No matter how well you know someone, you really don’t know them completely until you live together. The same concept applies to friends – sometimes living together is great, sometimes not so much. Personalities either fit comfortably, or they don’t – you have to find the right balance.
In the interest of transparency – my boyfriend, Will, and I have been dating for three years now. We started as a summer fling, graduated to a college couple, completed meeting the extended family, and headed off into the real world with one dog (now two) and a house awaiting us in Portland. Don’t get me wrong – we semi lived together in college, switching between his apartment and mine – sometimes overstaying our welcomes. But this – in this post grad world, the “real world” if you will- this is real living together. Him, Me, Snugs & Ruby the terror hounds, and what I like to call a “baby house.”
There are more than five things I have learned… but here are 5:
1. The Battle Of Laundry – Compromising
Now this may not happen with laundry – but there is a battle in all the households I know of – and ours is a laundry battle. We have to haul the basket through the house, out the back, down the steps and into what I can only describe as a horror movie basement – and this is Portland, so 90% of the time its raining. It’s dank, dark, creepy and honestly gives me the heebie jeebies. This has lead to what I call (as you can see) the Battle Of Laundry – no one wants to do it, but it has to be done. The players in the game? Guilt Trips, Begging, Chore Assigning, Whining (mostly from me), and finally resolute splitting of laundry habits. Moral of the story – you learn how to compromise.
2. Turning A Bad Day Into A Good One – It’s The Little Things
One of the things that I love about living with Will is that he knows when I have had a bad day – and he tries to make it better. Whether its bringing me a flower, or offering to make and clean up from dinner, or just knowing when it’s time to run a hot bubble bath- there is nothing like having someone who knows just what you need, and how to make it happen.
3. House Cleaning – Team Work
I think as a child I thought that magical elves came into the house and magically made it clean – it was either that or the cleaning service, one of the two. I was also completely oblivious to how must dust, dirt, and dog hair accumulates during the week. Our house is teeny – smaller than my college apartment – and it gets filthy. When it’s time to clean you get a system down that works for you – split the vacuuming, dusting, occasionally mopping and general clean up. Finding your team dynamic is powerful.
4. The Things That Annoy You – They Matter
Pet peeves are a real thing people. My number one is a backwards toilet paper roll. For me – there is nothing worse – except for possibly when there are dirty utensils in the sink. Can’t. Handle. It. For Will it is when I yell “WHAT?” when I can’t hear. It matters – so you try to change it, at least a little bit.
5. It’s Not All Rainbows and Sunshine – Reality
The reality is you can’t be happy with someone 100% of the time, within four walls. Sometimes you argue, sometimes the toilet paper roll gets put in backwards, sometimes you just want the house to yourself. You have to learn how to function as a family, and sometimes that means you need to take that glass of wine to the porch and have a silent few minutes, sometimes you need to talk it out and sometimes everything is wonderful.
Living together is quite the adventure – lots of learning for everyone – enjoy it!