Relationships

What Surprised Me Most About Living Together

What Surprised Me Most About Living Together

I have a confession…

Before my boyfriend moved in, I worried. I worried a lot.

It happened slowly and then all at once. For over a year, we were content with our separate living situations. Then one day, there was a suggestion, followed by a conversation, and suddenly, things were being packed into boxes. Then the boxes were in my apartment, which was no longer mine, but ours. I was excited! I was also afraid.

“Congratulations!” friends would say, upon hearing the news. “What a big step!” I would nod and smile and say thank you, hoping my terror was not transparent. People acted like I had found the golden ticket. I was supposed to want this, right?

To be clear, my anxiety had absolutely nothing to do with my boyfriend, nor with our relationship, which I have never doubted. Of course, I wanted to live together. Of course, I wanted to share my life with this person, my favorite of all the people in the world. But if every action has an equal and opposite reaction, this move would, as well. In order to embrace the new, I’d have to let go of life as I’d known it.

As long as I have legally been considered an adult, my days were spent building a home for one — a place with its own set of rituals and the space to be exactly who I am. For years, I had talked and written about living alone, like some sort of patron saint of solitude. And for good reason — living alone made me happy.

In previous relationships, the other person had always proven elusive. Examining my own fears about commitment was never necessary when the other half of the relationship was running in the other direction. But now, when the boxes were all packed — and then unpacked — in my general direction, I needed to confront my anxiety face-to-face. This was new territory, in more ways than one.

“How’s it going?” my best friend texted, on the day of the move.
“The eagle has landed,” I said, sending back a photo of the epic pile of stuff.
“Do NOT let that man ruin your beautiful apartment,” said another friend, half-jokingly.
“This is the end of an era,” said another.

In the weeks that followed, I tried my best to look at the changing circumstances as an anthropologist would — with a bit of distance and a healthy dose of curiosity. I would get to learn about one of my favorite subjects, up close. The Boyfriend, I discovered, has a curious habit of using many utensils for even the simplest kitchen tasks. The Boyfriend leaves tracks wherever it goes — often, the cabinet will remain wide open long after he has searched for a mug. The Boyfriend watches television with closed captioning. The Boyfriend can be unflinchingly sweet, even when I am grumpy.

One day, while reflecting on my anthropological findings, I asked him if he had learned anything unexpected about me. He thought for a while.

“The amount of hair in the drain,” he concluded, finally. “It really is beyond my wildest imaginings.”

This brings me to my next point. I no longer feel like the proverbial tree in the forest — falling over and wondering if anyone heard the sound. Now, someone notices all of the sounds, then calls from the next room, wondering what the heck just happened. He witnesses all of it — good and bad. And I’m surprised by how much I welcome that. As it turns out, it’s nice to be seen. Drain hair and all.

Lately, a funny thing has happened. I’ve noticed that the habits I observe are not so much his, but ours. There is the way that, without discussing it, Sunday night dinner is almost always eaten in front of Seinfeld. Or how, on weekend mornings, whoever comes across it first will read Modern Love aloud (I know, I know, we’re gross).

Cohabitation, after all, has the word “habit” right in its core. How quickly our actions become habits. How quickly those habits become traditions. How fascinating that this one word — home — can come to mean so many different things.

What’s your current living situation? How has it surprised you?

P.S. How to know your partner is the one and a funny thing that happens in relationships.

(Photo from Caroline’s apartment tour by Alpha Smoot.)

  1. Caroline, when I read Cup of Jo earlier today I was just thinking, “I wonder how Caroline and her boyfriend are doing.” Glad all is well! xoxo

  2. I currently live in a 4-bedroom apartment. I share my room with my puppy, Tapetito, who is the best roommate of all (except when he decides to start barking at nothing for no reason). The room next to mine is empty about half of the time. The other half of the time, a couple lives there. In the next room, there lives a single guy who plays very loud music and has different girls over occasionally. He is a really good dancer and is really nice (though pretends that he is not). In the room next to his, there lives another couple and a cat, Khaleesi. Khaleesi’s favorite hobbies are sneaking into other rooms and smacking Tapetito in the face (lovingly, of course – Tapetito and Khaleesi are best friends).

  3. Stacey says...

    I love this story, Caroline! It is definitely a transition when going from living alone for so long to co-habitating. I always LOVED having you as a single person voice when I was also single since it can be a rare voice in the world of blogs. Now I’m really happy for you that you have a wonderful boyfriend. I’m also navigating the living with someone process and it’s rough to realize that I’m actually the messy one compared to a neatnik! It’s lovely to hear about the habits that become your joint ones.. We also now used closed captioning on the TV and watch more light comedies that I used to :)

  4. Alyssa says...

    Having lived alone for the last 9 years, I’m feeling all sorts of anxiety about the impending “moving in together” that will eventually happen with my boyfriend of two years. He wants to move in before we get engaged, but I work at an extremely conservative company that would likely fire me if this happened. I’ve proposed that he propose and then we move in together shortly afterwards. He’s seen several of his friends move in together and then break up. I think he’s fearful that could happen to us even though we’ve talked over and over about wanting to be together and how we would work through things. Either way, I’m stressed out about it! And really just wanting to figure it out in a way that doesn’t make my stomach do flips and my brain go crazy. Because right now I just really love living alone and having him over a lot. haha. I’m a control freak and I want my things as I want them. {Like why on earth does he believe that overhead, fluorescent lighting is better than warm, glowy lamps?!}

    • G. says...

      I can relate to “I just really love living alone and having him over a lot” but I’m confused by your statement about your employer firing you over living with your boyfriend. Why would this possibly come up? Do you work for a Hassidic community?

    • Jaime says...

      This seems CRAZY to me — how is it your company’s business who you live with and your marital status?!

    • Lisa says...

      11+ years of marriage in and I still don’t understand my husbands love of the glaring overhead light and he teases me about my love of lamps. I feel less alone after reading your comment Alyssa! xo

  5. Hilary says...

    I call my husband, jokingly but not, “mr. 75” as in mister 75 percent completed because lo and behold there is always a trail left behind, whether a cabinet is open, wrappers left around from a package, water/mugs/glass empty by the couch. I swear men have a weird inability to notice these things!!

    • K says...

      Wow. I feel seen :) Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that your husband is not, in fact, a monster, rather possesses habits resembling that of OTHER otherwise-loving, kind, respectful, and wholly dear husbands out there, who also open Amazon packages on the kitchen table and leave the package remnants strewn about haphazardly without a care in the world!

  6. Johanna says...

    In November I decided I was finally leaving my husband. I was getting my own apartment thereby separating our family into two parts. I found a lovely place in a friend’s building who also splits parental custody with her ex. I have my own apartment for the first time in my life. I couldn’t bring myself to do it when I was in my twenties or in my early thirties and didn’t have a husband or kids to take care of. And now I’m 41 and I Just signed my own lease. I did it just before Thanksgiving so I could send them off to the Berkshires for the weekend while I cleaned the apartment and moved in. I picked out everything myself. My apartment Is on the backside of the building and looks out on the side of a hill so I feel like I’m in the woods. And perhaps the best part is that I don’t need curtains. It’s got that awesome NYC steam heat that roasts me to the point that I have to open a window. I’m always freezing in the other co-op apartment which has a historic designation and drafty almost useless windows. I burn incense and candles to make my place smell lovely. I clean the toilet and I have no resentment for anyone. I bought a bunch of Rae Dunn crap and I don’t even feel bad about it. It’s costing me a shitload of money but it’s all mine. I don’t think I’ll ever want to live with anyone other than my (non adult) kids again.

    • You are living the dream. I think a lot of women just don’t do it because of the money or fear. Women work too hard still and more than men in making a home and taking care of it. Good for you, have fun!!!! It will be the time of your life!

  7. Longdenlife says...

    His worst habit? Leaving the fridge door open!!!

    After 5 years of living together and then 20 years of marriage and I am grateful its only that (and other minor niggles) that I have to complain about!

    Cant remember where I heard the advice “Don’t let housemate issues turn into relationship issues” – It may have even been on this site!

  8. Patricia Perez says...

    My now-fiance and I were together 6 years before moving in together. As if the change wasn’t enough, we got a puppy just 3 weeks later. I thought, after 6 years, that nothing–NOTHING–would surprise me about him. Boy, was I wrong. We have different standards of what “clean” means (to him, it’s pristine; to me, it’s lived-in), and we run on different schedules (him, a night owl; me, an early bird).

    But more than a year into cohabitating, I’m still not tired or over it. I love having someone (and a pup) to come home to and I love how much our partnership has grown.

  9. Meggles says...

    Oh Caroline, you are SUCH a talented writer. I think this one is your best.

    • Ellen says...

      Agreed!

  10. Monika says...

    “Cohabitation, after all, has the word “habit” right in its core.”

    These two words are totally unrelated.

    • Josie says...

      Not true, they’re both derived from the Latin habitare.

  11. Monika says...

    “Cohabitation, after all, has the word “habit” right in its core.”

    These words are totally unrelated.

    • Sarah says...

      completely related! In Latin, “habitare” meant “to have often” and around the year 1050 people started using it to also mean “staying in the same place”. That’s why in French the words “habit,” “live,” and “clothes” are all so similar (“une habitude”, “habiter”, and “un habit” respectively).

  12. My husband and I ran off to sea about a year and a half ago. We live on a 40’ long sailboat, which we have taken from the San Francisco Bay to Mexico. We’ve been together 22 years and are unusually happy together, but this is a new level of intimacy! It’s intense, challenging, and glorious. Living this way asks us to do what is always best, but with even greater diligence because we are so constantly and closely together. I confess that I keep fantasizing about being one of your interior design/lifestyle spreads; it’s such an interesting way to live.

    • Brooke says...

