When my boyfriend A. and I started looking for a place together this past November, my first thought was "Yes! Finally!" After four years of commuting back and forth between his place in New York City's Upper East Side and my apartment in the Bronx, I was excited to begin a new phase where I'd get to fall asleep and wake up next to him each day, greet him home from work in the evening and make dinner together. This big step would mean propelling the relationship towards the merging of our two lives, which also came with an added bonus: no more picking out an outfit in one apartment only to realize the coordinating shoes are in the other borough.
My second thought came with the realization that I'd be living with a boyfriend for the first time…a messy boyfriend. I envisioned clothes left strewn about the house, dirty dishes piled high in the sink growing Lord knows what in the funky water, and a moldy bathtub all waiting for me to scrub, clean and organize. I was not about that life and I definitely didn't want to nag him day and night. I wanted to remain his girlfriend, not morph into his mother. While I admit I was a bit obsessive about keeping everything practically sterile those first weeks, I've since learned to relax because otherwise I'd drive myself mad trying to take it all on. There's been give and take with the décor, the chores, paying the bills, creating a joint account and making sure this operation runs as smoothly as possible because, at the end of the day, we're a team. He's surprised me with his ability to care for a home and step in when chores need to be done and I've instituted a 24-hour rule that gives each of us time to put our things away without the other pouncing in for the kill. And by "the other" I mean me.
Just days after we moved in together, I also started worrying that we'd become domesticated, get tired of each other and lose the sexy spark in our relationship, or that we'd start to see each other as roomies rather than boyfriend and girlfriend. It's crazy because I'd been wanting this for a long time and now that we had finally achieved it, I was suffering through a case of Fear of Missing Out. While I knew I'd enjoy this next step, I was also thinking that our carefree days were behind us. Luckily for me, A. can tell when I'm just being neurotic.
Now nearly three months into this new adventure, I'm learning that it's okay if things have calmed down for a bit. It's nice to have the stability and less stress in my life. We might not be out and about every evening, but we're still having fun while slowly creating our home and saving up for future adventures. We entertain guests much more than we used to, we make time to hang out with friends both together and apart from each other and give each other space to breathe at home. I'm discovering new activities that bring me joy, including those domestic chores that I always fought against.
We're still navigating all this newness and how to nurture the relationship in this light. Rather than spend the entire evening on our computers until bedtime like we used to do, we started powering down earlier to give each other time and affection before falling asleep. We'll cuddle, chat, watch TV, play a game or listen to music together, just something to reconnect at the end of each day. It's important and fun to continuously find new ways to keep each other enthralled and the sparks flying in our relationship. Who knows how it will be 30 years from now, but for now, I still feel a quick flutter in my stomach when I hear him open the front door every evening.
How do you keep things interesting while living with your significant other?
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