Moving in with your significant other is a big step—one I really didn’t know if I was ready for. Nevertheless, I’m so glad I made the leap.
Almost six months ago, Michael and I moved into our cozy apartment in Medford and finally put our long-distance chapter behind us. I’ve learned a lot about him since then, but I’ve also learned a lot about myself and about what it means to be in a relationship.
I’m a little crazy
OK so maybe I already knew this, but it takes on an entirely different meaning when another person has to deal with me all the time. (God bless him.) It’s hard to know what to say when your partner is freaking out about something irrational, like I do pretty much on a daily basis, but Michael has learned over time that all it takes to calm me down is a therapeutic combination of wine and Netflix.
He’s a little crazy
Michael certainly gets worked up sometimes too and everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress. I’ve learned that while I like to be comforted and waited on, he likes to be left alone. Note that this is not easy when confined to a small apartment (especially when only one room has AC), but all things come with practice!
Your SO should be your best friend
I once took a class in college about interpersonal communication and we took a test to find out what our love style is. Are you a hopeless romantic? Do you often have several lovers at the same time? Do you feel angry when you see your partner with someone else? Each of these points to one of six love styles.
I got Storge, which refers to a romantic relationship that grows from a strong friendship, and this is definitely true of my relationship with Michael. We were introduced through mutual friends and spent a whole summer hanging out as a group.
After several months of visiting each other at college in the Carolinas, he finally convinced me to be his girlfriend and less than a month later, I was hospitalized for a pulmonary embolism.
Michael rushed to my side without hesitation and even slept several nights in a chair by my bed. He saw me in a hospital gown with no makeup and adjusted my pillows when I felt like I was getting blisters on my butt. Since then, I’ve never felt like I had to be anything but my true self when I’m around him. That’s something I’ve never had with any other guy and it’s made all the difference in our relationship.
Treat each other as equals
As you can tell, Michael is much more of a caretaker-type than I am. Yet, I’m much more tidy than he is. We each have our “thing” and I think we generally complement each other pretty well, but the important thing when living together is making sure you share equal amounts of responsibility.
If one cooks, the other does the dishes. If one sweeps the floor, the other does the laundry. If you’re going to spend the next 70+ years together, you want to start off on the right foot. That means sharing the weight.
I know what you’re all thinking now – “Where did you find a man who cooks and does laundry?!” Believe me when I tell you it was not always this way. Moving in with your SO is kind of like getting a new puppy – you have to train him to do tricks and teach him not to pee everywhere (kidding, but not).
Love isn’t always convenient, but it’s worth it
Michael and I started dating at the beginning my junior year (his senior year) of college and when he took off for China after graduation, I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to make it work. I knew how special Michael was, but to be honest, I was not at all ready for that level of commitment.
My senior year, I lived in a huge house with three of my best girlfriends and lived a “work hard, play hard” lifestyle. Michael and I FaceTimed every so often and I even flew across the world to visit him. Then, when I moved to Thailand, he came to stay with me, we traveled together, etc., etc., but it wasn’t until I came home that I realized I was ready to commit. We’d both had our adventures and hung on to our relationship just long enough to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, let me make one thing clear – it was important to both of us that we never held each other back and we agreed early on that we would seize any and all post-grad opportunities with no regrets. We each certainly made the most of that and although it was hard, I think we’re both better for it.
While sometimes I definitely miss living with my girlfriends, I love living with Michael and I love where my life is headed. I’ve found a career that at I love in a city that I love and while I don’t have sufficient funds to do much traveling at the moment, I know that’s something that’s important to us both and I can’t wait for all the trips we’ll plan down the road. What seemed like a big commitment doesn’t feel so scary when I look at all the wonderful things it’s leading me to.