      Oh Dahlia!! My parents are fairly bohemian and we spent a lot of time on boats and fun living arrangements growing up. I agree it can be intensely close but also very adventurous and build such bonds. I would LOVE to see your sailboat as a house tour!

  13. Jess says...

    I have never lived alone, but I have been the only adult in my home for three years now. I love the freedom of making all the decisions (well, the adult decisions at least). I can (and did) paint my bathroom bubblegum pink, just cause I wanted to. I also revel in the fact that I can learn many handy-man tasks through the magic of youtube tutorials. I feel like such a badass when I don’t need a man to install a light fixture or fix a dryer. BUT- single motherhood is so hard. I often think about an article you linked to years ago. The author said (something along the lines of) the hardest part was having no one to share the joy. This is so true for me. I know my co-workers are sick of my anecdotes about my kids and I can’t text every cute thing my kids say to my sister. Who knows if I’ll ever cohabit with a man again, but it sure would be nice to have an adult to share the joy with.
    Here’s that article…it’s so good:
    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/10/what-being-a-single-parent-is-really-like-sophie-heawood

    • mamabird says...

      I hear you Jess. Me too, 3 years and also painted my bathroom pink! Single motherhood is the toughest thing I’ve ever done.
      Now my new partner is about to move in and I’m nervous/happy/terrified at opening up my life to share.

  14. Mikayla says...

    I really relate to your pride in living alone, Caroline. I had lived alone for the first time about six months when my boyfriend asked me to move in with him. The answer was a definite no. I was transitioning in many different ways and needed the space – literal and figurative – to work through my identity unattached to someone else.

    What helped when we did actually move in together was implementing a strange little ritual we call “personal day.” Once a week we resolve not to hang out with each other. Sometimes it’s separating to have drinks with different friends, and sometimes it means one person gives up the apartment to the other for the evening to finally binge that Netflix show the other one hates or to work on personal development projects. We’ve even used it as a planned time to work late without guilt. Our friends think it’s crazy, but I love it. It’s been great for keeping up with other relationships and for maintaining a sense of personal identity and growth.

  15. Jessie says...

    Finally, five years in to our marriage, my husband “came out” as messy. It was transformative! I don’t mind cleaning after him now that he just admitted his fault. In the beginning he was so annoyed by my snoozing alarm habit. Now, he calls it “cuddle count down.”
    Living together is more joyful when we embrace the shortcomings; they come with so much goodness.

    • SB says...

      “Cuddle count down” warms my grinch heart :)

    • Cait says...

      This is so sweet.

  16. KJ says...

    I can definitely be a planner and over thinker and I like to analyze situations so before we moved in together (after 2 years of dating), I had to mentally process losing my bubble and worried about all of the “potential” things that moving in together could change. I found that most of what I worried about weren’t even “things” and that it was generally really wonderful (and convenient!). However, it didn’t stop me from doing a similar analysis before we got married, before we got a dog, before we had children, etc. and I’ve just come to realize that if you do all those things with the right person, it all ends up being pretty great. Not necessarily easy, but doing it with them makes it more of an adventure and fun. Plus if you’re a good match, you pick up where the other leaves off or can recognize when the other person just needs a little bit more help – or their favorite mug (as one commenter said) :).

  17. Amanda says...

    After living together for two years before getting married, I was shocked at how marriage changed our co-habitation. Suddenly, every sock he left on the floor was followed by my thought “and you will be dealing with this FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Ten years later and the voice has turned into a laugh as those hard to break habits have become our inside jokes.

  18. Daniel Ray says...

    If marriage is where you eventually want to be, moving in together to “try it out” drops the percentage change your marriage will last by 30%.
    At least that’s what a bunch of psychology articles suggest (google “cohabitation and divorce rates”.)
    Sure, you might still beat the odds, but it’s important to understand why cohabiting before marriage might have a negative impact on your future marriage together.
    Some studies say that a cohabiting pair can “slide” into marriage even when one or the other might realize it’s not the best fit: there’s just a lot of inertia to overcome in order to separate when you share rent, dog, schedules, vehicle, etc.
    Also, once moved in together, the guy starts to lower interest and drive to resolve significant issues in the relationship, as in the type that really need worked through before getting married (# of kids, my career vis-à-vis your career, share finances or not, my family vis-à-vis yours). Those big conversations tend to get kicked down the road without resolution, causing strain on the marriage later when the issue comes to a head.
    Sorry, I know this comment doesn’t fit really well here, but it’s an important long-term well being issue.

    • emily says...

      You’re right in your observation that this comment doesn’t fit here at all. What an interesting way to spend your time – reading about Caroline’s life decisions and life observations and inserting your agenda that is loosely, loosely adjacent to the subject matter. You do you. Really interesting flex.

    • Clare says...

      Hi Daniel. You’re so right — this comment doesn’t fit here!
      It is disrespectful and references retrogressive gender roles. When women want your advice on their relationships, they’ll ask for it.

    • Louisa says...

      Thanks for bringing this up, Daniel. It is a stat and truism I have heard before. As someone on the verge of moving in with my boyfriend, I wonder what the alternative is? Our main incentive is not to “try it out”, but rather than we love each other and share almost all of our lives together currently, and it feels natural (and exciting!) to take the proverbial “next step”. That said, I am obviously curious to see what happens once there is no second apartment to retreat to, once we share more and more decisions, etc. In that sense, I suppose we will be testing new circumstances? I just don’t know — but really do want to know! — what mindset to be in for this move that is the most productive and sets us up for success. (Don’t say that it is getting married — neither of us care much for the institution and I doubt we will ever both with ceremonial traditions like exchanging rings or changing our names, etc.)

    • Nicole says...

      I am sorry but this just sounds like the conservative Evangelical drivel I heard so much in my youth. Living together whether married or not is a challenge, suggesting marriage is “better” than cohabitation is ridiculous. I was married at 19 btw

    • sally says...

      what a strange thing to post. Maybe true, not particularly helpful and certainly not kind. 50% of marriages end in divorce. So, don’t marry?

    • Angela says...

      HI Daniel. You were correct- the comment doesn’t really fit here on a post speaking of the positives of cohabitation. If fear mongering and mansplaining are ongoing habits, I’d suggest being more thoughtful and up to date in your research. A quick google search, as you suggested, turns up more inconclusive hypotheses than hard data points for Caroline to concern herself with. And to be certain, in the last hour I’ve devoted to this nonsense, I have been unable to find your 30% statistic. I did however find your words directly in an article from 2014. Perhaps you should read it, instead of paraphrasing where you saw fit. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/the-science-of-cohabitation-a-step-toward-marriage-not-a-rebellion/284512/

      I’m sure Caroline was thoughtful in her considerations of cohabitation and needn’t be educated or infantalized as if she is a lovestruck girl. She is a smart, independent woman.

      For further consideration on this very inclusive topic:
      https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/10/premarital-cohabitation-divorce/573817/
      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jomf.12530?af=R
      https://ifstudies.org/blog/premarital-cohabitation-is-still-associated-with-greater-odds-of-divorce

    • JR says...

      Not to be *that* person but that stat is actually quite outdated and has been disproven! Divorce rates are actually unaffected by living together before marriage among couples who have never cohabitated with another romantic partner previously.

      The rates of divorce are indeed higher among serial monogamists who move in (and eventually out) with multiple romantic partners before getting married. Interesting, right?!

    • stacey says...

      My now-husband and I lived together for four years before getting married and now we are coming up on 15 years of marriage. Living together is such an important way to discover if a couple is truly compatible for the long haul. Caroline sounds like she’s on the right path!

    • Kate the Great says...

      I appreciate your comment, Daniel, even if none of these other people do. I did not try living together with my husband when we were romantically involved. I married him. That commitment within marriage meant that we had a bigger emotional investment to make living together a success. It meant that I told myself, “If he does *insert different living habit here*, then I will work with it and figure out how to deal with it because we are married.”

    • Kate the Great says...

      However, I am not judging anyone here who lives differently than I do. You and I each choose to do what we want to do. Caroline is a beautiful soul who writes wonderfully. Who am I to say she is right or wrong in the way she follows her heart? We’re discussing the emotions and epiphanies here.

    • Daniel says...

      Seriously, peace y’all! I didn’t mean to upset anyone. I learned the hard way how a move-in isn’t always the best move (on the guy side). Sorry I touched some nerves. I wish you all well and the best in your relationships.

    • Clare says...

      Hi Daniel. Thank you for acknowledging our frustrations. I think it would be more appropriate, though, for you to apologize to Caroline for offering unsolicited advice that warns against a decision she already made.

    • Emma says...

      The whole “living together before marriage increases the probability of divorce” thing is certainly on topic in a way, but I wonder how much of that statistic a) still stands and b) isn’t tied to outdated ideals of marriage and outdated economic realities. As an adult, I have always had roommates due to economic necessity, even in a city with a relatively low cost of living (not NYC!). How much better to practice the art of living with someone when that is someone you can envision a shared life with, rather than near strangers with no investment in each others’ futures.

    • I love how everyone gets bent out of shape when someone posts a comment different then their own, or one that they take personal offense to. People are allowed to have opinions. Daniel has a right to his opinion. If Caroline takes offense like some of the other readers, then she needs to reduce the number of people she tells her story to. She can’t even post a rebuttal; she does not know the future of this relationship. When one posts information on social media and the internet, one grants everyone permission to one’s story. Caroline put herself out there, which I appreciate, but telling your personal truth always comes with consequences.

    • margaret says...

      Just a quick response to Kate the Great. I appreciate and trust when you say you’re not judging those who live with their partners outside of marriage. Just want to share my own reaction to your comment “That commitment within marriage meant that we had a bigger emotional investment to make living together a success.” I don’t think marriage is necessarily revealing of the degree of emotional investment one has in their partner. I lived with my husband for several years before we married and my emotional investment to him was not stronger after marriage. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him throughout, it’s just that marriage didn’t make sense while we were still in school and moving around the country trying to figure out our paths.

