Amidst the sea of roommates I’ve had since my freshman year of college, I can count two as boyfriends. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t pretty much live with other boyfriends (much to the dislike of my actual roommates) by having them over sleep every other night and take up one-third of the couch, but that’s something else entirely. The arrangement I’m speaking of today involves two people who are dating and living together, with all their shit thrown into one space (physically and emotionally speaking). It’s an entirely different type of roommate relationship, but one that has just as many ups and downs as all the others.
First, let me say that living with a boyfriend (or girlfriend) is a big deal. And I’m not talking about sex or religion or marriage. I’m talking about that moment when you can no longer say, “We’re not getting along, so I think it might be best if we spend the next few nights apart.” I can’t count how many times I or my former boyfriends (or current one!) used that line, and it always felt really good to say. When you’re finally comfortable enough in a relationship to essentially tell your partner to get lost for a few days until each of you gets over a disagreement, it feels very liberating. And beyond that, it feels mature. I think I actually patted myself on the back a few times for choosing to temporarily remove the tension from my life that was caused by a silly fight. Plus, it made making up that much more fun!
When you’re dating someone and living in separate homes, it’s easy to arrange your life so that your relationship suffers as little as possible from the realities of living together. You don’t share bills. You don’t always know the other person’s schedule on a daily basis. You don’t really live inside the other person’s world full-time, and if you need a day off, it’s easy to take time for yourself without changing up your routine too much.
There were many days that I wasn’t getting along with my roommates and went running to my boyfriend’s place, but as the time approached for him and me to move in together, it dawned on me that I would no longer have that as an “escape” plan. Suddenly, I wasn’t supposed to want to escape anyplace, because my roommate was going to be my boyfriend, the person I chose to spend all my time with. But what if that didn’t work out? Then where would I go? These are the types of questions I started asking myself when I realized that, as much as my roommates occasionally drove me crazy, they were often great people to be around when my boyfriend and I had a dumb fight.