At some point in your life, whether it’s through the natural process of dating, or just living in an expensive city that benefits you to have a roommate, you’ll likely to live with a woman. It can be a substantial move that affects numerous parts of your life, for better and worse.
Living with anyone, let alone your partner, is not easy task, however. Anyone who has had a roommate of any kind knows that it’s hard to click; even those who had moved in with friends know that spending time outside the house is very different than sharing space within it.
So living with a woman is not without its unique circumstances that a man much be aware. Now, keeping in mind that certainly by no means are every man and every woman the same, here are some specific things to keep in mind that could, if need be, be applied in a more general sense to any living situation for any partner.
Learn to Actually Clean
Let cleaning not be confused with tidying, organizing, sorting, rearranging, or anything like that. Similarly, making sure that a place isn’t completely messy isn’t the same as making sure a place is exceptionally clean. This is especially true for the bathroom, the place where living together means revealing parts of you that sometimes you prefer hidden. Actually cleaning, which involves scrubbing, dusting, and mopping, among other things, is something that takes legitimate time and can’t be done during a commercial break.
As two different women told me after moving in with their partners, “I’m not your mother.” So clean up after yourself; and make sure it’s actually cleaning and not just moving things around.
This is going to be the most important component of any living situation, but especially one when the two people are sharing a bedroom. With so much interaction, so much shared space, it’s important that each party find their own from time to time.
What’s key to note is that seeking out alone time isn’t necessarily a reaction to something negative that happen. Everyone needs time to be in a quiet, isolated environment, either deep in thought or completely distracted. And no one really wants to have to explain or justify this, nor should they. So just accept that sometimes you’re not going to be wanted, and it’s not personal.
Give More Space
In addition to giving someone space to be alone, you’re also going to have to give up physical space to the aesthetic of the apartment. It’s likely that the interest in how an apartment is decorated and adorned is no shared equally by both parties. Moving in with your partner is a great time upgrade your furniture, as well as your taste; get a real mattress, put that poster in a frame, and trust that you may not know everything about painting, furniture quality, and pricing. These are sacrifices that may seem annoying initially but will pay off in the long run.
Also, chances are too that the wardrobes between you and your partner aren’t equal in size either, so make sure she gets the bigger closet space.
Sex is Different
The interesting thing is about moving in together is that you two always know where you’ll end up at when the night comes to a close, and that you’ll always be returning to each other. That eliminates a bit of mystery when it comes to sex, and it also means that you may have to make a different kind of effort to make it happen.
Even if you were heavily dating before moving in, sex is something that can be rather anticipated when you meet up; when you’re living together, the prospect is always there. When dating, both parties are likely ready for it to happen; when living together, you’re both going to have to get on the same page. This goes back to one half wanting to be alone sometimes when the other doesn’t. It happens. While that may seem like a negative, the positive is that sex becomes pretty much anytime, anyplace.
Be Patient and Contrite
At some point, you will do something wrong. We all do, with varying frequencies and intensities. But it will happen. And chances are, you might not know about it for a while. That is to say, when you are living in the same space, arguments and fights aren’t going to transpire the same way. Unless it’s something really bad where one party walks out, the disagreement will result in you two not talking for a while. It’s going to be awkward and strange, but that’s how it goes. That’s because most of us aren’t so quick to make good again, and want the other to acknowledge and accept what was done wrong. If there is a problem, it needs to be processed internally, and time, and then later talking, will eventually heal all.
Before that happens though, things can be tense. It’s all for the best. Plus then, you’re prime for make-up sex.
Anthony Marcusa is a Toronto-based freelance journalist whose writing dabbles in film, TV, music, sports, and relationships – though not necessarily in that order. He’s simultaneously youthfully idealistic and curmudgeonly cynical. You can follow him on Twitter @MrAnthonyWrites.