About two weeks ago it completed one year of Lee and I living together, just the two of us in the same house. And what fun have we had so far.
Yes, some adaptation was required and yes, some compromises had to be made by the two of us, but hey, we survived, and coming home to him is one of the best parts of my day. I was married before, so the concept of living together was not a surprise, but people are different, so the experience was completely different again, naturally. I think I developed a little set of rules to make sure we are enjoying the best about sharing the same roof, and not engaging in stupid little bickering about small stuff that really isn’t that important.
So, below are our little rules. It’s worth pointing out that none of them were decided beforehand, they were created with time and adaptations, leaving things to fall into place naturally. I guess that they shouldn’t even be called rules, they should just be called ‘a gentleman and a lady’s unspoken agreement’… ha!
1. How much stuff have you got?
This was the first thing he brought up, with surprise. When we moved in, it became very clear that my stuff needed a lot more room than his stuff. Oh dear. It was hard to justify the need I had to keep all I had. My reasoning was that I had already done a car boot sale and also given to charity a lot of the things that I didn’t need anymore, so what entered the flat HAD to stay. I was adamant that I would definitely need all that paperwork from 10 years ago, all the clothes that I hadn’t worn in ages and all the shoes that are kept neatly in drawers whilst I always wear my trusted pair of flats. He had to just put up with this. If I hadn’t given away so much beforehand, he would have a point, but I had already gone through that exercise and just couldn’t make myself do it twice in a space of 3 months. Oh, no no no! This, of course, ended up with me having 2 wardrobes against his one and muuuch more cupboard space. The delights of living with a woman, I say.
2. My space, your space
This one we quickly figured out. Lee and I love being together and spending time together, but we absolutely love our own space. We need it. So, quite quickly, it was established (again, without words, this just happened), that his ‘cave’ would be the spare room, whilst mine would be the front room. We didn’t initially intend for this to happen, as when we moved in we put my desk and his desk in the spare room. However, I found myself in the front room the entire time, so it made sense to move my desk there. This way, my ‘office’ is in the living room and his is in the back room. I never complained, because I ended up with a sea view. Cunning move.
3. He cooks, I wash
I’m a terrible cook. Well, I can cook to survive and I do it sometimes, but when you live with someone who does it 1000 times better than you, there is no reason why they shouldn’t take on the task. Lee is a lot more adventurous than me in the kitchen. He buys new spices, he tries different things, he has a good palate and the best thing is that I like his food. So, our unspoken agreement in the kitchen area is that he cooks and I wash the dishes. (I think I got the best end of the bargain here!)
4. Let me do the cleaning
I’m an extremely organised person. I like to keep paperwork organised, I like to have clean and clutter-free surfaces and I hate piles of stuff that have no place to go – this doesn’t happen in my home. Lee, on the other hand, is more of a laid back type and doesn’t care if the place is messy. My ask on this one is that he just let me do it. Just let me get on with it and be my own tidy self and also tidy him up. I mean, he can easily lie down and watch a movie with lots of stuff out of place in the living room, whilst I can’t. I can only relax when there is no mess around. I’m not saying I’m pedantic, but I’m uncomfortable in an untidy place and, in a situation like that, I can’t think of anything else but getting up and… tidying it all up. Pronto.
5. I do laundry, you take the rubbish out
I enjoy separating the clothes, washing the clothes, hanging them to dry, folding them nicely and putting them away, making sure our wardrobes are always tidy (ish – ok, I’m not that much of a freak!). I refuse to do any ironing, so it’s paramount that the clothes are hung properly and, although I tried leaving the task to Lee a few times, sadly he just doesn’t seem capable enough – the same way it works with me and cooking, I suppose, so each to their own, eh? Lee retributes the favour by taking out the rubbish.
6. My food, your food
Unfortunately, Lee and I have a few very different tastes in food. For example, he hates fish – apart from tuna – and I like fish a lot. I love vegetables and he couldn’t care less about them. So, we decided that during the week, we cook our own dinners, so I can have my fish and he can have whatever he wants. Then, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, he is my personal chef and we eat stuff we both like. Yummy arrangement.
7. Leave me alone
I think I wouldn’t be able to live with someone near me the whole time. I like to be alone. I like my own company. I like being in complete silence sometimes, just me and a book. I like to watch movies on my own, I like to write and I like to re-organise drawers – haha, I AM sad! Lee also enjoys his quiet moments by himself and this mutual respect is amazing. We don’t need to be glued to each other and the fact that we both feel the same way is pure luck.
8. You shall not become cave people
There is a balance between spending time apart and isolating yourself. Instinctively, I think Lee and I know what this time is before we become two strangers! You can’t just indulge in constant isolation and expect your partner to be there for you, just waiting with open arms. The time apart is to do your own thing. But the time together should follow suit and be constant.
9. My way, my way!
I think one of the biggest lessons of living together is to realise that things will not always be your way. I’m a strong-willed person and I can fight to prove a point to great extent, but living together is not always about that. Sometimes, to keep peace, it’s just easier to let go. So what if he forgets his towel on the bed sometimes? So what if he empties the dishwasher but leaves practically all the cupboard doors open afterwards? So what if he never closes a drawer completely (arghhhh!)? I suppose this small stuff is exactly that: small and not worthy of an argument.
10. The enjoyment of two
Living together is a mixture of many things. You get angry, you get frustrated, you feel selfish, you feel like you are getting/giving more than you are giving/getting sometimes. But then you watch movies together, you cook together, you get and give lots of hugs and cuddles and kisses and you have that person to talk to all the time and that’s great. Living together with your partner is like living with your best friend. It’s a huge step, because it’ll tell you black and white if you are compatible for the long run. A rule of thumb to make the decision, I guess, is this: you should only live with someone if you can’t live without them.
Oh, and also on the subject, I recently saw this advert and absolutely loved it! It’s an Ikea one about… erm, living together! Just click here to watch.