  19. Ana D says...

    It may help to have separate laundry baskets. To me, keeping our dirty clothes physically separate and keeping each adult in charge of their own laundry helped give me some psychic space. It reflected the reality of our independence as two individuals living together. We’re both still adults, we can both still do similar things along parallel paths without completely combining every activity.

    That helped when it came to other differences too – I’m a morning person, he’s a night person. I need to eat earlier than he does; being OK with not eating every single meal at the same time, or with me having a pre-dinner snack when I get home from work took some unraveling of previous expectations. But that’s the banal “I love you and we’re different and that’s OK” work we needed to do together.

    • sarah says...

      I realized the laundry thing about 10 years into our marriage – and it was honestly life-changing!!! Highly recommend!

    • TG says...

      Yes to the separate laundry baskets! A few years I ago I had a meltdown and stopped doing laundry for my husband – and our three teenagers. If anyone wants clean clothes they know how do it. Life-changing.

    • LG says...

      Yes, YES Ana! We do the laundry thing, too, and it’s wonderful. And another yes to the getting over not eating meals at the same time. Yay for pre-dinner snacks! ;)

  20. Kate says...

    When my partner first moved in to my apartment, he had this horribly funny looking wooden fish that he got as a souvenir on a trip and he had grand plans to hang it on the wall. I subtly started hiding it slightly out of sight, behind corners or in nooks and crannies, but inevitably the very next day it would mysteriously turn up in a new, more prominent spot in our too-tiny studio apartment. It eventually became a funny little game between us, and on hard days I knew I could count on a brief moment of comic relief by coming home to a silly game of ‘find the fish.’ We’re married now, and when we moved into our first apartment together the wooden fish was the first item unpacked + placed directly on the mantle.

  21. Nancy says...

    Caroline, I am of your mother’s generation, but could relate to much of this very well-written essay. All of my adult life I have lived alone. Proudly, independently, and happily alone in the face of being told at least twice a week by a variety of people, “I can’t believe you’re not married”. (As I said, I’m of a different generation than yours.) I found living alone to be the answer to the peace and stability I did not have when I was growing up. I was extremely content. Until I wasn’t because I met the man of my dreams and had to be with him. We married when I was 47. And yes, in order to embrace the new life I had to let go of the old. Not easy! But we transitioned over a few years to a life more beautiful than I ever imagined it would be and I found that there can be peace and stability in living with the right person. I’ve also come to understand that there are seasons of life; seasons change and we are wise to change with them. Thank you for sharing your situation and what you’ve learned from it.

    • Ana D says...

      Nancy, this is beautiful. I’ve heard the phrase “seasons of life” so many times before, but it’s never struck me so deeply as here.

    • Brooke says...

      Wow, Nancy this moved me deeply! I am 38 and have lived alone all of my adult life (save college roommates days) and I’ve gone from a lot of longing to share life to increasing joy and peace in my own space. I am open to love and partnership but wonder how I will feel transitioning to shared space if I were fall in love. Your comment has given me much joy to think: “different seasons, different joys, different challenges”. Thank you!! And so sweet to hear about your joy in independence and your love ;).

    • Nicole says...

      How beautifully stated. I am 37 and have been single most of my adult life (it’s been a wonderful journey with lots of friends and solo travel). Now, I am about to move in with my boyfriend. I will miss that fierce independence and it is also such a happy time!

  22. Mariana says...

    My partner moved in 3 months into our relationship, and that was after both our decade-long marriages (to other people, obviously). It was insane, of course. But I can retrospectively say that moving in when you’re head over heels in love might be the best moment – all those little potentially annoying differences are happily integrated into life together as a couple. My guess is: if it’s going to work out, moving in together is great. If not, it will bring it all out in the open. So, win-win :)

  23. A says...

    While lovely, this piece also makes me a little sad … I was always an introvert and liked having my own space, but after 25 years of cohabiting and marriage I had come to enjoy having someone to share the space with. When my husband abruptly left, I suddenly found myself alone … and lonely. I’m still in the house we shared, and I’ve done what I can I make it mine (I painted a room pink!), but it still feels lonely, especially in the dead of winter. He moved on quickly and is living in his dream house in his dream place with the woman he moved in with right after he left … it became a personal challenge to be able to stay, despite the financial/emotional blow … but I don’t know, maybe it’s preventing me from moving on … I digress — Caroline’s piece is beautifully said, and I wish her nothing but happiness … I guess it just hit a nerve today.

    • I remember how painfully alone I felt after my husband left and how much work it took me to get to where I was ok living alone again. And now-I’m finding it difficult to want to give that hard fought aloneness up. I’m sorry it’s so tough for you right now, I hope as time passes it will get easier and even welcome.

    • C says...

      Oh A, what a sh*t situation. I’m so sorry to you for your loss. Good for you for trying to stay – you’ll know what’s right when the time comes to stay or leave. Or you won’t know, and you’ll make a decision anyway, and it’ll all be fine.
      Have you watched any of Orlando Soria’s Unspouse My House on HGTV? It might be fun/funny for you to see others in similar situations.
      The dead of winter can be SO lonely – wishing you comfort.

    • Steph says...

      A, I completely understand. I had a similar situation happen and it’s taken some time to get used to a new normal. Grief also has its seasons. There will be a time where you know what you need to move forward. I hope this encourages you today.

    • Katy says...

      A – I don’t have anything helpful to say, but this must be very difficult, and I applaud your steps (a fun pink room!) to make this space your very own now. As Nancy said above, there are various seasons to every life. I hope and trust that your pink room is the first bud on a tree blossoming into a new season that holds something wonderful for you.

    • Moriah says...

      Sending you love A! I’m so sorry for your heartbreak and this new life phase you never asked for. I love that you have a pink room now. I hope you continue to make a beautiful new life for yourself.

    • Angela says...

      So sorry you are feeling lonely. Hugs. I know what it’s like to be lonely. Years ago an ex broke up with me unexpectedly. I came home and he had his bags packed. I was so broken. I moved into a new apartment as soon as I could. I was still heartbroken and lonely at the new place.

    • Mik says...

      Dear A, I feel you in this loneliness of loosing your “space partner” but I truly believes that there’s power in acknowledging his departure and winning your love for your house back one room, one little detail at a time! There are so many opportunities in the future to bring beautiful new things, plants, people, memories in your old-new space that just taking one little step to love your house might make you feel less lonely one day. Sending positive vibes your way! :)

    • AnonForThis says...

      Hi A, I’m so sorry to hear that you are in this raw, painful season. My then-husband also abruptly left me for another woman with no warning. I stayed in what had been our shared apartment for the next five years. I too repainted (well, I hired someone with the little money I had for the two small rooms with walls that I hated the most, one of which was his former office space). I lived with the other room that I also disliked because it was too much money (and also too much work moving stuff around) to do all of them. Your pink room sounds fabulous.

      I too felt it felt right to stay. Everything else in my life felt like it was unstable except the physical space of my home. Winter was hard for me too, but I tried to think of it as my cocooning time. I was in a life season where wanted to grieve and heal so I could eventually be happy again someday. In a way, the bleakness of winter matched my internal state and I tried to lean into it as much as I could. I was eager for spring though, and it came eventually, but much later than I wanted.

      I tend to think you’ll know when/if you ever want to move. My approach was to stay until I knew. And I was able to move on fine, eventually. I think there are so many ways to do rebuild after this kind of loss: some people prefer a clean break with everything; some find stability in keeping in a familiar home environment.

      Several years later, I did start to consider moving. I had been in a relationship with my now-boyfriend and we were talking of moving to an apartment that would be “new” to both of us. We didn’t find anything we liked better available in our budget, though, and only moved when we were forced out because of a fire. Thankfully, we found an apartment we like in a neighborhood we also like.

      In case you don’t know about these resources, perhaps you’d be interested in Vikki Stark’s book Runaway Husbands and the Chump Lady book and blog. They helped me make it through. I wish you all the best during this painful journey to the other side. It does get better. Thinking of you…

  24. janine says...

    When my husband and I first lived together, we were in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn (with two cats!). We intended to live there temporarily, but temporarily turned into, well, longer than we thought. When we finally moved out, the landlord said “I don’t know how you two haven’t killed each other yet. If you can survive living in this place for so long, you can survive anything together.”

    • ams says...

      haha we’re living this right now. almost 2 years in our current and first apt together. we made it ours and love our neighborhood, but it’s sooo tiny. it has been a good test and experience so far but our next place HAS to be bigger.

  25. ams says...

    i went from living with my parents to living with my husband. it all felt like a whirlwind so i really haven’t had time to reflect on it yet. is it normal that i cried a lot in the beginning?? lots of random cry seshes. i was really overwhelmed by all the changes and the emotions. i had this sheltered and quite frankly pampered life at home w my parents. and then within 12 months, i got engaged, married, and moved out. after moving out, i felt like i was just then learning how to adult and be truly independent.

    • shelley says...

      I had the same experience and yes totally normal I think! Just an adjustment. It will get smoother with time!

    • Kari says...

      I cried a lot, too! I had lived on my own and with roommates for years by the time I moved in with my new husband, but I still cried a lot. So many changes. Changes to the relationship, managing money together, managing chores together, and suddenly the toilet seat was never ever ever down. It was a lot to handle and process at once, but it gets easier. xx

    • Musilla says...

      Gosh yes, I got engaged, married, moved out, finished a doctorate, got a new job and got pregnant in less than two years and it was SO MUCH! Wonderful, but exhausting

    • Le says...

      I lived with my best friend–my dear twin sis–until I got married, and oh gosh, that first year with my spouse in particular was not easy, AMS. It doesn’t matter if you’re in love, it’s still a huge life adjustment. You are quickly forced to realize your quirks–not all good–and your spouse’s, and how you fight, and what your response to conflict is, and, and, and. It forces a person to come unflinchingly face to face with oneself–but, five years down the road, I can truly say that is the best thing to have ever had happened to this person. :) If you are both open to it, you grow, your partner grows, and you grow together. It gets better! I promise!

