A little over a week ago, I started doing something I hadn’t done in seven years: live with someone else.
Seven years ago that person was my sister. This time, it’s my boyfriend.
After a year and a half of being in a relationship, we started talking about taking this new step. We talked about it and then talked about it some more. Neither of us have ever lived with someone. Well, there was that summer when I shacked up with a boyfriend, but I knew that was temporary and I lived out of one suitcase for the two months I was in his apartment.
This time is different. Furniture has to be integrated, bills have to be split, and there is no anticipated expiration.
Sharing your space can be tough no matter what.
Even living with my sister was an adjustment. Our own mother was skeptical that it would work and it was a hard at first. It probably took us the entire first year of living together before we figured out how best to communicate our feelings, how to divide household duties, that we could be greeted with a “How was your day?” as soon as we walked in the house and answer with more than a resentful grumble.
With my boyfriend, it is navigating those roommate issues plus doing our best to keep the love alive.
He moved his stuff in and we discussed where his leather chairs go and that my velvet chair might need to be given away. A razor made its way into the container for my makeup brushes. I discovered that he had a lot of button down shirts. He found out that I have a lot of “projects” (refinishing a bench, sewing a dress, reprinting and hanging photos I took) that I’ve been meaning to get around to finishing.
When my cousin said to get married in my 20’s, she was probably right. I would have been more malleable then, more able to adapt to living a different life to accommodate the needs of someone else.
I would be challenged to be different and that was a little terrifying. I like my projects! I like those empty boxes stacked up in my storage closet! I like that sometimes I’ll eat yogurt for dinner!
Then again, I have been talking about refinishing that bench for about five years, maybe it was time to either do it or shut up about it. And those boxes probably did need to be thrown out. And yogurt isn’t necessarily what a nutritionist would call a balanced meal…
Furniture placement is a negotiation and so are the lines and edges of who we are. I don’t want to change him. He doesn’t want to change me. But, in the midst of the rooms of *our* apartment, we’re finding where there might also be room for us to grow.