She Said: When Moving in Together, Communicate and Don’t Nitpick

Keeping the peace.
Keeping the peace.

It’s my second anonymous guest blog! I mean, someone else writing anonymously for my blog.

While writing this post on moving in together, I wondered if other couples I knew had the same experience. Did they feel more independent after moving in together? If yes or no, why? And what were some things they learned about each other and their relationship in the process? I first asked my friends John and Jane (names changed to protect privacy and save face, because apparently John, as you’ll see below, was kind of gross, though he and Tom share the same philosophy when they run out of clean underwear: buy more).

You can read John’s response here, while Jane’s (much longer, more detailed) response is below!

As John stated, 2007 seems like an eternity ago. I remember being equally excited and hesitant to move in. Was I making myself too available before there was even a ring on my finger? What if we got along horribly? 

Can we really coexist in the same space?

I mean, I did see MOLD grow in his apartment sink from unwashed dishes, mildew in his shower, rotten rice he left in the rice cooker. There was also that time I saw him go to Walmart to get more underwear because he “ran out,” i.e., all 30 of his were in the hamper.* Oh wait, he had no hamper, just a mountain of dirty clothes on the floor, nearly touching the ceiling.

I was fearful- petrified of what I was signing myself up for. I mean, as a pampered only child, taking care of myself was already exhausting enough, was I ready to take on more?

So I tossed my fear aside and made the jump.

We had to share toothpaste and instead of rolling the toothpaste from the bottom, he pushed it in the middle. He would leave and still leaves the toilet roll empty after using it all.

He left the toilet seat up ALL THE TIME and sometimes I’d literally fall in in the middle of the night.

He decided that the dining table was the perfect place to place his dirty socks after he came home from work; that instead of washing the ten cups in the sink to reuse, he would just grab a new cup to refill. Dirty dishes were left exactly where he finished eating- and not an inch closer to the sink. Oatmeal encrusted bowls needed soaking for hours if I missed the dishes he left in his office. The trash piled up high and higher.

Despite these frustrations and more fights than I’d like to recall, moving in together brought us not only physically closer, but emotionally as well. We began to have RPS’ (relationship planning sessions) where we would spend time analyzing our relationship and discussing where we could each change and grow to better our relationship. We had hip hop dance-offs in our living room, sang oldies karaoke off our little TV, randomly broke into song and dance in our kitchen, played Monopoly deal and card games like War and Speed (remember that?).

We competed to see who could jump and roll into bed more smoothly, created a nickname for our little townhouse, adopted a little cat, and would and still do stay up for hours at night just chatting about life.

Many nights feel like a fun sleepover when you move in with your best friend.

We adapted, we changed, and we each grew and continue to grow in our own ways. I learned to utilize my psychology degree and teaching experience with kindergartners (this made me laugh) and use positive reinforcement on a daily basis.

“Can you take out the goddamn trash?” just wasn’t cutting it, as it was followed by him giving me the stink eye and ignoring me. But me jokingly saying, “My, the trash man hasn’t come by in a long time!” got a chuckle out of him and often propelled him into action.

“Thanks SO much, I appreciate it SO much,” sure worked a lot better.

Singing a made-up “I am Cinderella” song each time I did laundry seemed to help him acknowledge and appreciate that he had gained clean clothes/towels/sheets for life in living with me.

Glorious was the day I figured out we could EACH have our own toothpaste and not share. Though I slowly adapted and didn’t care how my toothpaste was pushed. Slowly, over the years, I became less meticulous and learned to kick his clothes to his corner. 🙂 It’s safe to say we adapted to each other. He has made me less anal, and I made him more anal. I guess that’s how we stay married.

Now, five shared homes and eight years since we first moved in together, he still does some of the things he did when I first started living with him. Is it still annoying at times? Yes, but for the most part, you learn to accept and move on to maintain sanity. Isn’t that what marriage is all about? Accepting the good and the bad? Yes, he will still randomly leave dirty dishes all over the house. But hey, that’s a small price to pay for a husband who cooks for us. Does he still leave clothes lying around randomly? Yes, I found a dirty shirt and hat in the garage the other day, but I’d rather a messier husband than an anal one who nitpicks at me.

Moving in together definitely had its challenges, though none of what we went through came even remotely close to the slap in the face and wake up call that was having a child together. But that’s what relationships are all about, a constant evolution and change. Neither of us is the same person as we were in 2007, just as our relationship is not same. Our philosophy is that as long as both of us are dedicated to growing and changing for the better, that it will all be OK. 

Thank you so much for sharing, Jane!

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