It's been 37 years since I last moved in with a boyfriend. I figure some things are probably quite different for this generation of young people. But human nature hasn't changed in the last three or four decades.
Things Will Be Different
Even if this isn't your first rodeo, more adjustment than you expect will probably be necessary. Maybe you have lived with a guy before. Maybe you are a serial co-habiter. Even so, this time is going to be different.
He has different food preferences. He will be messier — or tidier — than your former partner. He will have different views on your relationship, what is OK and what is not.
If you have never lived with a guy before, you are probably in for a number of shocks and surprises. You may think that the fact that you have spent hours and maybe days at a time together means you are ready for anything. But you'd be wrong.
What Are Your Expectations?
What are the terms of your co-habitation? Have you thought about it? Talked about it?
Did you just get married? Or are you engaged, or liable to end up that way?
Perhaps you are leaving things looser, more open-ended, waiting to see where things head. Is marriage someday down the road on the radar? Maybe one or both of you never want to get married. Are both parties up to speed on that?
Do you both have set ideas about what your roles should be? Or, does only one of you have such notions? Are you deadset against roles? Things will get interesting, as you work out the terms of your agreement — and disagreement.
Will you stay home and cook and clean, or will you be supporting yourself? Will you have joint bank accounts or keep finances separate? Will one of you take care of certain expenses while the other handles different ones?
Are one or both of you adding children to the mix? Life just got more complex, with the possibilities of joy and satisfaction striding side by side with friction and misunderstandings.
Who Makes the Decisions?
Are you moving in to his place? Is he moving in to yours? Are you both moving in to a new place together?
This makes a lot of difference. If you are moving in to his, the natural tendency is to work around his stuff. If he is moving into yours, then it is vice versa. A brand new place is a great way to learn where the balance of power in your relationship lies.
Who chooses the furniture? Who determines what is kept and what is tossed?
Who cooks? How often? Who does the laundry? Who is picking up after who? (And don't assume that a woman will always deal with picking up her man's socks. Plenty of women need a full-time janitor behind them as they slop through their day.)
Say Goodbye to Being an Enigma
Remember when you would have a couple of hours before he'd see you, and you could go through your transformation into a thing of beauty in private? That's not so easy to do when you're living together. Do you put goo on your face or hair and leave it there?
The source of your beauty may no longer be a mystery. He'll see the bottles it all came from, spread across the shelves of your shared bathroom. He may be around when you have your yoga mat out, in sweats, twisted in unusual and precarious positions.
What About Your Friends?
Do his friends expect to drop in unannounced and spread out on the couch and chairs to watch sports every night of the week? Is he addicted to computer games that he plays at all hours with his nerdy buddies?
Do you expect your girlfriends to be welcome to sit and talk through his favorite programs? Does he grit his teeth through yours?
The nature of some of your gatherings are liable to change. More than likely, something has to give. Will you prefer to have plenty of private time together, or invite mutual friends for dinners and sociable evenings?
Are you both on the same page about all this?
Build on a Foundation of Honesty and Respect
No matter what your negotiations and adjustments will entail, be assured, things are going to change. It may be painful. At the very least it will be illuminating.
If you are able to talk about things now, you are ahead of the game. If you aren't too experienced at this skill yet, expect lots of practice, and be determined to get good at it. Learning to listen and really hear what your partner is saying is vital. So is learning to speak clearly and without judgment about your own needs and desires.
If you can make room for each other, and treat each other with respect, even when conflict and friction is in the air, your relationship is on a good track.
Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca
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