5 Things I Learned in a Week of Living with my Fiancé
I share this as it is relevant, but also marks our three year anniversary. So I find it ironic that we are this far in our relationship, engaged and these are the things becoming aware to me while living with my fiancé Scott. I have been living with him for just about two weeks now and it hasn't been terrible, but it has definitely been a huge adjustment. I actually lived with a boyfriend a few years back, and we had a two bedroom two bath apartment for about 5 years together (yikes, that's a long time) - so this isn't new territory. We even had separate bedrooms and bathrooms so that we could have our own space; the first couple years were actually good.
When I had moved in with a guy for the first time, I was really only bringing personal belongings and furniture to fill my bedroom. It didn't feel like we were moving in together as a couple where we would decorate and buy all the apartment necessities to build a home from the ground up. My financial priorities also laid elsewhere and I didn't want to spend money on furniture and house stuff - so, many things were hand me downs or items I grabbed from my parents house.
In retrospect, I should have listened to my mother when it came to moving in with a significant other before being more seriously committed. Quite honestly, I moved out because my parents wanted me to start paying rent at home, my boyfriend needed to move out and found a good spot; so my logic was, if I have to start paying rent, might as well move out and with my boyfriend.
My ex and I grew up significantly the time we were living together, and ultimately grew apart. There were many things that he expected of me while living there, and, I didn't want to do any of them due to his attitude and lack of being able to properly communicate those matters to me. I have a major issue when people talk down to me, or belittle me. I will be honest that I am a messy person, I have tons of clothes and I'll just leave things here and there. I'm a clutter queen, but it's something I've been working on....because I want to, for myself and my fiancé.
Now, being engaged to Scott and really, truly looking forward to the next step in our relationship which was moving in together - I was in the right headspace to do so. My mother had also given me the condition that if I wanted to move back home (after moving out of my ex's apt in 2014), then I couldn't move back out again until I was married (I was thinking...okay...c'mon mom, I'll try). My parents didn't take that much convincing after Scott proposed, to be okay with us moving in together. But enough of that, let me share the 5 things I've learned about myself, the whole situation, or that I did in the first week of living with a guy (round 2, and final round).
1. CLEAR COMMUNICATION
This is by far the most important for a relationship in general. Scott and I have always maintained a high level of communication with each other. By doing so, we are open and honest and leave little to no room for misinterpretation. In regards to moving in together, we made sure to communicate with each other on how we wanted the exact move-in process to be executed (I even created a time table for move-in day). With sorting out house utilities and all the usual things, Scott and I made sure to talk through who would be setting up which utility accounts and who's handling payment. I admit, there have been a couple moments that my voice escalated because I was annoyed at a couple repetitive things that Scott was doing - but I know to speak in a calmer and more level headed tone next time to get my point across. Pretty much any issues, grief or good things regarding the condo or living/being together are verbally exchanged between us.
2. A HOME FOR EVERYTHING + KEEPING TIDY
I worked with Scott to find a specific home for everything we own, so we both know exactly where everything is. It was also a fun bonding/nesting (minus expecting baby) activity for us and allowed us to make checklists of anything we needed to buy for our home. So now, I feel like I've set up a good foundation at home by knowing where everything is located and have no excuse, for example, as to why my jacket is laying around when it should be hung up in the shared coat closet. You also would not believe how much I loath cleaning dishes, and doing any sort of cleaning related task. I also came from living with my parents for the past 2 years and didn't have to worry at all about cleaning the home and all the things that come with making sure everything works and is in tip top shape (kudos to my parents). For some reason, my cleaning senses were kicked into overdrive living in this new place - I always have to wipe down surfaces or immediately clean dishes after using. I surprise myself by actually wanting to do a quick mop or Swiffer sweep so I can just keep things tidy for us. I don't think that it's in any way conforming to this ideal of being a domesticated partner, I now know how important it is to keep the space that surrounds me tidy if I want to achieve certain goals such as not misplacing things or having items buried under other items; as well as creating a space that can be used to relaxed or used to do work in. I noticed that I have so many different things I want to do like film videos (whether myself or product), photograph, do DIY projects, etc; and I can't do that if my space is cluttered and chaotic.
3. SLEEPING FOR 2
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am an extremely light sleeper. I will use a fan or white noise machine to help drown out background noise so I can sleep. Every little thing can wake me up, so you could imagine that I now have to adjust my sleeping patterns because I'm dealing with Scott's snoring and different work hours. This is a good thing, because I'm not staying up as late on my laptop (since that is something that would bother Scott if he wanted to sleep). I also kept waking up sporadically throughout the first few nights not knowing where I was because the environment around me was new.
This isn't a surprise, but although Scott has told me I should decorate how I'd like - there are some things which are not in my full control since we are splitting cost on furniture or it's his belongings. For example, I'm trying to keep the living room area from looking like a gaming center, so I had to come to grips with the gaming console and things being out in plain site. Thankfully, I found ways to strategically cover up some items. We are also sharing the second bedroom as an office/closet. I had to order desks for us and chairs. I wanted to go for a specific look, but of course Scott did not like any of my chair options. Therefore, I had to find chair styles that both him and I liked but also fit the design style I was going for. Scott also has an extensive collection of sports memorabilia and such that he wanted displayed, so to compromise, I proposed a nice, simple and chic gallery wall that would mix in other prints, artwork and photographs.
5. DOING UNEXPECTED THINGS FOR EACH OTHER....AND YOURSELF
About 5 days into living together, I already felt the monotony of living with someone for consecutive days. I was used to seeing Scott 1-2 times throughout the week and over the weekends. So although at first, it didn't feel like this stark change where I was waking up to Scott and seeing him every day - I started to get the feeling like I was around him all the time (even though we are gone at work during the day). And every time I saw him after work, he always wanted to be lovey and cuddle - when all I wanted was my own space. This made me start to get crabby around him because I not only felt unsettled in the condo (since I'm still organizing our stuff and ordering/building furniture), but I also needed to carve out specific time for myself and specific time for Scott. This does go hand in hand with communication, as I ended up telling Scott my feelings and frustrations; but before doing so....he actually surprised me with a bouquet of flowers and told me he thought I was feeling down, so wanted to surprise me with flowers (which he knows I love). Little things like that really lifted my spirits and kind of got me out of the funk - I also made sure to separate myself so I could work on blog or other work related things, as well as treat myself to self pampering with bubble baths and face masks. Scott and I had decided one of the nights that we wanted to try making stuffed peppers - so I picked up the ingredients during my lunch break, and after work I actually cooked the entire meal and had it just about ready before Scott came home from work. By the time he had gotten home, the kitchen was so spotless that he didn't even know I had the peppers baking in the oven. To his pleasant surprise, he got to sit down, unwind and enjoy dinner - and that made me happy to bring his day to a close like that (and I am not someone who likes to cook, or strives to be the perfect housewife kind of gal). I think you discover to do new things or things you don't typically do (but you feel compelled to do them) for your significant other.
All these things were amplified while just starting to live with Scott, and it's not like they're new things I learned, discovered about myself, or needed to improve upon to specifically uphold a healthy home; they all tie in together and I feel are underlying values or behaviors within a relationship. Living together has been a test on my patience and usually high strung nature with certain aspects of my life - so I've definitely learned to take a step back and chill the F out.