Single-living vs. couple-living: one woman's pros and cons #Relationships#living alone#moving in together April 2 2014 | Guest post by Meghan Hartley I've been single for the bulk of my adult life. I like to date guys who are like me, and I'm apparently kinda weird because I don't meet them too often… and when I do it's rare that I also want the sexy fun times with them. Why must you be so picky, hoo-ha? C'est la vie, I'm quite satisfied with the single life. (Besides sexually, obviously.) Though I've really loved loving and living with my menfolk, too. They are very, very different lifestyles. I've been having a funny feeling that I'm going to meet someone soon, and it's leading me to wonder if I even really want to. I've been contemplating single versus couple life a lot lately… Food As a single you get to buy whatever you want without considering anyone else's desires or judgments, and that's friggin' awesome. I had potato salad and a smoothie spritzer last night and it was delicious — I highly doubt my boyfriend would agree to that dinner. My lettuce always goes bad. I know, I know, maybe eat more salad that doesn't involve potatoes and mayo. But even when I eat super healthy-like, I still can't get through it in time! How many salads can a person eat? Don't even get me started on those amazing Trader Joe's avocado bags that are somehow only like four bucks for six lil' avocados that I can't possibly consume in a few days. Food isn't sold to feed one lady before it goes bad, it's sold to feed groups of people. When I cook something wildly impressive there's not usually anyone there to tell me how good it is. When I cook something wildly impressive the leftovers are ALL MINE. Related Post Peacefully integrating my partner into my house I had three years to settle into My Way before my then-fiance moved into my house. And we learned I'm not very good at sharing... Read more Points for couple-living I Facebook way too often I miss having a witness to all of the inane but entertaining things that happen every day. Do the people I went to high school with and old co-workers really care that there was a spider in my room but I lost it? Surprisingly, yes. That is a very universal fear. But still, I post way too much shit like that on Facebook because there's no one there experiencing it with me. Must connect with someone about the scary spider! Points for couple-living I have complete control over Netflix and Hulu Tired of a movie ten minutes into it? Veto'd. Want to watch two hours of Friday Night Lights? Totally doing it. The Game Changers documentary on Anna Wintour? Devoured. Millionth viewing of "I AM"? Done. Someone there to veg with? Nards. Points for single-living. I really like my alone time: I need it to recharge I'm one of those people who respond to invites with, "I have plans, sorry," when the plans are just chillin' around the house with no one there. I really LOVE it. No matter how much I loved my exes, I felt kinda drained always hanging out with someone. Yet at the same time we had so much fun I had a hard time not always hanging out with them. Points for single-living. Freeeeeeeedom! I can do whatever I want whenever I want to do it without checking in with anyone. Points for single-living. Bed (Besides the aforementioned sex part, that's clearly better in couple life.) No one fucks up my top sheet! Why do people do that? I don't get it. It's soft, and I don't have to wash my comforter nearly as often. According to my flings in my early twenties, it would seem that ALL dudes do this. Just stop it. Respect the top sheet. Points for single-living. Cuddling So comfy and glorious. I love it so much. Being a little spoon is quite possible the safest, coziest, most bestest thing in the entire world. Points for couple-living Snoring I actually love this too. I can't explain it. I find it very comforting. Points for couple-living Winner Fuck it. Bring him on. Fewer dirty dishes? No one to help walk the dogs? Full control of the remote? What are your pros and cons of single vs couple-living? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Meghan Hartley Meg Hartley has written for Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal, Life Hack and Teen Vogue, among others. Her new book is called How I Lost All My F-cks, a one-month experience that will have you losing all yours! PREVIOUS Build these colorful LEGO-like garden boxes NEXT Chocolate dipped nasturtiums Show/Hide comments [ 127 ] OMG THE TOP SHEET. I had to insist that we even USE a top sheet when we finally got a house together, and he messes it up all the time. 🙁 And I'm not sure sure I'd say I enjoy the snoring. But, besides having someone to share every detail of my life with (whether that's something he actually wants me to do or not…), my favorite pro of living together is having someone to take care of me and do the chores when I'm sick. Reply I DON'T GET THE TOP SHEET THING!!! How does the tangled mess of sheets at his feet not drive that guy I married crazy!? It drives ME crazy, and it's not even happing on my side. [Deep breath] I'm okay… Reply RIGHT?! Silly bastards. Reply In my last relationship, the sound of me yelling "HOW ARE YOU SO BAD AT BLANKETS?!" was an almost nightly occurrence. Reply I have most definitely used that exact phrase a few times. Reply "THIS IS ALL WRONG!" tends to be what I shout as I rip all the blankets off the bed, straighten them, and lay them back down with their top hems aligned. Usually over the loud protest of "What are you doing it's cold!" from the other bed inhabitant. I am with two different men. This happens with BOTH of them! Reply YES! I thought I was alone, thank you OBHL for giving us top sheet lovers a voice! And also, I might start using that "HOW ARE YOU SO BAD AT BLANKETS" thing 😉 Reply Best thing I ever did for my marriage: ditched the top sheet and got TWO duvets, both with covers. When we make the bed (ha! let's be real: it only happens when people come over and even then, not always) we fold up one duvet at the foot of the bed or put it in the closet. Each night we sleep in the same bed and snuggle but there's no blanket-stealing and no feet tangled in a rumpled top sheet. Reply My Husband and I also have our own blankets, its wonderful Reply Ever so slightly off topic – what's a top sheet and why is it so important? We have a sheet on the mattress and a duvet, nowt else needed. Should I feel bereft? On topic – I need personal feedback a lot. I struggled living with a housemate who was out a lot (because I was too shy to go out at the time), I neeeeeed people. However, sometimes I really need to not talk to anyone and he's similar so that's a bit easier. Although I create epic meals whether I'm alone or feeding other people and yep, share them on Fb for cooing! Reply Ohmygosh GeeGee. Because a duvet is a horrible pain in the ass to wash! The sheet is the barrier that makes me feel like it's okay to wash it only…when I wash it. I bring a book out to a bar sometimes when I want some random convo but don't want to commit to making plans in advance. It's a touchy thing, this intro/extro-version… Reply If you have duvet with a duvet cover — the duvet cover takes the place of the top