    • Emma says...

      Yes, I would say the crying is totally normal! I cried when I moved out of my parents house to live with my now-husband (and his friend). The culture shock from living in a beautiful home and my mom’s cooking to a shabby, dirty little apartment with falling apart hand-me-down furniture and a tiny grocery budget was more overwhelming than I had expected! Then, just last summer, I cried for a week straight after we moved into our first home. It was a good change and something that I had wanted and was thrilled about, but the sudden change was jarring and hit me hard.
      So, yes, I think getting overwhelmed and crying a lot is normal when you go through a big change, even a positive one.

    • JBS says...

      AMS, just so you know my story is the same as yours except 12 months was more like 8. After like three months, a friend saw me at a party and said “how’s it going?” “Good” I answered. Then she said “A lot of crying, right?” And I was like “wait?! How did you know???” “It’s totally normal” she said, “it’s just the first year of adjustment”
      Don’t worry!

  26. Lauren E. says...

    Oooh yes. Living together. I, too, was terrified. I remember crying the week before we moved in together, saying, “What if you see things about me you don’t like?!”

    Ultimately, he’s the best roommate I’ve ever had. And that also showed me a lot about him. He’s considerate, he’s clean(ish), he’s thoughtful, he cares about me. And he’s my BEST best best friend. We have an annoying amount of fun together. And yes, sometimes I leave my dishes in the sink. And yes, sometimes he leaves ALL the lights on. But I couldn’t be happier sharing my space.

  27. AL says...

    My husband and I, when we were dating, called each other one day, both saying “I have something to say!” “No, I have something to say!” We were both saying “let’s move in together.”

    The scariest moment of all was when all stuff his appeared on my floor.

  28. Allison says...

    my fiance and i have lived together for a year and a half. the first year of living together was in an apartment we rented and almost to the exact day our lease was up, we closed on a condo that we bought together! i will say that doing *home ownership* together does feel a little different than just living together, in a good way. for the most part it’s very effortless and honestly, fun! i love sharing my home with him and having each other to look forward to at the end of every day. in terms of surprises – i was most surprised at how many opinions he had about our furniture and decor. we generally have the same taste so i guess i thought he’d just trust me to “do my thing” turns out, he really wants to be involved in every. single. purchase. :) :) :)

    the way he eats crackers or chips right out of the bag and puts massive hunks of dip on them while hovering over the counter and chewing SO. LOUDLY. is one thing i’d be happy to live without BUT! building a life and home with him brings me more joy than could ever be ruined by poor snacking habits. +1 for cohabitation!

  29. I asked my now-husband a similar question after we’d been living together for a year and his response was “I never knew there would be so much HAIR!” No matter what I do, it is indeed everywhere….

  30. Sarah says...

    I lived with two other men before I met my husband. Both relationships left me feeling less of myself. I was terrified for all the drama and tears when we got our first place together. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We both thrived living together and it was obvious from the start. We were engaged within three months, I was pregnant two months after that and married at the eight month mark. We’ve lived together for three years now. If only I could go back in time and tell myself how plainly obvious it is when you meet the right person. I would have had so much more patience for that young woman.

    • Dana says...

      My goodness Sarah – are you me? Everything you wrote (dates and all) is exactly me/my relationship with my husband. 100% this: “If only I could go back in time and tell myself how plainly obvious it is when you meet the right person. I would have had so much more patience for that young woman.”

  31. Kristin says...

    Beautiful piece!

  32. Ashley Prillaman says...

    Sigh, this made me happy :)

  33. Audrey says...

    My favorite thing is that after 7 years of marriage, we reflexively make sure to get the other’s preferred cups/mugs/bowls for them. I noticed it last year. When he is grabbing a dish for me, I always end up with my favorite stemless wine glass from Keeneland or the coffee mug I bought at Starbucks in grad school. He makes sure I get the “bluest” of the bowl options for dinner (my favorite color). And I realized I do that for him too. We’ve never talked about it. Or requested it. But it always makes me feel loved. And I realize it’s those tiny things that make a marriage. And I feel so lucky.

    • anna says...

      this is so cute and true!!

    • Ana D says...

      awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww <3 <3 <3

    • EW says...

      My partner and I do this too! As you said, it makes me feel loved when he makes sure I have my favorite plate or glass. We never request it, but it is often a topic of conversation in the kitchen :)

  34. Hanh vu says...

    i live with a husband a 2 kids.

    I’m surprised at how much domestic work my husband is capable off once I back off and let things go. We didn’t have kids for more than 10 years of our marriage. I’m a high strung person, i would do everything before he has a chance to, then complain about how he doesn’t do things. But with two little kids, I can no longer do it all. So I stopped. and my husband filled in wherever I do not. It feels nice.

    I’m also surprised and appreciate that even with all the house chores and parenting duty we share, my husband would still prefer shooting the trash can more than 10 times to just walking over to the trashcan and throw whatever away.

  35. Kelly says...

    Love the details in this post and the comments. It hit home to me about how beautiful it is to share mundane moments with those you love.

    I was surprised to not see this in the comments: I’m curious if any readers have adult family members or in-laws they support and reside with. Specifically, those with mental illness who may or may not become well enough to live independently.

    This is near to my heart with a potential future sibling in law. It’s challenging in more ways than I’ll list out, but mostly the impact on the future of my relationship with my boyfriend. It can feel like an anomaly at times and I’d like to hear if any other caregiving families are out there. <3

    • Liz says...

      Kelly this sounds so tough. How are you approaching or handling it? What are your options?

      I’m also thinking about this with my aging in laws. Culturally, it’s normal for Indian parents to live with their son and his wife (my husband is Indian, I’m white; my husband is their only child too).

      I can admit this here, although I can’t in real life: I just don’t want them to live with us. Having them move in would change absolutely everything about day to day life, our marriage, how we raise our child, gender dynamics, food, finances, everything. But I know it’s the right thing to do for them and for my husband.

      I’m just mentally preparing I guess. And reminding myself that there are far worse things in the world. And trying (unsuccessfully so far but it’s early days) to see it as an honour to care for others and a chance for personal growth.

    • Em says...

      Kelly and Liz,

      This is indeed a reality facing many — living with in-laws and/or other relatives for health reasons, cultural reasons, or both! My experience involved both of my parents having their mothers-in-law live with them once physical and mental abilities required it (in both cases, my step parents mothers).

      The experiences of my parents were very different: my dad’s mother-in-law, Rita, lived in their granny suite basement for eight years. They renovated it very nicely, she had her own kitchenette, living room, bathroom and bedroom, but would come up to the family kitchen for dinner each day and would hang out in the evenings until bedtime. Rita was generally physically healthy, but her mental agility declined steeply. It was by no means easy for my dad and stepmum — worries about her leaving for a walk and forgetting where she lived, or answering scam phone calls during the day and sending cheques for thousands of dollars (happened many times) were constant concerns. They could not go on holidays without her, which drastically limited travel options, nor could they both go out for evening activities together. It was also a financial burden. I know their relationship did suffer as a result, but they could have put more effort into mitigating these challenges earlier on. Eventually Rita was moved into an assisted living facility at age 88. That came with its own challenges (namely guilt) but as they approach retirement, my dad and stepmum have more freedom and seem to be enjoying one another’s company a bit more. Also – my younger brother (18 years young, he is now 13), grew up with his grandma in the house. She was too elderly to be a babysitter for him, but I think that having her there will ultimately prove to have been a positive thing for him. He grew up demonstrating an increasing level of kindness (and later, patience) toward his grandmother, and she regaled him with praise and family stories on a daily basis (sometimes to his chagrin, but I think he will cherish it later in life).

      Now to my mum – she and my stepdad also renovated their basement into a frankly decadent granny suite for my stepdad’s mother, Ann. She was in poor physical shape despite being quite young (74), as she had lived a solitary and sedentary life in another city for 20 years before moving in with my mum and stepdad. In short, it was a disaster. Ann was in bad spirits about the move to begin with and showed very little gratitude for their efforts and hospitality. My mum, a doer and very active person by nature, was endlessly frustrated by Ann’s sedentary lifestyle, and the drastic impact it had on her health. My mum tried in vain to sign Ann up for various activities and clubs, but to no avail. Ann, in turn (and perhaps fairly, considering the pressure she was under to “get up off that couch”) was bitter toward my mum and her son, complaining constantly and declining physically and mentally. After two miserable years, she moved out into an assisted living facility and flourished! She made friends, perked up physically and mentally (to a shocking extent) and now loves her life and has a new beau. My parents are FAR happier and enjoy the time spent with her much more.

      I should note that we live in Canada, where there is substantial subsidization of for assisted living. Both Ann and Rita have enough retirement savings to pay a portion of their living, but not all of it. They are also not in the “fancy” retirement facilities, but the places are warm and friendly and not the scary ones I often think of as “old folks’ homes” or “nursing homes”.

      All of this to be said — it depends on the family and the attitude you go into cohabitation with ! Don’t try to change someone’s lifestyle or habits — these people, despite their potential dependencies and/or inabilities to live on their own — are adults and can make many day-to-day decisions for themselves. Try anything out — nothing is forever, and if the living situation truly does not work, there are options. Obviously cultural expectations play a role, but no norms are worth being completely miserable in your own home. That said, the positives (impact on children, for example) can be unexpected and very positive.

      Good luck to you both! And I agree, a more in-depth discussion of adult co-habitation would be very welcome.

    • Kelly says...

      Hi Liz and Em,

      Thank you both for your thoughtful responses and personal stories.

