People seem to write and talk about living together in one of two ways. They either go deep into the terrifying repercussions of making this decision, or they make it sound entirely too good to be true. As someone who not too long ago was reading blogs on this very matter, I chose to present what actually happens when you decide to live together, because the reality is just a giant melting pot of experiences.
This list contains serious advice, gushy side notes and a healthy splash of comedy, because that's what taking your relationship to any next level is really like. That's what deciding to live together is. It's a new journey filled with haphazard attempts to do what you think is right and the perfect amount of physical and emotional closeness needed to figure out if you're going to rise or fall together. It's humorous, enlightening, challenging, humbling, comforting and above all, an experience entirely of its own kind.
1. You know everything about each other in a new and eye-opening way.
2. It becomes instrumental that you support each other's personal and professional goals.
3. You determine that your place has a few levels of clean.
4. There's the "Just Us" kind of clean.
5. There's the "Our friends are coming over. You should at least pick up your underwear or something" kind of clean.
6. And lastly, there's the "The Parents/In-laws are coming over. Quick, make this place fit for a visit from Jesus himself" kind of clean.
7. You're forced to confront any differences you may have.
8. I used to be a big fan of straight up leaving when someone upset me, but when you live together that's not a very reasonable option. This either makes you hate each other's guts, or 100 times stronger and better at handling conflicts.
9. You're eventually comfortable in complete silence together, and take joy in doing little tasks with someone by your side.
10. "Babe, have you seen my wallet?"
11. "Babe, have you seen my keys?"
12. "Babe, have you seen my chapstick?"
13. You have to step up and be there for each other during the crappier parts of life.
14. You're the one that takes care of them when they're sick, hurt, too damn drunk or too damn disappointed. You're their person.
15. You realize everyone completes seemingly universal tasks, like loading the dishwasher or doing laundry, very differently. You have more conversations centered around this fact than you're probably proud to admit.
16. One of you undoubtedly earns the title of "The Messier One."
17. "Honestly, you're pretty gross."
18. You find a lot of "Your Spots" around where you live together. The employees at your favorite bars, coffee shops and restaurants become weirdly connected to your relationship.
19. You're forced to talk about money on a pretty regular basis. I know, yuck.
20. You do get to split most of your bills with someone else though, HOLLA FOR TWO INCOMES Y'ALL.
21. "I'm going to the bathroom." "Well, is it a #1 or a #2 because I still need to get ready in there and I am NOT spiral curling my hair in a stench pit."
22. "YOU WATCHED THE LATEST EPISODE WITHOUT ME?!?! DON'T EVEN TRY TO LIE THE TV SAYS YOU DID. CHEATING BASTARD."
23. You make a lot of plans together, and your friends start considering you two a package deal.
24. You figure out how to match each other's sleep schedules and preferences.
25. They often become your soft place to land when the world feels like a tornado of garbage.
26. They're that person you look forward to coming home to. They're your weird-HBO-marathon-pizza Friday night after a tumultuous work week.
27. You get entirely too close to each other's friends.
28. You have a lot of the "unsexy" talks, like whose turn it is to take out the trash or how you're trying to get more fiber in your diet.
29. You're forced to love each other's pets, but still make side comments defending your pet's obvious superiority.
30. You start to find way too much joy in exchanging funny stories with other couples that also live together.
31. You try (unsuccessfully) to hide snacks from each other.
32. "Did you eat all of the Cheese-its?"
33. You run errands together… and you actually use the horrific word "errand" like your grandma does.
34. You both intentionally schedule "me time" to make sure you retain sanity.
35. They become your study/work buddy.
36. And your workout buddy.
37. And your drinking buddy.
38. Your relationship inherently becomes more private in certain ways.
39. The pressure of others will make you feel like you're supposed to be moving at a certain pace in your relationship. Moving in together can feel like the first check on a fake relationship development checklist, with getting married and having children the daunting next empty boxes. That's not true. There are so many dynamic combinations of relationship priorities and timings.
40. You grow to understand that all decisions should be made based upon what you think is important as a couple. You have your own goals. The choice to move in any new direction is entirely between the two of you.
41. You learn to pick your battles, and compromise on more in general. OR you don't, and life becomes very challenging for the two of you.
42. Spending time together can become so natural and comfortable that it never feels like a chore.
43. "Can we not hangout with anyone else this weekend, please?"
44. You can grow to appreciate each other more than you ever had.
45. You can also start to devalue your time together, and then find out how detrimental this predicament really can be.
46. You figure out that cooking for two people is quite different than cooking for one.
47. You try to be nice sometimes and fold the other person's laundry, only to find yourself folding a few pairs of underwear and contemplating throwing in the towel on your youth.
48. "You're actually like sleeping next to a heat lamp. "
49. Intimacy doesn't necessarily plummet into nothingness when you live together. If anything, you have more privacy and uninterrupted time together to really invest yourself in understanding your partner. You just have to maintain that mindset.
50. You take the uniquely shaped pieces of your hearts, mush them together in a building structure of some kind and see if they fit. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they do.
If they don't, it hurts like hell and creates a lot of complications. If those pieces do fit, it can be the most incredible step towards an authentic, loving relationship with another human being.
Every chance worth taking in life involves risk. We figure out how to exist together in a way that's both scary and comforting, hilarious and serious, calming and breathtaking, and utterly unique in every way.
Cover image via Shutterstock.