Living with another person is challenging no matter who the person is. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house where I always had plenty of my own space. During college I reluctantly learned to share my space, and I’m quite certain I was difficult to live with. Post-college, I lived with roommates most of the time for financial reasons. When I became a homeowner several years ago, I decided to rent out my extra room to earn some rental income. Having a roommate is still different. It’s different from living with a boy.
I am 32 years-old, and I have never lived with a boy before. For as long as I can remember, I told myself I wanted to wait until I was engaged or married to live with my guy. Just as I would never judge my friends who have lived with a boyfriend- or two or three- please don’t judge our seemingly old-fashioned way of doing things. The choice was simple for us, because at this point, there is literally nothing that would make me not want to be roomies-for-life with Ben. He is the only person I would allow to bring ragged and ugly 15 year-old Timberland boots into my condo.
Here are my five tips for maintaining sanity during the cohabitation process…
- Be patient!
Patience truly is a virtue. It was a huge effort for me to be mediocre in the patience-department. With patience, I learned that Ben’s Hawaiian shirt collection served a purpose- Spirit Day at school. (Insert eye roll) Ben also taught me that moving at lightning speed isn’t always the best approach. My “genius” idea to move the kitchen dishes by laying them across the backseats of our SUVs in lieu of using boxes proved to be problematic. Ben was patient with me, but I’m sure he did enjoy saying, “I told you so!” when the dishes broke en route to the condo.
Ben may win in the patience department, but when it comes to purging, I’m the queen. By no means am I a minimalist, but I am great at getting rid of stuff that no longer serves its purpose. For example, several dozen lonely socks. If I haven’t found the match in a year, chances are that I never will. Into the garbage they go! Ben has a hard time throwing things away. If you saw my Instagram story last month, I am happy to report that he reluctantly parted with his bag of random napkins and tissues. In all seriousness, Ben’s desire to hold onto stuff speaks to how sentimental he is. (He still has the parking garage receipt from our first date. It is proudly displayed on the fridge). Everyday I feel blessed to have Ben as “my guy”.
3. Make Lists
This is an area where Ben and I are always on the same page. We love making lists! When it came to the move, we created an Excel spreadsheet outlining where things were going. There were items that had to be given away, sold, sent to storage or the dump, and set up in the condo. We also labeled everything clearly so that the movers knew where everything was going. The spreadsheet was also very handy on moving day. We even gave a copy to the moving company.
4. Admit Your Faults
Change has always been hard for me, and it’s even harder when I feel like I’m not completely in control. I don’t like the unknown. Last week, I got very worked up. I guess I envisioned living in a sea of boxes forever and felt hopeless. (Dramatic, I know.) Admitting to Ben that I struggle with change immediately eased some of the feelings of stress. I also quickly remembered that this is the best and most exciting change. Ben had to admit that he hoards various take-out disposables; plastic utensils, napkins, chopsticks, and miniature soy sauce packets. (It’s shocking, I know. He isn’t actually perfect.)
5. Know When to Walk Away
My final tip is not to walk away from the other person. Rather, I highly suggest knowing when to walk away from the situation together. One night, while being completely overwhelmed by Ben’s mountain of stuff, we walked away. I was almost to the point of total brat-tears over something that was essentially unimportant. We literally walked hand-in-hand into town where we enjoyed dinner together and a cocktail. (Okay, maybe I had two). It is important to be able to physically walk-away from the chaos, take a step back, and remember what created the havoc in the first place- two people who are crazy-in-love and about to start their life together.
Special thanks to MHO, our amazing moving company. They promised they could move anything, and that included Ben’s 350lbs massage chair that needed to be taken apart and re-assmebled.