sheet. You can easily take the cover off and wash it whenever it needs it/when you wash the bottom (fitted) sheet. However, lots of people in the US use a bottom sheet, a top sheet (tucked in at the foot of the bed), then maybe a light blanket, then a heavier quilt/comforter. You shouldn't wash the quilt/comforter too often (just like you don't wash the whole duvet every week), and it takes up the whole washer anyway, so you just wash the top sheet instead. I like both systems, but I also CANNOT stand not having either a topsheet or duvet cover. I also do not understand people who can sleep on a bare mattress … like when everyone would come back to the dorms after summer break, and take days (or weeks!) to actually put their sheets on, instead of crashing on the bare mattress and covering up with their comforter. So, so, so skievy! Reply Aha, thank you, that makes a lot more sense and I can understand your pain now! Reply Ah yes, the bare mattress concept has always freaked me out. I don't get how some people do that. Thankfully, my biggest bed-related complaint is just the fact that my husband's half of the bed inevitably gets untucked at the bottom because his feet need to go somewhere. (Oh, you tall people…) I can live with that. Thankfully, he mostly respects the top sheet, oh, and I didn't have to teach him what a top sheet was, either! (Not trying to brag, I'm actually realizing how lucky I am as I read the other comments here…) Just know that with regards to wanting alone time, it's totally possible to still have it, even if you live with a significant other. If you work slightly different schedules, or have your own hobbies, you can definitely do it. Also, in our case, we enjoy to read (my husband especially does), so sometimes in the evening, I'll catch up with a show I wanted to see on Netflix while he reads a book with headphones in (he basically can't function without having music on, and I'm not always that way), in the same room. So we get semi-alone time, while still being able to interact on and off. Maybe this is weird to other people, but it works for us. Reply My husband and I refer to what you note as semi-alone time as "playing in parallel"/"parallel play" (like toddlers). There's no guilt for doing our own thing and we don't feel like we're neglecting the other person. It often segues into time together anyway, like fixing dinner or watching a TV show (although the TV is usually on when he's home and I just accept that now). I love my duvet cover, but it bugs the crap out of me how the duvet slides down inside it. How do I keep it up? There are ties on the inside corners but THERE IS NOTHING TO TIE THEM TO ON THE DUVET. Reply I've sewn on ribbons for this purpose before. Worked like a charm. Clearly Spanglish is onto something with the ribbons. I just tied it around the corner of the duvet, making little duvet nipples. Some have ties on the corners. When I get one without the ties, I use safety pins. Turn the duvet cover inside out and lay on top of the duvet. Safety pin all of the corners. Then, reach inside the inside-out duvet cover, grab the top two corners, and flip everything right side out while still holding those corners. I (from the UK) cannot conceive of having a duvet without a cover! Cultural differences abound! Reply Exactly! What is going on over there? Sheets wrapped around ankles, coverless duvets and comforters (what the heck are they?). Who knew we got so culturally divergent at bedtimes! Exactly this! I use a comforter with a duvet cover or a lightweight, super washable blanket! Hates the flat sheet!!! The biggest things that bug me are having to share decorating decisions and living with someone who is not receptive to organization. I try to hack things and make organization, cleanliness easy to maintain but I swear my husband goes out of his way to be messy! I even put a discreet basket for laundry in the den and still have to collect clothing from floor/furniture :-/ I also don't like getting vetoed on my decor choices by someone who may as well have lived in a frat when I moved in… Reply I also never use a top sheet. I like to wrap the blanket around my feet and whatnot and a sheet just seems to get in the way. Also, it makes making a bed SO HARD. I would never make the bed if I had to do more than just adjust the comforter. It's a fair point that using a top sheet means washing the blanket less, but since we have a dog that sleeps on the bed, we have to wash our comforter fairly often, anyway, or it gets too dog-stanky. I lived with a significant other once that was so bad at blankets we actually used separate ones. This usually solved the problem, but occasionally I'd wake up with no blanket on me. He would have kicked his onto the floor in his sleep and then stolen mine. Luckily, my husband does not have this problem. Reply I LOVE having my own blanket. I can curl up in a cocoon and not worry about my husband stealing the covers, or leaving them open when he gets up in the morning or touching me with his ice feet. He doesn't even attempt to steal my blanket, and he's gotten pretty good about remembering to tuck me back in if he reaches in for hug or whatnot. Stealing my fleece when I'm sleepy and nearly blind without my contacts is very dangerous for him! Reply My partner and I use separate blankets. Have from almost the beginning. Typically, I am too hot when I fall asleep, so around 7am (or, 5 hours into sleeping) I wake up shivering. Typically, my blankets are between us in the middle of the bed. So one night, I wake up at 7am as normal, shivering, grab the comforter in the middle of the bed, and cuddle myself into it. Just as I start to doze back off, and just as my brain processes that the texture of my blanket is funny, I hear a loud, annoyed, "REALLY?!" I suddenly realize I have stolen my partner's blanket. Just as quickly I realize that if I wake up enough to find my own blankets and give his back, I will never get back to sleep, but if I simply pretend to be sleeping I will be passed back out in about 10 more seconds. I shrug and think to myself, "He can fall asleep no matter what, I'm the one with insomnia issues, he'll just get another blanket and go back to sleep. Fuck 'im." He got up. He stomped to the pile of extra blankets on the love seat in the bedroom. Angrily yanked one off the pile and flopped back in bed, grumbling. And within about 6 seconds was snoring again. I do not in any way feel bad about my assessment. ******** Side note, the "related story" jump on mobile comes out before the "points to coupling" line and I seriously thought those were headings before each section until cuddling. I was SO CONFUSED how cuddling is a single-winning activity until I figured out what was going on. Oh lordy that was a funny 90 seconds. Reply The top sheet seems to be an American thing? When I lived in Ireland, I was amazed that the sheet set I bought for my dorm bed did not come with a top sheet and I had to purchase it separately. WTF?? But my dorm also came with a duvet for which I needed to purchase a cover, as opposed to how it is back home where you usually own one comforter and it's [color that matches your room] and it basically only gets washed once a year