme of things, the very few issues we’ve had while cohabiting have been really minor and we worked through them without much trouble.
Do any homies have any tips for cohabiting with a significant other pretty quickly in a relationship?