I’ve been living with David for nearly one year now – an achievement I deem absolutely worthy of its own blog post.
I’ve read many articles about how important it is to live with your significant other before you get married (not that marriage for us is on the horizon quite yet). I guess you could say it’s like a mini trial run…
Because he may look absolutely gorgeous in that crisp white shirt, smiling over at you at your favourite Indian restaurant on a Saturday night (when you haven’t seen him in five days) but is he still as gorgeous when you come home after another day at work and find him on the PS4 with pizza sauce stuck to his beard?
This is the sort of thing you can decide while you live with someone, I like to think. And yes, I still find him gorgeous (after throwing a flannel at him). And I like to think he still finds me attractive even though the second I step in from work I pull on a pair of too-short pyjama bottoms with puppy paw prints on (sexy and comfy).
Because if I were to get married one day, I’d like to look deep into his eyes, hand in hand, and passionately recite my vows while still thinking “yes, I love you. I love you and want to be with you always even though you drop curry sauce onto our carpet and clean it off with your sock when you think I’m not looking.”
And I hope he’s gazing back at me with the same amount of fervour thinking “I love you despite the fact if I lit a match in our bedroom at night I would turn to ash instantaneously.”
I didn’t know what it was going to be like living with David. I nagged him the other day that my biggest issue was how he often threw the bath towels on the floor after using them, which made them smell stale. And then I thought, well, if that’s my biggest problem, I’m probably very lucky.
During my time as a reporter I’ve read, and written, stories of violence between couples, of screaming matches so loud the neighbours can hear. I’ve heard about young girls in other countries with no choice but to marry the man her family chose for her. Or the girl with parents so religious she could never even consider living with her boyfriend until he becomes her husband. I often take for granted how much freedom I have – David and I had not been dating even five months before we decided to live together.
Everyone is different, but if I had to give any advice to couples moving in together for the first time it would be this:
1) Communicate – I’ve tried the silent treatment, being sulky in another room; it doesn’t work. Talking it out – telling each other how you feel is so important, even if it’s difficult, even if you cry all the way through it, just talk.
2) Cut each other some slack – this was one I really had to learn, and one my Mum tells me to do all the time. David and I went from seeing each other as and when we both wanted, to ALL the time. Sometimes he arrives home from work grumpy and in no mood to chat – instead of taking it personally I’ve learnt to chill out, make him a drink, and give him space. And he does the same for me.
3) Laugh lots – laughing (as long as it’s not at a completely inapproriate time) can really take the edge off things. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve snapped instantly out of a bad mood due to David making me laugh.
And don’t freak out too much if your other half constantly throws your towel in a heap on the floor – I’ve decided just to hang mine in the second bathroom…