When Miriam first moved in with Bryan, her girlfriends from New York emailed to ask how it was going. Her response? “Mostly good, but also I want to punch him in the face most of the time.”
Granted she just blogged about what an incredible bitch she is, but here’s the skinny on that story: the surprising thing about moving in together is that, no matter how much you plan for it, no matter how excited you are about spending all the time in the world together, it means you have to work even harder than you already were to keep the romance. Now you’re roommates AND lovers. You have to do things like clean, buy groceries, pay utility bills, and be together all the time, not just when you make plans. You have to work at not getting sick of each other. Because of the constant cohabiting, you sometimes have to remind yourself that you still like each other, let alone love each other.
Ellyn’s response was a little different when asked how it was going: “So much less dramatic than living with girls.”
She moved in with Shaun after dating him for ten months, because one, he moved to New York from Philly and it made more sense financially, two, they were really excited to see each other more than on weekends, and three, she needed to get out of her roommate situation pronto. Except sometimes drama and arguing makes you email all day and sit down for “house meetings” a lot more often than a non-dramatic roommate does. In fact, she hardly talks to Shaun during the work day and they often don’t meet at home until after 9PM, and well, then she has to blog. Right now, it’s ironic that he’s whining that she isn’t paying attention to him while she’s writing a blog about…paying attention to him.
Miriam used to make fun of the whole married-with-children-so-we-must-have-date-nights phenomenon. She used to think that moving in with Bryan would mean she’d have that much more time to spend with her friends. (Insert obnoxious buzzer sound.) Wrong. Moving in with Bryan means that not only does she have to make time to spend with her friends because if she doesn’t she’ll get really sick of Bryan, she has to make time to spend with Bryan in addition to living with him. Watching movies time, restaurant time, hiking time, museum time. Oh yeah, and then she also has to make time for herself. Ha.
Ellyn and Shaun started their relationship long-distance, so when they actually were together, they did nothing except hang out. It was always on the weekend, so they weren’t distracted by work or obligations. Now that they live together, they sometimes forget to really be together. Shaun still thinks “date night” is unnecessary, because they don’t have kids, but he seems to be converting as life gets busier (and it’s only going to get worse, so it’s best to establish good habits now). It doesn’t have to be an all-day date or big event, sometimes it’s the little things, like talking on the phone at lunch or watching an episode of your favorite show before bed, or even waking up at the same time and getting ready together.
If we have learned nothing else in the last few months, it is this: what starts out as hard work will eventually find a natural rhythm. And ladies, here is a minor but so-very-effective living together trick: cuddle time, before bed, every single night. That way, even if you miss one of those damn together times, you have a moment once a day, where you come together as a couple, and you do it in a way that’s much more reminiscent of the early days of a relationship when it’s all fun and games and crushes and butterflies. Relationships will always be game-changers in life – it’s how you play it that counts.