if the cat pees on it or something. Nowadays I do have a down duvet for the winter months (hey, sometimes it approaches freezing here in California) and so I do have a duvet cover for it. But I could never function without a top sheet. What about when it's summertime and you want some kind of cover but very thin? Top sheet is the only answer. Reply You take the duvet out of the cover, and just sleep under the cover! Reply But… That requires you to do the work of taking the duvet out (not easy with our queen size duvet with the ties in the corners) and then you have to store it "naked" and it gets dirty, and you have no option for middle of the night emergency additional coverage… Or just use a different duvet cover. Most people have more than one set of sheets, no? AHHHH YESSS. I don't feel like a total weirdo anymore about my obsession with my top sheet/bedding situation. My girlfriend is a cover destroyer and I feel so bad all the time for giving her grief about it. O.o Reply Ulg I HATE the top sheet. I haven't used one since middle school. It always gets tangled, and I've never been able to sleep in a bed with one without getting all tangled up. I just put a duvet cover on my comforter European style and wash that. My husband is the one with the top-sheet obsession. We don't share blankets. 🙂 Reply Yay, for another person who doesn't like to share blankets! My husband and I have our own blankets too. If we cared how things looked, we could always get matching twin sheets/blankets for our sides of the bed and then it would look nice when we made the bed. But that brings on the whole other thing – neither of us make the bed. (I have never really understood, since it gets messed up later that day anyway – which usually means too much work, even if it looks nice.) The only thing is when you go to a hotel or something and have to share, then we tug-of-war with them. Sometimes separate things are the only way to go – don't like how he squeezes the toothpaste? Then we each have our own – although I still "fix" his toothpaste when I'm feeling a little compulsive. Reply Ahh! My husband is obsessive about toothpaste squeezing! I squeeze from, you know, wherever, because toothpaste always comes out. He swipes my toothpaste so he can "roll it the proper way" so it's fat at the top and has a little rolled up part. He is ALWAYS correcting my toothpaste! I'm an obsessive bed-maker, though. I can't STAND leaving it unmade– I've been that way since elementary school. A made bed makes the entire room look 80% neater, plus then there's no cat hair or random dirt (if people put bags or whatever on the bed) in my sheets. Ewwww Reply I gave up on top sheets. I'm the one who always kicks them off in the middle of the night. I manage to keep a comforter over me, but the top sheet is a bunched mess at the bottom of the bed! Reply I believe top sheets are the devil. I have never, ever, ever liked them. The husband? Yep, he loooooooooooooooooooves them. Yet every single friggin night that he's in bed with me, the top sheet ends up going in one direction while the comforter goes in the other direction. Grrrr! And goodness don't even get me started on a duvet cover! I have tried to use them a few times, and I just don't get them! Give me a fan and a comforter on a fitted sheet, and I'm a happy camper. Reply Um, OMG the top sheet. I love that this is the first comment. I'm so perplexed at how my wonderful boyfriend manages to mess up the sheet and blanket so spectacularly, and so consistently. Luckily now we have a routine where he helps me set up the bed for sleeping when he's already in the bed, by grabbing the top edges of things as I hand them to him, and putting them in the right place on top of himself. And I'm pretty sure we save lots on heating costs because we have each other as human bed warmers. Reply I don't understand the top sheet problems! Maybe I've gotten lucky with my current and past boyfriend, but never has there been an issue with the top sheet. What there does tend to be an issue with is sharing the covers. We got around that by pulling the covers over to my side very generously when we get in bed so by the time it's morning, I'm not uncovered and resentful. Reply This is us. We've never had a problem with the top sheet (I don't understand how the kids I babysit for wind up with it all bunched up near their feet, that has NEVER happened to me in my memory) but the covers always wind up on his side of the bed and I'm freezing come morning. I'm sure it's because he rolls around (and he rolls funny– he goes face down when he rolls over in bed) and the sheets migrate over there. If the sheets do stay on my side of the bed, the comforter is always folded down in a triangle and I'm left with only the top sheet. Boy am I glad it's there… Reply My mom and her partner finally solved this problem. Answer: king blankets, top sheet, etc. on a queen size bed. When made they nearly reach the floor and allow a ton of leeway in blanket wars/ cocooning. Not too expensive at discount stores either ( think homegoods, tjmaxx, etc.). She is convinced this is the path to a happy partnership… Reply This. Is. Brilliant! Reply I fully admit we have the opposite problem in my house, and my husband is the one that is good at sheets and I always mash everything around because I get too hot and throw it all off constantly. Reply ^$&*#^^%!!!! THE TOP SHEET!!! I got so frustrated that we don't even use a top sheet anymore. We have converted from a top sheet with a quilt to only a fitted sheet with a duvet/comforter and duvet/comforter cover. No more top sheet….It's like using only a comforter, except that you just wash the cover as frequently as you'd wash your sheets. Cons: it's super hard to find ONLY fitted sheets and not a set (though once I get my sewing machine out of storage, I'll just buy two sets at a time and sew the flat sheets together to make a new duvet cover), and a duvet cover can cost almost as much a a whole new comforter. Pros: no more fighting over the top sheet…and no more top sheet strangling you in hot weather. Reply NO comprende about top sheet ire. I hate flat sheets. The only time they get used is at hotel rooms. I want to make any flat sheets into fitted sheets. And, apparently, this is one more way I am a macho gay dude in a woman's body. Reply On the subject of alone time: I'm fairly introverted, and I greatly crave alone time too. I need an hour or so of quiet time (at least) per day or I feel anxious. That being said, I'm married, and my husband's teenager lives with us.. so I don't have the run of the house, and sometimes the couch feels super crowded with just 3 people. But the bedroom and office are typically vacant during the daytime, and my husband understands that sometimes I like a little quiet time to myself and doesn't accuse me of being anti-social. I think, ultimately, that's important in any relationship that involves co-habitation: respect for personal space. But it helps to communicate that it isn't anything wrong with them, that you enjoy spending time with them too (which is true! otherwise we wouldn't live with them!) but sometimes you need to be able to do your own thing, even if that thing is browsing