The Mess of Moving in Together
By: Olive Parker
Cohabitating with a boyfriend is interesting, to say the least. Sure, you may laugh at the same jokes, finish each other’s sentences, share dreams, aspirations and a passion for trashy VH1 reality TV… super for you. But it’s not until you’re cleaning individual Rice Krispies out of your sheets in the middle of the night that you can really decide if you’re in it for the long haul.
Will you risk bodily harm to help him carry his cactus collection inside because they’re getting too cold this winter? Can you keep a straight face when he says, “Hey hon, next time you use the bathroom in the hall could you just make sure the toilet flusher goes back to being parallel to the floor, thanks.” I kid you not. I am still waiting for the moment where we’ll both laugh about these things.
When I first felt I was ready to move in with my boyfriend (read: was sick of living in my parents’ basement), I didn’t foresee much of a change. We already spent practically every day together, so I figured I’d just be cutting out the drive-time. I’d been looking to reduce my carbon footprint anyway.
Here was the problem: I’m a writer. I need messy stacks of paper, mounds of Vogue back issues, some drippy candle wax, and many, many coffee stains on myself and on my desk. And that’s just to get the creativity rolling. This makes the little vein in my boyfriend’s head pop out.
So does a towel on the floor. Or clothes covering the vent. And the small floods I create in the bathroom (I like to splash the water around like in the face-wash commercials).
Knowing that you can’t change a person, I often asked him to lighten up, loosen up and to live a little. But I didn’t expect much.
Things progressed normally… I continued to leave rings on the coffee table, toothpaste blobs, and shoes strewn about the house. Then one day, the unthinkable happened: he changed! But now, I couldn’t stand it.
Beard clippings in the sink! Piles of bills everywhere! Soggy car magazines on the bathroom floor! Coffee grinds everywhere and food crusted onto dishtowels: I’d created a monster.
It’s an age-old tale… be careful what you wish for. I tried “Um? Can you change back?” but it’s not that easy. What am I supposed to do, make a chore-chart for an adult man? Now I’m the cleaning freak, which I guess is a more traditional role for the woman, but not one that I’m enjoying. It turns out, I only like mess when it’s my mess, and now I don’t like it all.
But when I look at living together in the big picture view… more than a year now… it’s wonderful. I always come home to my best friend, get waited on hand and foot when I’m sick, and never have to watch trashy TV alone. I still hope that our joint messiness gets better, and I don’t enjoy “snap, crackle, pop!” in my bed, but it’s a small price to pay for feeling like a little family in your own home.
Let’s just hope that by time we add kids to this mix, we make enough money to hire a maid.