Monday, November 7, 2011

The Truth About Moving In Together

Ah, yes. There they are. My beautiful pile of "sexy" lingerie. My silky, satiny, see-through pile of unmentionables that sits in the back of my underwear drawer because my full-back underwear and boy-short underwear or my over-sized, stretched out period underwear will always take precedence. Some of these g-strings still have the tags on them. That see-through bra, something you can only wear in the bedroom, unless you are looking for a serious case of chafed nipples, has never been worn. I tried wearing it once but couldn't concentrate with that damn cotton shirt rubbing up against me, or that corduroy purse strap, or hell, that strong breeze! That bra is not practical! Nothing but a ribbon on a gift. And yet I have kept that bra tucked away in one drawer or another for ten years. Count, em! 1-0 Y--E-A-R-S! Here's the truth, I hold on to these lovelies with the idea that one day I am going to feel the urge to slink into something tiny, light some candles, and "surprise" Mike with what he's always been waiting for...but then we have dinner, and I feel full, I get tired..ooh, The Office is on...I'll just slip on some cozy sweatpants for this episode...or the next three...what? It's 10:00 already...  You can guess how the night ends up. But that's the thing about moving in together, there is always tomorrow and there is always a really good excuse to choose comfort over sexiness. Moving in together kills that urgency. It kills that romance that only comes from having limited bedroom time together. Some of these lingerie ditties will most likely not see the light of day, or rather, the ambitious candlelit glow of my bedroom, before I toss them out, or store them in a drawer for another ten years.

My boyfriend's cousin just got engaged to her boyfriend of seven years. They are just now moving in together and they are so adorably excited. I did not mean to congratulate them with such sarcasm, but I slapped the happy new groom-to-be on his back and said, "Ohhhh, congratulations! Now you can fight over who's going to clean the toilet." I mean, let's get real here. Moving in together is really fun at first. You carefully agree on what colors to paint the new place. What kind of towels do we want? Should the lamp go in this corner or over the chair? We definitely need a new coffeemaker! And of course every decision is interrupted by the heat of the moment. You will have sex all the time.... and then not much later you will find yourselves pissed off standing in a line at Ikea. Annoyed after your third trip to Home Depot. Forgetting to flush your tampon down the toilet because you hopped in the shower and didn't want the water to get cold. And who forgot to water the fucking plant? And finally, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, can you please put your goddamn socks [insert dirty sports bra, mud-covered work shirt, sweaty shinguards] inside the laundry hamper, not in a pile just outside of it?!?!

Why? You might be asking yourselves. Just  why did I move in with my boyfriend, many years ago? Well, its complicated and not. Moving in together is cheaper. Like, a lot cheaper. That's the simplest answer. Then there's the idea that I really wanted to test run the relationship before committing it to paper and wedding debt and a mortgage. And then there's the reason where I blame my misunderstanding of appropriate boundaries on the confusing messages received as a kid. For one, I did not have a grandmother that said things like Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? No, Grandma Kathleen said things like,  I think girls are ready for sex by age fifteen  but then would say things like  You look like a slut when I got my tongue pierced and then would surprise me again by saying my tramp-stamp tattoo was cute. It took me years to understand that Grandma was cool with sex before marriage as long as you didn't flaunt your sexual liberation in other people's faces. We are Irish Catholic, after all.  But my point is, when I said I was going to move in with a boyfriend (and let the record state this is the second time I am living with a boyfriend. Old habits die hard.), shockingly no one really stopped me. I was an adult...right? I mean who could really stop me anyway? I was 22 years old the first time around. But I, at least, thought I would get a little low-blow remarks from my cousins, or a few hair-raising stares from my aunts, the "talking to" at Christmas by someone in the family or a blowout fight with my Dad, but none of that came. Perhaps, it was the way I moved in. I just sort of started sleeping over all the time and then once 50% of my clothes and a spare toothbrush were there, we declared I was now an occupant. But the first time I moved in with a boy was easier because I lived close to my dad and could always go home if we had a fight. This second time around, or what I like to call the "real time around," I made a declarative statement that I was not only moving in with my boyfriend, but moving across the country, to New Jersey, no less. There were some fights over that one, but again, not necessarily about the moving in with a boy part. I didn't really see anything wrong with it and at the time it seemed no one else did either. I realize now that my Dad was letting me make my own decisions and possibly suffer the consequences of my mistakes. But the FINAL culprit in this decision-making was myself and that somewhere I convinced myself, I didn't really want to get married. Perhaps, you are saying this to yourself right now. But after two live-in boyfriends, both which lasted (or have lasted) the better part of my twenties, I now see myself as somewhat of an expert on the subject. I can tell you that after a few ring-less years and attending tens of tens of weddings, you will start to get that twinkle in your eye that screams lace! clever save-the-dates! destination wedding!!!! I now find myself judging girls who are having the whole "moving in together" debate, and judging them for the exact same reasons I did: cheaper rent, to really know if he's the one, and because "it just makes sense." I also find myself saying things like Don't do that! You will lose years of your life if you are not 100% sure this is who you want to marry.