facebook, without having another person in the same room. Reply My husband has learned not to take it personally when I'm over peopled and tell him he's "people". Sometimes I'm "people" but I can't get away from me! He know leaves me alone, when I ask, but it probably took a year of living together for him to stop being offended by the request! Reply I love the term "overly peopled". My dad and I are crazy introverts and my family can tell when we are "peopled out" and need to "cave". No one bats an eye at me when they ask me to do something and I say "Sorry, I'm caving". I've been married two years and it's just now starting to feel (sometimes) like he isn't people. He was always really good about not being offended that he was people and, thus, could not be a part of my caving routine. Although now we have a baby and my tiny, unspeaking, nursing infant is people and I have a hard time not having almost any alone time and I feel guilty telling my husband that I need to get away from our baby 🙁 Reply Don't feel about about needing time with out the baby. There were definitely times when I walked out of the bedroom, handed my husband the baby, handed him a bottle, walked back in the bedroom and closed the door. I tell myself it made him feel needed 😉 Reply How do you reach the point of your husband NOT taking it personally when you're "over-peopled"? I am also super introverted. I have a very public oriented job that I enjoy, but when I get home I like to be ALONE. And at least once a week I like to have an entire uninterrupted day ALL to myself (hint, this happens MAYBE once a month). When I tried to explain this need, he just got hurt and offended because he interpreted "I need 'Just Me' time" as "I need 'Not You' time." Reply Yes, as an introvert, I totally get all of these feels. My boyfriend didn't understand that I needed alone time to "recharge". He is an extrovert and loves hanging out with people. I like people too, but people drain me. I have to have my alone time to recuperate, even from him. When we first moved in, it actually caused a lot of problems. He thought I wasn't as "social" as before we lived together. I was the exact same though, he just never saw my recharging times before we lived together, only my socializing. I used to get my "me-time" after he went home. He is much better about it now. He knows that I need some time alone every day. And sometimes on the weekends, he goes out with friends and I stay home. Him being extroverted is awesome too though. If I lived alone, I might stay in my apartment FOREVA. He pushes me to go out more, and I usually have a blast, even if I didn't originally want to go :P. Reply We play the Sims, and we always say that my husband is a Loner Sim. He frequently tells me "need to spend 5 hours in room alone" like his Sim does, and I can totally respect that (I'm an introvert too, but not to that extent– I'm happiest with just my husband, and he doesn't count as "being around people"). Reply Yesss, I am just like you! I don't necessarily want to hang out with other people all the time, but my husband doesn't count. I can be with him 24/7 and not get sick of him, even though I like down time … I don't have to be in a separate room or anything to have that. 😀 Reply I really think it depends on the person. I'm an extrovert and I'm TERRIBLE at entertaining myself. So living with my fiance/boyfriend/whatever was a super logical step for me. He's there to help entertain me always. Also, I sleep better with another person in the room. I love that he can help with chores and take care of me when I'm sick. We each do our own thing, but I always have someone to eat dinner with. And to help cook said dinner. And do the dishes. For us, co-habitation was the BEST decision we could have made pre-wedding. We have another couple as roommates and we have a cat and they have a dog so the two-bedroom place gets a bit crowded sometimes. But when you need alone time, it's respected. We've all set boundaries that make it pretty clear when we're having "introvert moments". Reply Speaking as a couple only (no kids or other tenants) some of these points are still doable when you're in a pair. Need alone time to just recharge or take a breather? Let the partner know and ask for some space. Want to eat potato salad and a spritzer? They can fix themselves a burrito. Possessive over blankets? Do like the Swedes do (at least, the ones I know) and have bedding for each individual. Want to watch what you want? Negotiate for time or have a back-up device. When we first moved in together at lot of those things seemed too much to ask for. Would we be massive jerks or not really in love if we broke from convention? So for a while I fumed over his ability to eat EVERYTHING and my sudden lack of veggies. He would go nuts because I could talk endlessly at 6am on a Saturday. In each instance we reached a near breaking point. I asked him to pick up salads from the store and was surprised when he was more than happy to. (I also started telling him which leftovers were "no touch" and why, which he thought was hilarious). When he snapped at me for never sleeping in, I apologized with no resentment and just started spending my mornings outside or doing chores to burn energy. Turns out, doing our "single" things as a household has been much easier and happier for us. Reply My lovely boyfriend wakes up at 5:30 on weekdays and has a hard time sleeping in on weekends, I had to finally tell him that his tossing and turning for hours until I woke up was driving me insane! He thought that I would be upset if he didn't lay and cuddle but in reality it was preventing me from enjoying our time together. We eventually settled on him waking up and going out onto the couch to watch TV or do whatever he wanted until I woke up. If I wanted more cuddle time we can do that on the couch or he can come back to bed once I'm up. The biggest lesson I have had to learn (as an extrovert living with an introvert) is really really asking for what you want. Even if it sounds silly, even if its not eloquent, even if they laugh, because it will save you a lot of time and energy once you figure out how to tell your partner exactly what's on your mind. Reply yeah – i am the waker-upper in our house. and I too just get up and close the door behind me. i also go to bed earlier and he stays up alone. no point trying to force things on someone that just aren't the way they work. Reply Yes! My husband works 9-to-5 and sleeps accordingly. I'm a grad student and do my best work at about 2am (um… I should be working as I post this) and I sleep around 4am-noon every night. He kisses me goodbye every morning, and I kiss him goodnight when I come to bed at god knows when. Reply I am working really hard at getting over my guilt at this. I wake up every weekday at 6 to get ready to go to work, and my husband (bless him) gets up with me. But on the weekend, he wants to stay in bed late (even if awake), and my body gets fidgety and frustrated that I'm awake and not UP. I like the cuddling aspect a lot, but I start to get bored, too. 