      Em, I agree with you and you hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph, especially: “it depends on the family and the attitude you go into cohabitation with”. Each individual and family situation is unique and as much as we’d like to think there’s a one size fits all solution—it’s life after all! I am glad the outcome was positive for all family members, and they found more suitable arrangements while being able to enjoy each other’s company outside of one roof. You’re right, it’s unfortunate there are many political, financial, and cultural limitations to subsidized housing opportunities. I appreciate your realistic and positive hindsight on the entire topic.

      Liz, I’m sure you feel overwhelmed and resistant to this. I feel you. It’s a small grief of what you hoped for part of your life to be and it’s difficult to feel like your happiness at home is being uprooted. Remember that other COJ post recently about things in life that surprised us and turned out differently than we expected? Usually, they do so in a way we never would have imagined. Hopefully you find solace in this new season.

      As for my approach and options, it’s hard some days and I feel the confidence to persevere on others. My situation is at a turning point. It’s difficult for me to make a decision about the next step (marriage) in my relationship when a huge factor is unknown—the hope and possibility things will get better for my future family member or the possible reality they will not. For me to stay or for me to go. My approach has been through a roller coaster of emotions and analysis of head and heart (can’t these two entities just get along? :). These are some tips that make me feel better as I venture along this journey:

      -Put my wellbeing and awareness of my emotions above all, without judgment. Then, determine why I feel a certain way, write what I can do about it (if anything), and note if it’s temporary or long term. Also, read books that help me better process and understand my emotions.
      -Let myself accept some days I might be happy or others want to escape to the nearest park for some fresh air and silence. Remind myself everyone has moments like this regardless of their living situation.
      -Communicate my feelings with my boyfriend, with respect to his perspective—so important! Work together on a plan to intentionally have alone time. This is critical for me to not feel overwhelmed. Everything else then feels more manageable when you feel loved and your relationship is in harmony.
      -Shift my mindset to reduce negative thinking and be honest with what I will and will not accept short and long term. Give myself five-ten minutes to think when needed and then move on with my day. Everything comes to fruition and a turning point eventually: recognize this even if I feel restless.
      -Set boundaries and rules the entire family agrees on.
      -Not put pressure on the family members that “seem to be the cause of this”. Especially, those that need support most. This one is the most difficult to overcome, along with resentment, because humans naturally think their life would be better if only. . . Instead, I try to put energy toward promoting their wellbeing and remind myself they have a perspective on this too. They may be going through a struggle that is not fair. They also may have shame or guilt and feel like a burden, so it’s important to remember their feelings.
      -Remind myself of times in my life I’ve gone through change or when things didn’t seem to be going how I wanted them to. Whatever decisions I made brought me to a place of resilience and personal growth (as you mentioned). I was happy again, even after it felt like that day was far away.

      These definitely sound easier said than done. I don’t remember where I’ve read it, but most of our worries are in the past and future, the present is what we make of it. So cheesy, but true. At the end of the day, I’m sure most of us have loved ones we would do anything for without hesitation, including welcoming them as a part of our home. It’s humbling when your significant other has such a selfless heart to love someone so deeply and give them the best opportunity possible, despite challenges it could present. This is likely one of the characteristics you admire most about them. Change is always scary and invites our old friend resistance to town, but humans are adaptable. Before my grandfather passed, he said nothing else matters besides family in the end. Best of luck and take care. I’m rooting for the wellbeing and peace of your family.

  36. Whit says...

    12 years together (just over 1 married) and my husband still is shocked by the hair situation. He’s always trying to talk me into going back to a pixie cut 😂

    • Katy says...

      This made me laugh out loud this morning. Thank you.

      The other day I can’t into the bathroom and my hubby was explaining to our 2 year old that mommy just has a lot of hair… even the toddler notices the hair balls that I swear blossom overnight.

  37. Jocelyn says...

    At the near end of my last relationship (nearly ten years ago), I was trying to explain to my sweet grandma all the ways in which it was failing. I closed my reckless speech with a very defiant “ AND I will never understand why he insists on using every paper towel when he cleans the kitchen!” I will never forget the way she laughed and said, “How upset that makes you says far more about you, my dear girl, than any of his shortcomings.” I have thought of her comment so many times over the last decade, wishing 24-year-old me would have recognized how lucky she was to have someone to clean the kitchen… I moved out shortly after our conversation and have lived alone (and have had to clean my own damn kitchen) ever since. Ha.

    • KP says...

      Love this. What great grandma wisdom that is!

  38. LK says...

    My two kids are grown. I have been a corporate travel widow for 27 years, with a husband on an airplane up to 80% of the time. When the kids were tiny, this exhausted me (no breaks), and I resented his company logo bling, the golf tournaments disguised as meetings, the Hootie concerts at annual sales rallies. I went to school, raised up them babies into fine, delightful adults, owned businesses–AND learned how to be ALONE. Now, still married (baffling at times, and yet…) we keep separate bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets.
    This is one of the great joys of my life, having a personal bubble guaranteed, and believe it’s something I both practiced for (in all those years of being the only adult on duty) and earned. By extension, should the time arrive that I am single (death, divorce, etc?) I foresee cherishing an even bigger bubble (a whole house!).
    I know this sounds really jaded, probably selfish, even hostile. But I’ve come to prefer the weeks when he is away, and find my thoughts and routines more fully realized and creative during those times. Does this mean I shouldn’t be partnered or share space? No. It makes me feel fortunate (as a woman who went straight from her VERY conservative parents’ home into married cohabitation) to have experienced and become comfortable with both.

    • Denise says...

      As an actual widow, I’d like to ask, very gently and respectfully, that you not use the term widow when your husband is alive. You get to see him; I’ll never see mine again. We worked together, and I used to wish he were gone more – and take the kids with him! Now, I just wish he were here to enjoy the next part of our life together.

  39. I moved in with my boyfriend last July after only 5 months of dating. It was a crazy but great decision! I think what surprised me the most is how grounded I’ve felt with the whole situation. I have anxiety and in the past most of my anxiety has come from relationships and it still does but it’s gotten better. I feel like I’m getting better at dealing with it. Don’t get me wrong I’ve put in a lot of work myself before him and was on the up and up. I’ve also gone to therapy in the past but damn I can’t pretend that my partner hasn’t had a lot to do with grounding me and me feeling less anxious. It’s been great.
    I’m glad my partner doesn’t leave cabinets open because that would drive me crazy. An old roommate did that and it DID drive me crazy. But your observations reminded me of the best relationship advice I’ve heard since I moved in with my partner so I wanted to share: “Don’t confuse roommate issues with relationship issues.” Simple but eye-opening.

  40. Allegra LaViola says...

    what IS it about men and not closing doors?? in my house we call this “the mark of the beast”– I always know when my husband has been in a room because all the doors are still open!

    • Kelly says...

      lol, my husband is like this too! i always assumed it was because he is one of 10 kids and it probably never made sense to close a door (or put things away) because someone else would be along to open it right after you. interesting to know others have this issue too!

    • Lorange says...

      I’m the (female) person who does this in my relationship. My poor (male) partner is forever shutting doors.

  41. Cathy says...

    You are a beautiful writer. Thank you for sharing your honest look at life. Hope living together continues to be lovely on balance.

  42. Lara says...

    We were sooo nervous to move in together, it took us 9 months to actually do so after our first conversation about it. It just seemed like such a big step! A year later the biggest surprise has been- how great and easy it is.

  43. this post was so heartwarming. i have so many reservations myself for how it will be when my boyf and i finally move in together (i want to save that for post-marriage!) but i know that it will be an adventure in and of itself and i’m more excited than nervous, if anything!

    • Kalen says...

      I just absolutely love to read anything you write! The “anthropologist perspective“ is something I need to do more of with my kids and husband!

  44. Tamara says...

    The best advice I have ever gotten, and actually may have read on Cup of Jo, …don’t confuse roommate issues with relationship issues!

    • Sarah says...

      I was juuuust trying to remember this quote! Thank you for sharing it.

    • Kelsey says...

      My now husband moved into our first apartment first and we had so much fun slowly making it our home. Binge watching shows, fighting and having no where to return to but one another, notes on the coffee machine. It’s been 8 years and it still baffles me he likes to shower in the dark and he is baffled that it still looks like I evaporated from the pile of clothes left on the floor. Building a life together has been such a lovely adventure.

    • Karen says...

      That comment actually created some interesting responses, to the tune of roommate and relationship issuing BEING intertwined. (I chimed in myself.) Take a look, it’s worth considering:

      https://cupofjo.com/2019/12/december-weekend-links/#comments
      (Scroll down for Amanda, who kicks it off)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes I agree Karen! Such a great take.

  45. Lisa Saffer says...

    I lived alone for most of my adult life and it was good. I now live with my husband/partner of 13 years in a house we built together ourselves. I insisted on a room of my own (Virginia Woolf!) that I could go into and close the door. Funny, I almost never do that because I just like being in the same room with him.
    That said, the level of un-picked-up man debris drives me crazy, and sometimes I find myself longing for the Margaret Drabble/Michael Holroyd situation: I believe they lived next door to each other, each in their own house. Perfection….

    • Jo says...

      Frida and Diego!!! Dreamy idea!

  46. Kelsey says...

    This post reminded me of the song lyrics to the Lake Street Dive song, ‘How Good It Feels’.

  47. Mamabird says...

    I’m a widow (age 34) and my boyfriend is about to move in with me and my kids,( plus his kid at weekends). I am terrified!
    I happily lived with my husband for 12 years so this shouldn’t be scary but it is. I’d just got solo living figured out.

    • Hollie says...

      Mamabird, I’m a widow too (I’m 41) and have figured out how to live with just me and the kids over the past two years. I love my own space now and sometimes wonder how I could possibly share it with another adult. I’m so happy for you that this is your next chapter and totally get how you’re terrified. Best of luck to you and your new blended family.

    • Abigail says...