Thankfully, I can say, that while my lingerie could be exchanged for dust rags at this point, I do not regret deciding to move in with Mike. Do I think I may be married by now, or at least engaged, if perhaps I had not lived with him? Of course! WHY BUY THE COW? But after a weekend full of lines at Ikea, celebrating another couple's engagement, and going to bed early in my Lake Dunmore sweatpants after watching The Simpsons all cuddled up on the couch, I can confidently say that I wouldn't change any of it...except maybe revisiting who cleans the toilet.


Jenn and Casey said...

Oh my gosh. It's so true. Don't forget- WHY CAN'T YOU PUT A NEW ROLL OF TOILET PAPER ON?!?!?!?! Ahem. Not that I'd know. Great post :)

Anonymous said...

My husband and I dated for 8 years before moving in together. (We started dating in high school.) We had already worked out a lot of the bumps relationships hit by the time we made the decision to move in, but MAN...I was not prepared for the new onslaught of bickering we would hit. Putting the cap on the toothpaste, leaving a wet towel on the bed, dirty socks on the living room floor, putting the toilet seat up and down...these things started many an argument. By the time we married, we had achieved much more simpatico. We still sometimes fight over these little things...but not like we used to. I think it is a good idea to try living together first. It worked for us.

I totally related to this post!

Lindsey said...

Thanks for commenting! Ah, yes, the toilet paper rolls, the toothpaste...unfortunately I think I am the messy culprit!

Melanie said...

Enjoyed the post! I still grit my teeth over some little "details" after over 20 years with hubs, 6 living together and -- what year is this?-- 16 married.
I know he grits his teeth for sure with some of my "quirks."
My parents still fuss at each other after 63 years. Gently, so no hips get broken.
But we've all decided we can put up with a lot to never have to date again!

Steph said...

Found you from NaBloPoMO. My husband and I have been married for 9 years, have lived together for 12 and have dated for 15 (I think, I'm bad with numbers). I can totally relate to you post, as well as some of the comments too.
Really, toilet paper! The fresh roll does not belong on top of the empty roll.
Crumbs on the counter - this still drives me nuts. How hard is it to scoop up the crumbs and throw it into the sink or garbage?
It's the littlest things that drive me nuts. Those common sense things like twisting the tie around the bread bag, closing the door all the way or not leaving your shoes right in front of the door.

Lindsey said...

Thanks so much for commenting! Been fun to read everyone's experiences! I guess its good to know what I'm signing up for : )

Carmen said...

i think erk and i both realized that neither one of us even thought to clean the toilet before reading this. luckily he went home first and found that it was indeed dirty and then was guilted into doing it :) i don't feel bad - i do most of the other cleaning-related activities