😀 Reply The Danes, too. I was very confused by the apartment I stayed in in Copenhagen at first but I can definitely see the advantage. Reply "These are my leftovers and you must not touch them" was genuinely one of the most important couple conversations I've ever had. There is nothing like going to get those last few bites of something you were looking forward to eating all day only to find out they're gone. Argh. Reply We had to have the dessert talk. The spouse knows he can only steal a bite from the first half of my dessert, not the second half. And if he tries to steal the last bite of something chocolate, it isn't my fault if my fork gets a little stabby. (Mostly kidding about the stabby.) Reply My boyfriend didn't realize at first that when I eat around something that looks delicious, most of the time it means I'm saving it for last because it's the best bite. He thought that I just didn't like it, and if I reluctantly gave him a requested bite, he'd eat that part. He learned early on not to do that. Reply Early on (second date) my now-partner had saved half of his sandwich so he'd have something to eat before work later. My sandwich was too good and I was hungry so I ate mine. Later came around and I was hungry too, so he offered to share his sandwich. Of course I felt guilty, but I was VERY hungry and we were at a park. He handed me his sandwich and said to eat however much I wanted, so I eyeballed a perfect half, ate exactly to that point into a perfect little line, and handed it back to him. Apparently it was adorable and that's when he decided he was keeping me. That's totally how our relationship regarding shared food has been for four years now, too. I eat what I want, and give him the rest, then he offers me the last bite if I want it. Totally sweet. Dessert is bad. It seems like any time I buy a "special" dessert specifically because I am craving that item (giant super fudgey brownie?) I get maybe 10% of said item before the rest disappears….which is SO STRANGE because the only other person I live with claims that he is "trying to eat healthier". Reply Haha, or when you package all of the leftovers from a meal into nicely divided mini-meals (meat, grain, vegetable in each) so that they're ready to grab for lunch…and you open them to find that the husband has eaten all of the "best" parts from each container, leaving the boring grains and vegetables behind in each. Reply omg, there would be a bloodbath if my partner did that. Reply Separate sheets. Our king bed regularly has a muddle of full/twin top sheets. How else am I supposed to make a proper bedding burrito to be all cozy at night? Just one comforter, though, cause at that point we need each others body heat. Reply Brilliant. Problem solved. Now where's the dude… Reply My partner and I have entirely separate bedding – we have a double bed and each have our own double top sheet and comforter. We're both blanket hogs, and both like to do the bedding burrito thing, and have wildly different internal temperatures or something because he is always freezing when I'm hot. Sleeping together became so. much. better. when we no longer had to share the blankets. The only thing we have to agree on is the fitted sheet, which is usually easy enough. Reply I want to do this SO BAD, but my husband seems convinced that separating our bedding means that WE will become emotionally separated as well. Reply Mine is that I hang one leg out of the blankets. And for some reason that's always the side of the blanket toward the middle of the bed. WTF. Oh, sleeping in bed with a dude on either side was ROUGH. I would have to wiggle my way out of the middle of the blankets and I kept waking up so overheated I wanted to vom. That's where I ended up with the separate blankets idea. Best idea ever. Actually come to think of it there's only ever one person I've been able to share blankets with. Damn I miss him. lol Reply My husband and I, both introverts, have schedules that are just different enough that we each get an hour or two alone in the house three days a week. When that wasn't the case, we more or less scheduled weekly "alone time." If nothing else, it's a great way to pursue interests you don't share – take a class, join a book group, spend an hour at the library browsing graphic novels – while your spouse stays home and enjoys the silence. Then swap! (This may be even easier if only one of you is introverted – the outgoing one can go out and get their social on while the introverted one stays home. Everyone wins!) Reply Yup, this. I get all my introvert time while my mister is at work. Which means I'm totally charged to do most socially things whenever he wants to (aside from them always costing money we don't have with me not working). Because he hates socializing without me, and it makes him feel guilty leaving me at home to socialize. Goofball. But it works for us! Reply Even if the fate of a hundred baby sea turtles depending on me arriving at a definitive answer on this subject, I'm not sure I could. I mean, sure, I'd just blurt one and swear that was my answer, then go cheer on the baby sea turtles as they crawled across the beach to freedom, but… it's hard, right? I'm a naturally solitary person but I kind of like being alone beside somebody (who will probably make me dinner and listen to my ridiculous theories on the world set forth in The Nightmare Before Christmas). Otherwise, I'd just talk about them aloud to myself in my car. But I hate the emotional obligation of feeling like I need to make decisions that will be good for both of us (or any human life), like choosing full meals rather than slightly-microwaved tortillas. Reply THIS times a jillion. Reply I SO want to have this Nightmare Before Xmas conversation with you!!! Reply Agreed! I think a lot of us would love to hear a Dootsie theory of that universe if you're willing to type it out. Reply I will third that request! Reply I spent most of my twenties single and in my early thirties I met and started dating my husband. I was perfectly happy being single and I told him that, I also told him that if he didn't fit smoothly into my life I would happily go back to being single. It wasn't a threat, I just wasn't willing to give up living a simple happy life for a complicated or challenging couples life. It turned he felt the very same way and it also turned out that we function very well as a couple. We both need quiet time and we respect each other's need for that, we talk through what we need simply and quickly, neither of us like to over analyze our relationship and we don't fight, we have a no drama policy that we stick to. We are coming up on 8 years of being together and 3 years of married life, and life is good. I think that finding a great fit is possible even for someone that loves to single, that said, I also think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being single. I lucked out and found someone that works for me to be with but if he hadn't been the right person, I would have happily continued to live a single life. Reply Oh man. That's the big dream! Reply I'm really interested at how many comments are along the lines of 'I need human attention', followed by 'I also need alone time'. Humans are so complex – we're need to both live in herds AND like solitary wolves! Reply That's why I sometimes