I’m definitely beyond excited and happy to be living with with my partner. But, I find that I’m struggling with living with someone who owns their own house for a lot of reasons…
Reason, the first: I really wanted to buy my own place
At least I tried a few times. And, though I ended up living in an even more amazing home than I could have ever bought for myself, I’m still sad that I didn’t get to live out that empowered “the sisters are doing it for themselves” narrative.
Reason, the second: I feel so disconnected from the place in which I live
Not only is this not my beautiful house that I’m living in, this is also not my dining table that I’m using. This is not my chair that I’m sitting on. This is not my rug under my feet. Those are not my chotchkies on the side table. Those are not my photos on the walls — all of travels and experiences that also are not mine.
I look around Mike’s our house (oof, I have to constantly remind myself to say that) and I realize that I really had no idea how little of an impact I’d make on this space, once I moved in.
In fact, the other night Mike’s childhood friend was sitting with us in the living room, when she looked around and asked me, “So, where is all your stuff.” And I responded (a lot more bitterly than I intended to) “Yeah… where IS all my stuff!?”
When I finally looked around and realized what I have left over — in the aftermath of divorcing and moving — of the parts of my collection of things that remain, it’s really not much. Basically one rooms-worth of furniture, and lots of boxes full of photos and old journals in the garage.
Yes, these are all just things, and things aren’t what matters. That was a lesson I learned this past year, when all these things that I thought were so important just weren’t anymore. But I’m also learning right now that things also have a way of grounding you.
I talked to my friend whose boyfriend moved into her house full of her things, and she told me that he also had similar feelings. At times they would bubble in angry “yeah, where ARE my things?” moments — surprising them both with his unexpected rage. And then he would wrestle with feelings of guilt, because what little things he still had were residing in a beautiful home, instead of his old shitty studio apartment.
Reason, the third: I feel like I didn’t “earn” this living situation
To put it bluntly, I feel like a fake. I feel like an asshole. I feel like a failure. I feel like a spoiled brat. I feel like everyone is judging me. It’s a weird place to be in — feeling so lucky, and feeling so shitty, and then feeling shitty for feeling shitty about being lucky.
When I shared these feels with another friend who’s gone through a similar experience, she said, “Welcome to the secret society of imposter syndrome ‘housewives.’ (Note: none of the women I know in this position are actually housewives.)” Imposter syndrome housewife — yes! That’s exactly what I’m feeling like! And knowing that someone else gets it, made me feel so much better. My friend assured me that it does get better, but it may not ever completely go away. She said, even though they’ve been married for years, and her career is also awesome, that she “struggles every day to justify living under his roof.” Oof.
For now, I know that this is not my beautiful house, and I still do not know how I got here. But the fact of the matter is, I am here and, despite my struggles, I am thrilled about it. I’m also going to continue to work out my imposter syndrome housewife issues with my partner and my therapist.
Anyone else find themselves living in the home your partner owns? Was it a struggle? Did it ease up? Was there a magic fix? Where are my fellow imposter syndrome housemates?