It has been four years since I moved in with my fiancé, and to be honest, we still have the occasional fight about the most random of things. I have come to the realization that although there are many perks to living with someone, it certainly comes with its downsides.
I am quite a control freak, whereas my partner is relatively easy going. He refuses to stress over the little things, whereas I tend to exaggerate problems. The amount of pain that I have put him through over the past few years has made me wonder why he hasn’t upped and left yet. At one point, my attitude even got me thinking if I was intentionally sabotaging myself and our relationship.
After some soul searching and speaking to numerous couples who lived together, I realized that it had nothing to do with that. In fact, the problems my fiancé and I face are very similar to the problems faced by millions of couples around the world who choose cohabitation.
The 6 problematic M’s that couples face
It all comes down to making space in your life for someone else. Some people adjust to it very quickly whereas others, like me, need time to adapt. Here are the 6 M’s faced by couples who live together.
#1 Monotony. One of the biggest problems faced by couples who live together is falling into the monotony trap. You led a very different lifestyle when you were dating and had your own place. The thrill of selecting an outfit and getting ready for a date, looking good for your partner, deciding whether to sleep over and all the other exciting tidbits of living alone leave when you move in together.
Now, it’s all about whose turn it is to buy soy milk, who forgot to feed the fish, whose responsibility it is to take down the Christmas lights and so on. Many couples get too comfortable and let the romance seep out of their relationship. Although there is nothing wrong with having a routine, try not to let it get too monotonous. Spice things up with date night, surprises, little gifts and sweet gestures. There is no reason why living together should spoil what you used to have. [Read: 25 sweet gestures to get rid of the monotony]
#2 Monogamy. Another problem faced by couples who live together is getting tired and bored of monogamy. Sure, even couples who do not live together partake in monogamy but somehow, the inability to access your freedom is amplified even more when your partner lives with you.
Do not cheat just to make yourself feel better. This is the worst possible way to take back your freedom. Instead, plan a fun boys’ or girls’ night out, and enjoy a little bit of harmless flirting. Revel in the fact that you do not need to ply a random stranger with alcohol and dates before you can get into their pants. You have a perfectly lovable sex partner waiting for you at home. [Read: 10 vital steps to resist temptation in love]
#3 Mindlessness. Couples who live together tend to suffer from mindlessness every so often. No matter how long they have been living together, there are times when one or both parties forget that they are no longer operating as individuals, but as a team. It is simpler to work late into the night and not have to call your loved one to tell them not to wait up. It is far easier to plan for nights out with your friends without having to check with the old ball and chain.
Couples living together tend to zone out on the fact that it is no longer just about them, but about their spouse as well. There is no denying that resentment tends to set in every so often, and it is not surprising for people to freak out, pack up and head back to the world of singledom, because they cannot handle being an integral part of a team. [Read: 10 steps to reignite the spark in a relationship]
Combat this by being more mindful of your surroundings and of the presence of someone special in your life. Do not take them for granted, and appreciate that they love you so much that they are willing to live with you despite your flaws.
#4 Meddling. When you live with someone, it comes without saying that you have a say in pretty much every aspect of their life. From what your partner eats for dinner to the type of laundry detergent used to clean their clothes, to the big stuff like where you are going to spend Christmas to where you see yourselves in 10 years, you get the chance to dictate the terms, or at the very least, have a say in it.
Having someone meddling in your life’s affairs is part and parcel of being in a long term relationship. Do not hold it against your partner for wanting a say in your life. Having someone else meddling in your life may not be the best thing ever, but it sure beats making important decisions alone. Do not look at it as meddling. Look at it as having someone there to advise you and have your back. [Read: 10 obvious hints that guys give when they want some space]
#5 Mayhem. The best part about living alone is living alone. There are no two ways about it. When you live alone, you have total control over your environment. If you want to paint your walls a vomit green, leave your socks all over the place, never clean your bathroom or have your buddies over every night, it is your prerogative.
Mayhem will inevitably ensue once you make space for someone else in your home. Disagreements will crop up, whether you like it or not. For example, my fiancé moved some furniture around without consulting me first and I flipped out. I gave him such a hard time that he moved everything back just to shut me up. The minute he moved everything back, I started feeling bad about being a bitch, and ended up moving the furniture to the way he liked it. Talk about a massive game of musical chairs!
If you are a control freak, then living with someone else will undoubtedly bring on some mayhem, but remember to be patient and learn to see things from your partner’s perspective. Compromising with your loved one is key, if you want your home to be a harmonious one. [Read: 23 dos and don’ts of relationship arguments]
#6 Me time. One of the biggest problems faced by couples who live together would have to be the lack of “me” time. Sometimes you just need time apart to center yourself and it is impossible to do so when you have someone all up in your space 24/7.
Why not take a solo trip to your parents’ place or plan a short getaway with some friends? There is no harm in taking some time off to miss your partner again, as breathing space is very important in a relationship. If you are unable to take off, then set some time aside to indulge in things that you like doing alone. [Read: Great ideas for spending some alone time]
It is not your partner’s fault that you feel cramped. Speak to them about it, and propose spending a day apart to do your own thing. Head to the park with a book, take a bike ride, go shopping, go fishing or go golfing. Just do something alone before you go stark raving mad and take it out on your poor partner.
Although there are a ton of issues that couples who live together have to put up with, keep in mind that there are plenty of wonderful things about living together that come with the territory. Companionship and love are two of the top things that you get to enjoy when you have your partner next to you on a daily basis.
[Read: 8 big cons of moving in that no one wants to talk about]
The next time you get annoyed, just be patient and look at things from their perspective. You will find that no matter the hurdle, you will be able to overcome the common problems of living together if you work as a team.
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