find the extrovert/introvert thing silly. I mean, of course there are some people that lean heavily one way or another, but I think a lot of people are a mix of both. I know I LOVE being around people, but not in large groups. My partner and I are looking to move to a place where it isn't just us because I miss living with more people. However, I have this weird thing where when I do need chill time, like reading or internet-surfing or crafting, I kind of hate having someone else in the room, even if they are also quiet and absorbed in their own thing. It's like I either need to be engaged with people, or I like to be completely alone. Humans ARE complex, heh. Reply For the longest time I thought that living together with separate bedrooms would be the dream but I keep coming back to not liking to sleep alone. Although if my partner doesn't stop waking me up with his sudden snoring problem we might be finding a two-bedroom next time we move! Reply My person and I live together but have separate bedrooms, and it's a pretty good set-up. I would rather share because I'm also not super fond of sleeping alone, but it gets really really hot at night while I am usually too cold, and it is super particular about its six different blankets and I only like to have one on my bed, so really we're both happier sleeping alone– most nights, anyway. Reply I think that people are on a spectrum. True extroverts "recharge" by being around people. My sister is this way. I am a true introvert, meaning that I "recharge" by having alone time. I'm not particularly shy, nor do I hate people. I do enjoy some social gatherings…but being around people drains me over time, so until I have alone time I'll be irritable, tired, and prone to lashing out at whomever is preventing me from being completely alone (ie, my husband). Reply I like the single life – a lot. I have turned down offers from friends and relatives to set me up with guys because I cherish my alone time so much and love being able to have my house set up to my exact liking. I think if I tried to live with someone I would feel drained from sharing space and compromising. :/ Reply i am really quite happily married, but i have to say, i can definitely appreciate the joys of living alone. I remember when my now-hubby and i moved in together, after dating for about a year and a half (and we are old, so, we can't chalk it up to inexperience) and for that first month in the same place, officially, i remember thinking "this is so not going to work. we are going to be that couple that dates super-happily then break up as soon as they move in together." we got through it, but, yeah, i need my own space sometimes. we both have a lot of friends, so we do stuff apart often, but there are times when i am just really happy if he has plans on a saturday and I can lounge at home by myself. i think this is okay and healthy to want to be alone once in a while. it keeps you in touch with you! Reply "this is so not going to work. we are going to be that couple that dates super-happily then break up as soon as they move in together." I felt this too! Still feel that way sometimes still, even though we've lived together for 8 months now. It's the little things, like "why doesn't he see the mess in the kitchen and clean it?" or "why is he okay just letting the laundry sit in the dryer?" I'm learning slowly (and somewhat resentfully, tbh) that I just don't communicate enough. He's asked me questions about why I'm upset, and I've just looked him in the eyes and stared as if me doing that would make him see my brain and read my thoughts (spoiler alert: this has never worked). It's coming to the realization that issues between us for the most part are a 'yes, but…' thing. "YES, he doesn't do the dishes when there's a bunch piled in the sink and sitting on the counter, BUT I didn't ask him to do that while I was at work." Reply This is a big part of learning to live together for sure. Honestly, I think maybe 90% of the time in our house I'm the problem – I'm gone all day at work (husband works from home) AND before we met I was never very tidy. I'm not MESSY, but I just don't keep things neat. My husband, however, is almost fastidious – he insists on putting things away before we leave the house, for instance, or doing the dishes immediately – things I never did. And while it used to annoy me slightly, I realized it was my problem, because I was the one thinking "oh, he's putting away the things I took out of my purse, he must be mad I didn't do that immediately," … and that's not the case. I've just ended up compensating in other areas – I do all the cooking, since he doesn't really cook, I make sure the countertops and bathrooms are wiped down and sanitized. I clean out the sink (because even though he does the dishes, he seems to overlook the bits of food caught in the drain, which really skeeve me out). We just ended up finding a system that works for us, I guess. I still feel guilty now and then, but that's on me. 🙂 He knows I'm just a little more lax about things like that than he is. Or at least, I like to think he does.. 😀 Reply In my husband's & my wedding ceremony (which I mostly wrote), we included this text from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke: "The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries. On the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his or her solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky." Hope that's not TLDR; but the gist is that we want to remain individuals while partnered. It's been a touchstone throughout our relationship of over 20 years (14 married). We each have solo lives, & we have our couple life. Not impossible 🙂 Reply That is beautiful and perfect. Reply Living Alone Together, guys. That is the ideal. Well, I say that. We're currently doing this for career reasons (jobs in different locations), and it has it's downsides. But it has its huge pluses too. Basically, I think the ideal situation for me would be if we lived in flats in the same building. That would be ace. Reply Kinda like Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter! Separate houses next to each other, but there is an entrance between them should they choose to share time. Reply A friend told me she and her husband will watch the same show on Netflix in separate rooms, and they text each other comments during. I think it's kind of adorable that they both get alone time but also together. Whatever works! Reply I feel like I kind of get the best of both worlds, actually – my partner works a second job on the evenings every weekend, so I get two nights to myself where it's like I live alone – I sit around in my boxers, sing along badly to the music I'm playing, watch trashy or childish TV shows, and eat half-assed meals because I couldn't be bothered to actually cook for myself. I admit, I really love being able to give up on a TV show or movie on Netflix after 20 mins without him being all "awww…" Reply OH GOD I LOVE THOSE NIGHTS. My husband is only out once a month on a regular basis, but those nights, I eat junk, watch old episodes of Top Model, and play Rift like there's no tomorrow. Reply I think it comes down to aspects of compatibility. My