      Fellow widow here (age 40). I’ve been on my own for three years now and love my space, but I do hope to once again share life with someone someday. Nothing but admiration for your willingness to take the leap!

    • Court says...

      Not a widow, but here to send all of you ladies love and admiration.

  48. TC says...

    I have never in my life lived alone and I fantasize about it any time my husband and I are fighting. He thinks I’m fantasizing about being with someone else, but no — I’m fantasizing about being alone, about buying furniture without consulting anyone, painting a room pink, going whole-hog minimalist and donating all of the crappy vintage items his mother has passed down to us as “gifts”. What I don’t fantasize about, though, is the quiet of a house to myself, having no one there to make me a hot tea with lemon and honey when I’m sick or to endlessly listen to me drone on about stuff no one else cares about, including him, but he listens anyway. So the walls are greige and I hire housecleaners to keep the peace and we continue to make it work.

    • Emma says...

      Are you me? I swear to god I wrote this, down to the family furniture “gifts”. It’s SO hard to compromise on my personal space and I fantasize about living alone and getting rid of all the crap and making my life beautiful. Love is a sacrifice but I know my life is better for it.

    • Annie K says...

      I also fantasize about having my own space. See above comment about “A Room of One’s Own”. I love my husband and know that if I weren’t married I’d still be seeking partnership, but I’d love some spot that’s just mine. It’s amazing how much “me” becomes “us” necessarily, in a shared space.

  49. Carrie says...

    Oh man, I absolutely love living with my husband. What surprises me most…probably how much we love farting in front of each other. Or how much I absolutely love to take care of him. We don’t have any kids yet but the urge to care for/love/nurture/etc just gushes out of me and my husband is right in the splash zone :)

  50. Tess says...

    When my now-husband and I moved in together, it was a first adult apartment for both of us (we moved in after 4 years long distance during college), so I never really had that ‘living alone as an adult’ thing.
    That said.. I always warn friends moving in with their significant others that you THINK you know a person until you move in with them and realize there was so much you didn’t know about them (and so much you didn’t know about yourself)!!
    An example: we both think that we are the “clean” one in the relationship. Turns out you can have different definitions of this: I am the one constantly clearing clutter off of surfaces and putting things away, and he is the one who actually dusts surfaces and sweeps the floors!
    Cohabitation can be a joy if you approach it with a sense of humor and are willing to compromise. It sounds like you are on the right track, Caroline!!

  51. Elizabeth S. says...

    Just here to say that Caroline’s posts make me feel old… I have 3 sons. I’m 37. I barely remember cohabiting with my boyfriend. 😂

    • Lori D says...

      I was thinking the same thing! that i barely remember cohabitation before kids.

    • Rosie says...

      I think Caroline is about 35!

  52. Daniela says...

    My husband and I officially moved in together after three months of dating. I say officially because we actually knew each other for months before meeting in person (kind of a long story), and when he drove to meet me for the first time from where he lived two hours away, we clicked and he spent the next few nights at my place before we had to go back to work in our separate cities. So in a way, our relationship started with us immediately living together and it just feels so right.

  53. Ashley says...

    I have such a hard time conceiving of giving up my sweet little bachelor apartment – my own solo sanctuary in Los Angeles. My parter and I even live in the same building (extraordinarily convenient)! I think about what it would mean to cohabitate again, and even though my current partner is my MOST favorite human in the entire world and even though I already know his living habits, and even though I’m deeply committed to and in love with him, even though he’s the KINDEST and most sensitive man I’ve ever met – I’m having the hardest time envisioning losing my own space. It’s not him, it’s me. Admittedly! I could easily see myself being one of those people who is married but lives separately. Maybe it’s my default because as the only girl, I’ve always had my own room and my own space. I’ve lived with other boyfriend and didn’t love it. As women, we’re trained to put partnership and melting into another human as the goal…but I don’t know, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I love my space and can completely see the authors feelings being very much like my own. Thanks for the great piece.

  54. Rachel Elizabeth says...

    Prior to our marriage, my husband and I had both gone off to college and then temporarily moved back in with our parents. After he proposed, he found a lovely little condo unit. He lived in it by himself until we got married. However, since he had purchased it with the intent of it being “ours,” not just his, it was really sweet to watch him prepare the space. He purposely left spaces for me to fill (the second closet in the bedroom, half of the medicine cabinet, half of the spare bedroom that became the home gym, etc.) . And, for all of the truly shared spaces, he discussed all of the decorating with me before making purchases, hanging things up, etc. Younger me had always kind-of assumed that I would be the one decorating/organizing in the relationship that I would have one day. I think that I assumed this because in my parents’ relationship (and some other couples that my family was close with) that was the way it worked. However, it was such a pleasant surprise to watch my fiancé prepare for all of those shared habits that develop in a home of multiple humans in the way the he organized and decorated the condo unit. It was a beautiful way to say that he was anticipating/wanting to share a space with me :)

    • That’s so beautiful!

  55. Shilpi says...

    Good luck with the new phase! I’ve lived with two men — one with a boyfriend for 4 years, and the next time only after I had gotten engaged, and I noticed a real difference in the way that we percieved each other in each circumstance. The first time with boyfriend, little things that annoyed us would sort of be catalogued as “things that annoy me.” the list would grow and grow. the second time, with fiance-now-husband, things that annoyed us would be immediately talked about, and then problem solved. the list got smaller and smaller. So while I can’t question people about their decision to live together before marriage (since I did it myself!) I do want to share that observation… I think once you have agreed to be in it for the long haul, you do approach each others good and bad traits with a different attitude.

    • Danielle says...

      Yes! This is not an issue in my house but is occasionally in my office and I think of this every time.

    • Rosie says...

      I am so guilty of this, but so is my wife. At our old house, I accidentally knocked the holder off the wall in the middle of the night when I was pregnant and the toilet paper lived on the floor for 4 years until we went to sell the house and the real estate agent suggested we fix it haha. We just leave it on the floor at our new house even though there is a perfectly good and easy to use holder on the wall. IDK we’re weird because we’re both so Type-A and rule obsessed, but there are certain messes that we both happily ignore.

  56. Hanna says...

    I found it surprisingly hard to realize that the door I used to close behind me was not my door anymore, but ours, that my apartment was not mine anymore, but ours, that coming home didn’t mean being on my own anymore, but having a boyfriend I suddenly resented sitting on my – our – sofa, I remember a friend laughing at me, asking, what did you expect, you LOVE being alone, and thinking, how do you know that, I didn’t know that; moving in together confronts you with yourself in a way you might not expect, but still I’d say to my younger self, stick with it, closing your beloved doors behind your beloved self again and again and again won’t lead you anywhere you haven’t been before

    • Abby says...

      Beautifully written Hanna. Thank you!
      My boyfriend has not officially moved in (albeit it feeling that way since he has the keys and sleeps over 6/7 nights) and I can already relate! However, after the first minute of shock that “someone is in my sacred home” I have found that sitting together on the sofa is worth it.

  57. Leah says...

    Ugh, this reminds me how simple (and easy) life is before kids. You should stretch out this stage of your life as long as you possibly can. Savor it!

    • K says...

      Ha! You’re right! It sounds so calm, right?

    • ellie says...

      I know you probably don’t intend it this way, but man does your comment sound rough to someone with fertility problems. I hear where you’re coming from (children do OF COURSE complicate things), but I’m not sure it really needs to be said. We all know that.

    • Meghan says...

      May I offer that it’s not a given that someone may want kids?

    • Olivia says...

      That’s funny, I was just thinking the exact opposite today after putting my daughter to bed. We went to the library today and I was going to go get my books from the car. I realized that before I had her, I would have all the leisure time in the world to read. It feels unbearably empty in comparison and I do not relish the way things were. It was definitely easier to do errands, though. To each their own :)

    • K says...

      Meghan, I think Leah is just remembering a previous period of her life :)

  58. Amanda says...

    My husband and I have lived together for almost 12 years. I moved in with him after three months (!) of dating – it was supposed to be a temporary thing, but weeks later, after I’d lined up a (hopefully sane) roommate on Craigslist and decided to start repacking my boxes, he seemed incredibly hurt. Turns out that while I thought I was being an inconvenience and moving too fast, he thought it was going swimmingly and didn’t want me to leave! So I stayed…

    We have tried on and off throughout the years to have roommates, and I have ended up vehemently hating every single one of them, thanks to them breaking my things, refusing to clean up after themselves, encroaching on my space, etc. My sweet husband must honest-to-god be my destined-to-be “person,” because he is truly the only person I can happily cohabitate with. So even though he’s a night owl (I’m in bed by 8:30pm) who leaves crumbs everywhere (I obsessively clean the counters) and isn’t allowed to wash most of my clothes, we seem to just work when it comes to living together. And I’m thankful for that because despite my introverted nature, I think I’d get rather lonely if I was alone :)

  59. Marcella says...

    I currently live alone – I moved out of my parents’ house a year and a half ago into my first apartment and then am moving to my second apartment this weekend. My boyfriend is moving into his first apartment this week too. We have been together for a long time ( 6 years) and I know we will probably live together eventually but we’re both worried it may ruin our relationship since we love our relationship now, and have VERY different lifestyles (I’m an early bird ex-cross country runner, he’s a software developer night owl). Does anyone else struggle/worry about this?? I love my independence and I’m just not ready to give it up, even though when people get married that’s inevitably what happens I suppose.. of course when we move in together it will be something we both want to do but I know it will be very different.

    • Brittany says...