fiance and I both cherish our alone time and have as much or as little as we need – as it turns out, it's like our lives have meshed together. We need less and less alone time from one another. We both oddly crave the same dishes, and enjoy those random "I don't feel like making a real dinner" nights. We both have spare rooms that we can decorate to our wishes, but our tastes are very same throughout the rest of the house. Aside from checking our mutual calendar to see if there are time conflicts, we both schedule solo and couple outings without incident. I don't want that to sound mushy or overly romantic – but our lives and activities have evolved into something together. I also don't mean to say that couples who aren't this way are somehow bad or destined to split. There are always compromises to be made and work to be done to keep a couple going – whatever hardships there may be in this area, could be balanced by other unique qualities in the relationship. Bottom line, is that the things outlined here as "single life" aren't necessarily sacrificed when you transition to "couple life." Reply I mean… I can only handle living with someone if we boink. Reply Holy crap you're right. I put up with so much shit if I know I can bang the person who left all the dirty dishes there later. Reply I'm an extrovert, so I really don't enjoy being alone. I get all sad and lonely and stir-crazy, so cohabitation is so where it's at for me. However, we both have second jobs and our days off don't line up, so I get more than enough time alone in the apartment. Might be different if we always shared a weekend. Also, seperate bedding in a king bed. Best. Decision. Ever. for our marriage. The food thing isn't an issue; we both had chicken nuggets and brownies for dinner last night, no judgement. HOWEVER…the TV thing. Oh how I miss being able to channel surf between three interesting shows, or binge-watch nature documentaries without him sighing in boredom. I wouldn't want to be single again in the long-term, but man do I enjoy being in charge of the remote! Reply I'm an introvert and I definitely get drained being around people. Yet my husband doesn't ping that. I can spend all day every day with him and it's just as comfortable as being by myself. I think he's the only person in the world with whom I am totally and completely myself and put no energy at all into a social shield. Reply FUCK YEAH. I rarely need time away from the spouse. We have some hobbies and friends in common. Sometimes we'll be going about the house, doing our own things, and high-five-ing each other when we pass in the hallway. Other times we'll being doing completely separate activities with headphones, but sitting in the same room. He's particularly fond of opening the window to say hi when I'm hanging out in the backyard. It's like our introverted selves don't register each other as people? Reply The images this brought up made me smile at the sweet/cuteness! Reply For the food, I think I'm a lot better about balanced meals when there's someone else around to make the cooking "worth it." It's a lot easier to make things because my boyfriend and I both help–usually I chop and he does the babysitting of the pan over heat. Then whoever contributed more to the cooking effort sits back while the other cleans most of the dishes. It's a great system. Also, random: try switching up spoons sometime! I actually often prefer being big spoon, even as the smaller person, because I don't like feeling too constricted when I try to sleep. I've asked around with my guy friends, and most of them have never tried being little spoon before. One guy I dated a while back hadn't tried it until I suggested it, and he decided it was really nice. Reply We probably spend half-half time every night switching spoons. I love love love being big spoon. I have an obsession with backs, and yeah, he kinda crushes me a bit when he big spoons. I'm almost TOO little to be little spoon. Reply We switch spoons all the time, because we're only a couple of inches height difference. It works better when I'm the little spoon, though, because my legs are too long and don't fit with his when I'm the big spoon. Reply My last partner I lived with (before my current partner) moved out at the end of our 4-year-long relationship. We had always cooked together, so after he left I would make french fries with salt and malt vinegar at least 2 nights a week for dinner. Making real meals was really hard once I was just cooking for myself. Also, my husband is very often the little spoon, heh. Reply I love being the big spoon (which is hilarious as I am 4'9" and my husband is maaaybe 5'7"ish.. average for a guy, but I an teensy)! It's pretty much impossible now that I'm 8 months pregnant, BUT I used to love squishing up against him like that. I feel a little trapped sometimes when he's the big spoon. Reply My lady and I were long-distance for almost four years right at the start of our relationship, so we weren't initially spending a ton of time in the same physical space. On one of our first date-weeks, we were spooning in bed, and wound up turning to each other at the exact same moment to say, "okay, this is great, but can we switch now?" Turns out that we both love to spoon, but we both also fidget like all get out, and while I can only sleep on my back, Lady can only sleep on her side. The fact that our internal timers clicked over from SNUGGLE TIME to FIDGET O'CLOCK at the same moment was one of the first times I thought, "yeah, this is totally going to work out." Reply Man oh man, do I feel this post. My dude and I dated for a year, were long-distance for a year, lived together for two years, have been long-distance for three, and will be back to cohabiting this summer. So I definitely get the pros and cons of coupled vs. alone. I do enjoy the occasional guacamole-and-white-wine dinner, or dancing alone to M.I.A. in the living room, but many basic things – eating, relaxing, sleeping – kinda suck when I'm by myself. I don't want to cook for myself when it's just me, but I'm self-conscious about going to restaurants alone. Relaxing = all Internet all the time until I give myself a headache. And I kinda hate going to sleep, because the bed is so f'ing cold without another body in it. Though I do get a lot of creative work done when Dude's not around. I plan to cultivate my alone time when we start living together again. Reply I lived all by myself with no roommates for years before husband and I got married and started living together. So marriage wasn't just an adjustment to living together as a couple, but also to having a roommate in general. Our relationship aside, husband is actually a very compatible roommate, and even still, I did not adjust to couple living very gracefully. Just as I was finally getting used to and enjoying couple living, husband got a great opportunity to work abroad for several months, so now we're doing the distance marriage thing and I'm back to single living again. I like single living and I can handle the distance marriage, but it's funny adjusting back. Oh, and I totally agree with you about buying food. I hate buying perishables for 1 person and even 2 isn't much better. Produce, milk – it always goes bad before I/we can finish it. Reply So, the key to my marriage is separate bedrooms. He cracks his knuckles in his sleep, and I am the lightest sleeper of all time. OF ALL TIME. Also, I'm not so much "introverted" as "misanthropic," especially on days when I work at a public service desk or have to solve coworkers' problems the whole time, so I have a comfy chair in my room, where I can sit and read while he plays video games or … whatever he does. If I need alone time, I have a place to hide. If he needs alone time, he does. It works out great! Highly recommended! Reply This list reminds me a little of Charles Darwin's pro/con list on deciding whether to get married. Loss of time seems to be a big preoccupation with him, but there's no mention of bed sheets! http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/darwins-notes-on-marriage Reply That is awesome! "better than a dog anyhow." – Charles Darwin, on wives. Reply I have been known to say "I love your face now go away." And he kisses me on the forehead and goes to do something else. When I'm ready for company I emerge from the bedroom or the couch, and he usually stops whatever he was doing and we hang out or whatever. But I love the fact that I can just tell him to go away and he's cool with it. Also that he's learned that I don't need the "Ok, well I'm going to go read some comic books and play video games, go ahead and interrupt me if you want company." I think I may have thrown something once when that sentence was too much interaction for me. Now it's a silent kiss and he GOES AWAY. Since I'm no longer working I get plenty of introvert time while he's at work, so it's not so bad. But I foresee times when we have children in the future that I may have to start scheduling time for Mommy to not be Mommy for a little while every couple of days. Kids having bonding time with all their adults is super important, but also making sure that their time with grandma isn't always spent as couple time will be important too so he can get some personal time. It's rare that he ever needs it, being the extreme extrovert that he is, so that should work out pretty alright for us. I hope. Reply I have to say I hate the sheet that is tucked in at the feet (is that what "the top sheet" means?). My feet actually freeze if they are not touching the material. Luckily my boyfriend is ok with the messy covers! We've been living together since september last year and it has been interesting. I've never lived with a partner before so this was a huge change for me (i always lived with my parents). My bf does not cook, doesn't know how, so we made a deal that I will cook and he will wash all the dishes, which works perfectly for me as i hate doing dishes. We are definitely perfectly ok with staying in and watching a movie (together or separate), or even spending a day on our computers and not really talking to each other. He can do his own thing and I can do mine, so both of us get time alone with our thoughts. He is not big on cleaning, and it would take me forever to try and get him to clean! But for the most part, whenever I would get the vacuum out or ask him about it so i could start cleaning myself, and he would look at me, sigh, grumble and say "just let me do it myself", and help me 🙂 Reply Aww, you're so cute when you say you like snoring. Come spend the night next to my partner and I am sure you will change your tune. His snoring is awful and VERY LOUD. It is sincerely one of my least favorite things about him. I'm not exaggerating, the first time he fell asleep in my parents' home, my father SERIOUSLY thought a bear had broken in the house. He came downstairs with a bat and everything (not sure wtf he was gonna do with it…). He's scared small animals away. The people at the sleep clinic said they have never seen anyone who snores this bad. So, yeah, you need to spend a night with us 😉 We can even cuddle. Reply I had no idea top sheets were so contentious. Reply Right?? I had no idea I was touching on such a supa hot button topic… Reply "OffBeat Home and Life: we accept you regardless of your top sheet preference" Reply HA! We thought of that for a tag line, but realized that it was a bit much to put on a business card. 😉 Reply Point for single living- being able to move across the country/world for a course/job/travel with ease and no discussions I totally love the freedom of being single! Reply I have a love/hate relationship with couple living. I love that he cooks dinner for me because I am SOOOOO lazy about eating and I love having someone who makes me laugh besides myself. But I've always been a "personal bubble" type of person and I hate sharing. I'd never had a roommate for this reason… I moved out of my parents house into an apartment alone and now live with my husband. His crap is the only crap that I will tolerate living with. Tho, when talking with others about this kind of stuff, I always reference this: Reply Seconding the people who said that not all of this is couple or single stuff. Sometimes I think I'd love to live by myself, but for example, right now my husband is playing Skyrim in the study and I'm on the couch in the living room, and he will quite happily stay there until we're both bored and want to snuggled up and watch Masterchef. Earlier, he got up while I had a lie in, and then we went out for lunch. It was hard when we first got together and one or the other of us would get really clingy, but these days it's pretty good. It's a skill to learn, I think. Reply Great post! Very funny and astute. Reply Thank you very much! Made my morning. I heart the word astute! Reply This is quite funny because in fact you can have any of the 'points for single' even if you have a partner. It depends on your priorities and how tolerant you are willing to be. If you're submissive it will always be an issue. Reply Recently married and struggling with this, after living alone for years. I am finding myself inexplicably unhappy. I think it's probably due to having someone up in my biz every day (and maybe partly do to the fact that life is as hard as it always was, and weddings get the dopamine way up, only to crash afterwards). I always said I'd marry someone who travels a lot, but I didn't. I married a super nice man that comes home every night, asking how my day was. I find the question trite and irritating, but how do you tell a well-intentioned person that? ("Can we just assume every day sucks but maybe some nice things happen? Stop asking how my day was, causing me to reflect on how shitty it all is." Seems like a good response for a happy marriage, right?) I mostly just play by the "if you don't have anything nice to say…." rule. Makes for a quiet house, but I can HEAR HIM BREATHING/chewing/snoring/biting his nails… I have always known I need lots of days off from everyone for extreme introversion, but now it makes me a terrible spouse. Living with other people has never been my forte. There's only so much energy I have for anything requiring human interaction, and that all gets sucked up within the first hour of being at work. THEN I TURN INTO THE HULK. (Points for living alone) Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.