      I had the same fears, Marcella. My now husband is also a software developer and can show up to work on a more staggered 10 – 6 pm / 11 – 7 pm schedule. I, like you, love the early mornings and always workout first thing (I love running). We’ve found a way to bend a bit while still holding true to how we prefer to live. I now wake up around 6:30 – 7 and sneak out to run or workout in some way. He still sleeps in a bit but wakes up closer to 8 – 8:30. I handle the dogs in the am after I workout and he handles the final walk at night when I’m in bed reading and unwinding in the hopes of falling asleep pretty quickly, and potentially when he’s out walking the dogs. It was difficult for us to abandon our routines, but we’ve settled in beautifully and have found a way to be helpful during our most “stimulating” times (morning for me and night for him). I’ll say this – the fact that you’re both living by yourselves first sans roommates is a beautiful thing. My husband and I both lived on our own before we decided to ultimately live together and it made us independent, aware of our weird quirks, and excited to ultimately “room” together. Enjoy this time and know that you’ll find a way to honor both your routine and your relationship! Best of luck. :)

    • Nicole says...

      My husband and I are also morning/night opposites and, through a few years of trial and error, we’ve found what works best for us! I think there was also a COJ article about this, but I’ve found that while I thought we needed to be on the same schedule, what I really needed was just a chance to connect before I go to bed. I’ll go through my nighttime routine, cozy up in bed then he’ll come in and chat/cuddle/put me to bed. He then slips out to do his own thing for a few more hours and I blissfully drift off to sleep.
      I spent years (oops!) trying to get him to ENJOY early Saturday yoga/brunch before noon/morning walks, and would be hurt and frustrated that he was groggy and grumpy. We eat dinner together as often possible, and enjoy our weekend afternoons. I’ve finally realized that we both thrive with a little alone time anyways, so might as well enjoy it while we are most productive: early morning for me and late night for him.
      When he was deployed I relished my 9pm bedtime with no FOMO about whatever he would usually be doing in the other room, but ultimately realized that I would rather my schedule be messed up every once in a while, than live without him and his night owl ways :)
      No kids yet, and I know that will complicate things, but I love Brittany’s example with her pup. So much of being in a relationship is about teamwork, and respecting and playing into each other’s strengths so as long as you’re willing to meet halfway when needed, that’s what matters!
      Good luck on the next steps :)

    • Maria says...

      My fiance (since a couple of weeks!) and I live in totally different time zones – literally, because of long distance, but also when actually being in the same place. I’m in bed by 10 and up 6-7, while he easily stays up until 3-4, and if nothing is planned the following day, sleeps until the early afternoon. When I realized how different our habits are, it scared me A LOT. How do other couples deal with this? For a short while I’m able to adapt to his schedule… but in the long run, no. Not without consequences, health-wise, mood-wise etc. I love “day time” and making the most of every day, and to not be able to share one’s “best hours” with the person you love and live with… I don’t know how to come to terms with it all!

  60. K says...

    All the things that living with a person that one can find annoying, after enough time passes, it just exists and it’s not so bad. Will my husband always have a pile of toothpicks on the end table (reusable ones, with caps)? Yes. Would that bother you? I bet it would but I pick them up and it’s ok.
    I can remember as a kid my big brother finally blurted out to my mother and me, “will you two put your shoes away when you take them off!?” I guess he had enough of the two of us removing our shoes wherever we were standing when we decided we no longer wanted to wear them. But he got it off his chest that day and we didn’t change.
    I could yell about those toothpicks but Husband will still leave them there and there’s no sense in getting aggravated about the little things. I’m certain he’s tripped on my shoes once or twice, after all.

  61. txilibrin says...

    My current living situation goes like this: I wake up with a kid staring at my face from 2 inches far. Followed by another kid screaming his lungs out for his bottle. Usually at 5:30-6 every single day of the week.
    I do love them, but OH I miss ME time, husband time, or just time!!!

    • Rachel says...

      This is me too! A 3-week old baby and a barely two-year-old. Today is my 3 year anniversary and I just had 4 pieces of takeout sushi to celebrate before the baby started crying again…
      I miss dates and watching tv together so much!

  62. I’ve been living alone for two years, since my divorce. I had never really LIVED alone. Living with my parents, college, roommates and being so broke living in San Francisco in my 20’s. I found myself 31, home of my own and living alone. Let me tell you, it is fucking amazing. It’s all that I could have dreamt of and more. On my 33rd birthday this year, I smoked blunt in my bathtub. Who am I? I love waking up, reading the paper and taking my pup on long walks. After giving os much of myelf to others this time is so scared. I’m focusing on becoming a solo mom this year and I cannot wait to create a home with my little one day. Until then, I may be listening to Dixie Chicks on Saturday mornings while baking myself cinnamon roles.

    I love you Caroline <3

    • Jess says...

      Is this Tara who mows her lawn? You’re amazing, whichever Tara you are! : )

    • Reba says...

      Among my friends, I am the posterchild/cheerleader for “single people (ahem, women) should have nice things, too!”: as in, you want the wedding china without the wedding? Go for it, girl, that’s what overtime pay is for! You have a dream trip and no one wants to accompany you? Why wait: cash in those airline miles and bon voyage! But I held off on buying my own place for*ever* because it felt like closing down the opportunity to search/buy/decorate/share a place with someone else. And I was right to be worried…now that I’m in my own place with my own treasures and my choices on the walls and the windows and the shelves and the shower curtain rod, I can’t imagine negotiating all of that with someone else. *toasts Tara with a cinnamon roll*

    • Anna says...

      Your sound amazing, Tara! I’m also enjoying some alone-time at my apartment, before seeing what the future holds.

    • Tara Ilsley says...

      Jess, it’s me!!! Hi!! let’s be friends @tpilsley ig, xoxo

    • Mandy says...

      Tara that mows the lawn! One of my favorites! (Damn, now I want cinnamon rolls)

  63. Caroline, pray tell, have you clued The Boyfriend in on the lyrics to The Wednesday Song?!?

  64. Lynn says...

    I live with my husband of 1 year, although we’ve lived together for 6. What surprises me is the dishes, granted we also have two babies. We have a dishwasher that we run almost daily, and even that cannot keep up with TWO adults who love to cook. In our next home, a large kitchen where two simultaneously cooking chefs don’t bump into each other and block the one cabinet you NEED TO OPEN RIGHT NOW OMG, is the priority. Other than that, I’m surprised by the gentle, silent compromise that is decorating (i.e. collecting treasures over time and making them visible).

    • Rosie says...

      We love to cook too, and the solution has been to run the dishwasher twice a day for just 3 of us. My wife and I both hate doing the dishes, and it was one of the few things we fought about, so it was an easy solution. Does that mean we sometimes run a half-full dishwasher? Yeah, but we’ve also eliminated one of the main points of contention. Now we just fight over who will unload it!

  65. Alec says...

    My then-boyfriend-now-fiance and I moved in together about a year ago, first into his shared apartment in the city and now into our very own bonafide suburban home – gophers and all.

    One thing I loved that he did when I moved in was instituted weekly “check-in”, just asking how I was feeling and taking the temperature of the move, the living situation, and the relationship overall. He said it was too easy to chug along until small problems or annoyances got to be too big to bear and turned into a Thing, but by inviting regular conversation and updates to one another, we were able to head off anything while it was still joke-level (please don’t leave dishes in the sink or I will lose it).

    Having never lived with a partner before, his openness and communication made all the difference in merging our two lives into one.

  66. agnes says...

    Right now, I would LOVE to live on my own again. After so many years of living together, (more than 13 I think), our relationship is great and we have a 6 year old, but I would love a house of mine. My colors on the wall. My schedule and sleeping habits. My eating habits. I think a bridge between two houses is ideal, or a corridor between two flats, I am completely ready for that and will do it when I have the finances! In the meantime, I enjoyed your post!

  67. Tiffany says...

    Whenever you write a book, I swear I will be the first one to pre-order it.

    • Laura R says...

      I second that!

    • Anonygirl says...

      She did write a book! Two of them, actually. Fiction, but still…

    • Amy says...

      What are the book titles?? I’m searching and coming up short!

  68. Laurence says...

    This definitely speak to me. When my boyfriend moved in my studio apartment (so you really truly are in the same room all the time) after about a decade of living alone, I was more worried about how I would react to this invasion of the space I so carefully crafted to be my haven than the actual changes he would bring. It’s no secret to my friends and family that I can be pretty set in my ways. And so, as much as I could I tried to see it as an opportunity to learn to let others in since doing so can usher in new, unexpected, fun traditions.

    As far as the anthropology of our cohabitation goes: I’m the one who uses an inordinate amount of utensils, while the Boyfriend is the one who always leaves cupboard doors open. The Boyfriend also has much much more clothes than I, requiring the purchase of two additional dressers. I leave books on every possible surface in the apartment.

  69. Betsy says...

    I laughed so hard at the so much hair comment. my boyfriend can commiserate, I’ve lived with my boyfriend for 2 years. He still comments on how much of my hair is on the bathroom floor, sink, tub. He used to comment on my hair, on his bathroom floor, before we moved in together. I tried to be the nice girlfriend and clean it up. So when he moved in with me, and saw the real hair scenario, I think he was shocked. I’ve always said I shed worse than the dog. Yet, I have a ton of hair. Thanks for the chuckle!

    • AN says...

      My wife keeps a lint roller next to our garbage can in the bathroom and rolls our white-tile bathroom floor every morning, no joke. I do it when I remember to. It’s SO nice, and so easy!

    • Rachel says...

      Same thing here, I try so hard to clean it up and yet it appears in random places and I don’t think he truly understands that this is true for all women everywhere. It’s not just me, I swear!

    • A says...

      Oh my god an. The lint roller is genius! Thank you

    • Yulia says...

      Yes, hair everywhere! Once after I’d been at his apartment all weekend my ex asked me, in quiet bafflement and awe, “How do you do it? I just opened a book I hadn’t read in years and one of your hairs was between the pages.”

    • Amy says...

      We just moved to a place with 1.5 bathrooms and I’ve taken over the half bath as my “hair bathroom.” I do all my brushing, blow drying, straightening, curling my hair in there and clean up the (many) loose strands with a handheld vacuum. He doesn’t have to see my hair all over the shared bathroom and I don’t have to listen to his daily shock about how much hair can possibly fall out of my head. A blessing for each of us!

  70. Lisa says...

    This is so sweet!
    On 4th July this year, it will be 10 years since my husband and I started living together. We have since added two other small residents.
    What surprised me is kind of weird – I had had (complete weirdo) flatmates, but my room was always my own. So I got used to putting stuff down, and it staying there. My husband moves stuff and it still confuses me – for the first few weeks I thought I had dementia as stuff was never where I expected it to be.
    While at times I fantasise about having a pristine flat filled with things like candles and flowers and all my stuff staying where I put it, I would really miss these guys. It really struck me on Sunday morning as we sat down to eat pancakes together and then later having a dance party together – this is wonderful. The flat is constantly chaos (two toddlers …) but it’s our home

  71. Amanda says...

    I don’t think that I noticed how much hair I shed until I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) and he was baffled by it! It truly is everywhere!

  72. For years, my boyfriend-turned-husband and I would also read Modern Love aloud! Sometimes we’d have a pile worth a few weeks and take turns. Since our roommates joined us (aka our children), that activity has become a rarity. When our youngest was a few months old, we drove him and our Modern Love Pile to the Coney Island boardwalk for a morning of reading aloud. It was just past the haze of caring for a newborn and we were settling into our new life as a family. That was already five years ago, but I can remember it so crystal clear – the rustling of newspapers with waves lapping in the background. Since then, reading aloud in our home has shifted from Modern Love to Snowy Day and books about shipwrecks, but every so often it makes a comeback and for a few minutes, we’re in the pre-kids era of our relationship.

  73. Courtney says...

    I’m moving in with my boyfriend in a couple of weeks! It’ll be my first time ever living with a partner and my first roommate in nearly seven years.

    • Alec says...

      I wonder if the CoJ team would ever do an advice list – I received so much when preparing to move in and it was invaluable!

    • Emilie says...

      Courtney, ditto! T-minus 11 days until moving day, and saying farewell to living solo since 2014 (when I lived with a roommate – I have never lived with a partner).

      My boyfriend and I spend every night together, so paying double rent is a waste of money. I have been preoccupied with these fiscal thoughts, and with the stress of packing etc., but this piece (so beautifully written, bravo as always Caroline!) has reignited the excitement I have about the real reason why it is worthwhile to live together — the solo rituals becoming duets, and bearing witness to one another’s lives in the simplest way.

      I wish you luck and happiness in the ‘great merge’, Courtney!

  74. The Course of Love says...

    Have you read the Alain de Botton book? It feels like an essential read for anyone at any stage of any relationship, as are most of his books. And without trying to seem like I’m here to rain on your parade (I’m really not. I’m REALLY happy for your happiness, really), I feel so much a part of the beginning of your relationship (because you put it all out there on the internet) that I can’t help but look forward to the end of it. I KNOW, that sounds terrible, but I mean it in the best way possible. Some day, this, like everything else, will end. Or at least will become unrecognizable in comparison to what it is today. I enjoy your honest, mundane documentation of it, and will look forward to the following chapter, the one after that, the one after that and, eventually, the last one. Which, of course, will be woven into parts of the next act of the course of love. Best of luck with this one, however long it remains.

    • Kara says...

      This is the strangest thing to say to someone, seriously.

    • Shelby says...

      Wat.

    • kate says...

      what the hell lol

    • Claire says...

      Seriously….what is this?

    • Katie says...

      I’m with Kara that this is the absolute strangest thing to say to someone. Reminder that the lives of writers (even ones who write about their own lives) are not here for your amusement….they are also real people, with real feelings. It isn’t like hoping the next game of thrones book goes a certain way.

    • Marlena says...

      This response is rudely unfiltered and ends up coming off as dismissive to the author of this post.

      A gentle note – it’s never OK to tell someone that you’re looking forward to the end of their relationship. No matter what Alain de Botton’s take on love relationships is. That’s like saying you’re looking forward to the end of a person’s life because, hey, we all die. Not nice.

    • Carrie says...

      I’m really not sure why I like this comment so much. It didn’t even read as rude…just…delightfully odd

    • Christine Gould says...

      No thank you

    • Rosie says...

      I love my family and I know that living together is an essential part of that, but I loved living alone and if there was some situation in which I could live alone without leaving my wife or child I would. Like be a long-distance wife/mom. I sometimes dream of having a one-bedroom apartment that I hang out in when I need a break from my family. Then I think of the second Sex and the City movie when Big and Carrie discuss doing that and I think, “Oh no way. That’s so dysfunctional!” and I go back to my life and try to appreciate it. Living with other people can be weird like that. Essential and bizarre at the same time.

  75. Sarah says...

    Caroline, thank you! This came at the very moment when I needed it – as my boyfriend and I discuss moving in together (and looking at apartments!). I only ever lived with my twin sister (and the occasional, additional college roommate) and then alone. Both of which I loved, because it was – even with my sister – living with oneself. I’m thrilled by this new adventure! And am also experiencing a lot of trepidation as we book tours of places, talk about how much stuff we have collectively, where to store things. Thanks for making this a normal, relatable experience!

  76. I currently live in a 480 sq ft apartment with two cats and a 3.5 year old boy. My son, Arlo, has the bedroom and my massive king size bed is in the living room, effectively giving me a studio apartment in the evenings. Furthermore, my spectacular boyfriend/partner spends 6 nights a week at my place, and his own apartment is 1.5 blocks away. When winter takes the leaves from the trees we can see one another’s kitchen windows! What’s been shocking to me is how (almost) perfect it is. My son and I could sometimes use more space (like Saturday mornings when Arlo is ready to roll at 6am and the boyfriend could really use a little more sleep, only now the boyfriend just sleeps a couple extra hours in Arlo’s twin size bed!), but having this man who is absolutely my partner so close that quickly running an errand for one another is a breeze (he comes over to do all cat-related chores! Unprompted! And he brings me ice cream when Arlo’s asleep but I’m craving it!). I used to be desperate to move in together, but I’ve become so enamored with having our own spaces within arms reach of one another!

    • Carlene says...

      This is my dream.

    • Carrie says...

      How amazing. Sounds like a Nora Ephron movie or something

  77. Laura says...

    I can’t remember the source, but I read recently that one of the greatest gifts marriage/partnership has to offer is simply bearing witness to another’s life. You capture that idea beautifully.

    • Amber J says...

      Oh this is beautiful.

  78. Annie says...

    My boyfriend and I moved in together last March. It’s sometimes felt like he is a mirror of all of the parts of myself that are harder for me to see. I’ve learned so much about myself – in good and hard ways – through cohabitation!

  79. Kim says...

    WHY CAN’T MEN CLOSE CABINET DOORS AND DRAWERS????

    • Abby says...

      My mother does the same thing. It is aggravating.

    • Ana D says...

      My husband closes cabinet doors and drawers. If he ever comes back on the market, I strongly recommend him.

    • SRB says...

      Or lights

    • G.M. says...

      Honestly, I think men are like dogs. They have to leave at least one ‘mark’ wherever they’ve been. My husband’s mark is, no matter how big the kitchen cleanup, whether he has a bowl of cereal or makes a full pasta dinner, there is always ONE or TWO things left out!!!! A lid or a fork on the counter or a bowl in the sink. We won’t talk about all the other ones…ya know, the sweater on the couch, the socks on the living room floor, the shoes in the middle of the hallway. Yup, it’s the marking their territory thing.

    • bonnie says...

      In our home, it’s me who leaves cabinet doors open (in my defense, I’m typically the only one in the kitchen and I will need that cupboard soon anyway!) … My husband and my two-year old grandson take it upon themselves to come in and shut the drawers (the toddler even when I’m putting away silverware!). It’s all good.

    • Mel says...

      I am the one who leaves doors and drawers open…because i’m going back to them! My husband is always on me about it and now my 3 year old is ‘mama you forgot to close the garbage drawer this time, here i’ll help you’. In my defense I clean up both of their dirty strewn about socks all the time. And I love doing it. Because I love living with them.

  80. Sarah says...

    I only ever lived alone once in my adult life, when I was studying abroad in college, in Paris. I had a beautiful, tiny flat in the Marais, wandered the winding streets alone, and enjoyed my introvert time, but it was also tremendously isolating. Since college, I always had to live with roommates (sometimes enjoying it more than others) until I moved in with my now-husband about 7 months before our wedding. Living with him is like living with another half of myself. We talk when we feel like it, are quiet when we don’t. We take turns cooking and cleaning up, he admires my design aesthetic (literally, he said so yesterday!) and he makes me laugh every day.

    We’ve just moved from the tiny apartment we shared for 3 years to a larger one in a different state, and rescued a shelter dog, so the current living situation involves setting up a home office and training a large German Shepherd to go to the bathroom outside and wipe her muddy paws before stepping on the carpet when she comes back in :).

  81. Amy says...

    Great writing as always Caroline.

  82. Lindsay says...

    I would happily read Caroline’s writing ever single day ❤️

    • Lindsay says...

      *Every :)

  83. Katie says...

    Goodness gracious Caroline, you were born to be a writer.

    • Simona Morachioli says...

      so true.

  84. Michaela says...

    I once heard the saying, never confuse a roommate problem and a relationship problem, and I find myself repeating this frequently when my husband drives me crazy with his housekeeping skills. I always just remind myself this is a “roommate problem” when he doesn’t do the dishes or clean up after himself.

    • Savannah says...

      My new mantra thank you!

    • Karina says...

      lol you heard that saying here ! it was a featured reader comment last month.

    • Mary says...

      Oh thank you for this! Very timely! I am near to returning my husband to his mother for further training. Lol

    • Michaela says...

      I thought I read it here but couldn’t refind it! I will have to look again!