I’m just going to jump right in with this one. Who came up with the ridiculous idea that living with your romantic partner was a good idea?
I’ve wondered about this for a long time. Probably since the first time I lived with a lover. Said Lover and I were in over our heads. Let me just pause and say that I had an entire idea of how moving in with a lover was supposed to go. This is thanks to the endless amounts of romantic movies I watched a child and then teen.
I was supposed to meet Said Lover, fall in love after several extravagant dates—insert romantic montage here—then look lovingly into their eyes at some random moment offer them a key to my place. Swoon (this is a plug).
That’s not the way that it went. At all. Can we first just talk about how hard it is to even get a place of your own and survive in it? Rent, lights, water, a separate bill if you have a gas line, cell phone, groceries... do I need to keep going? Because I can.
So there I was at twenty making maybe nine dollars and some change an hour, which was a pay cut I took at a new job to get peace from an old one. Cool.
I was managing on my own just fine, ya know, finally understanding why my mama would yell at us about turning on all the damn lights. My sister nicknamed me “Light Monster” as a child because it was always me. I hated the dark. I also used light as a cleaning system on my manic days. I’d walk through the house and turn on all of the lights, clean each room, then turn them off after completion. Yeah, I stopped that shit real quick after I got my first triple digit bill. Nah.
So, Said Lover at the time was 19 and still living with her mom and grandmother. She lived an hour away from me. We take turns visiting one another and we of, course, talked about living together because well, we missed each other sometimes. That was all fine and well but I wanted my moment to gaze into her eyes and offer a key.
Instead, I got a distress call that her homophonic mom was with the shit again and and wanted her to get out. Me being the Taurus that I am, I’m like, “Fuck her! You can stay with me, you aren’t thrown away!”
I said it with my chest.
Just like that we were living together. In the heat of the moment, I never stopped to realize the load I was going to carry having another adult depending on me. But again, I’m a bull. Challenge accepted. I should have never allowed myself to be a top option, but a last resort. I won’t say that it was all bad, because it wasn’t. Rolling over for sex and cuddles whenever I wanted to was amazing. She was clean. Like clean clean, so I always came home to good vibes and smells. She wasn’t much of cook, but at the time, neither was I. I had my special dishes that I could whip up, but we couldn’t eat that every day. We had a lot of space so it was easy to merge our things. Everything was everything.
We got comfortable.
You hear people say that your lose all of your mystery in a marriage. No, you lose it before that. You can’t hide with someone in your space constantly. You over hear conversations, you smell farts, the chocolate cake that you thought about all day won’t be there when you get home because they invited themselves to it. A bad mood for either of you is a bad day; a bad moment if you’re mature enough. A sock on the floor is never just a sock on the floor. It’s disrespectful and dammit you are motherfucking unappreciative.
That’s the sort of tolerable shit, right? Well, Said Lover was beyond tolerable. Me being the breadwinner in our home made her complacent. She now looked at me as her job, which made her my obligation. Our arguments were never just words. She liked to break things and punch walls. You could literally hear the dry wall shattering every time that she would punch it.
No was starting to be a scary word in my home, because If I said it, then she had to find a way to get her way. I want to say that I was afraid of her. She was much bigger than myself and if in the right position and circumstance she should have really hurt me if the wall stopped enough. I regretted being her savior. I wished I had not spoiled her by buying her expensive clothes and shoes and allowing her to lay under me for free.
I guess to me her contribution was her love and the care she took in making sure my days after work were relaxing. I didn’t mind paying the bills. I did mind that she didn’t know that sometimes money was tight and partying or shopping was not in the budget for the month.
Once I trusted her to pay the light bill. I gave her 212.00 dollars and went off to work. I returned home and figured she’d done what I asked.
I flipped the switched a few days later and nothing happened. She had gone shopping and told me she thought we could get an extension like we’d always done. I just stood there waiting for her to find her common sense.
It never came.
We ended up having to stay any my cousin’s place until my next pay day.
I can go on and on about the continuous downfall of my co-existence with Said Lover, but she wouldn’t be the last.
I just find that I’m always on red alert when I have to share a space with a lover. What mood will they be in when I make it home? Will they clean the way that I do? Will we actually pay attention to one another or our phones? Will we get bored? What’s the plan once we make it home? Who decides what to eat?
A lot of this stress can be accredit to that lovely thing called patriarchy. I think I constantly find myself in confusion because I never know if I’m wife or husband. Then I get mad at myself for needing to play a role at all.
While I don’t think I want to live with anyone again for a while, I know how I would want it to be. 50/50 is honestly bullshit. I know I said in a previous blog that I want what I offer. I’m allowed to evolve. What I want is a healthy balance of strengths and weaknesses. I’m a good cook so I’ll take someone who will wash the dishes. It would be nice if they tried to cook for me every once in a while as a sweet gesture, but its not mandatory. I need someone who can communicate their moods. In the past I’ve dealt with passive aggression or downright silence. I don’t like it.
This one is a big one, which is why I’m giving it its own space. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT MONEY COMFORTABLY. I don’t know why people get weird about money. I don’t care about how much a person makes. I don’t care what’s in their checking or savings. Can you manage it? Can you make good financial decisions? Do you have good or bad debt? Yes, there is a difference ! Are you a spender or saver? I honestly should have been an account. I’m really good with money.
The leading cause of divorce is MONEY.
Anyway, I said all of this to say that you are allowed to be careful about who you let into your space. Society has us all under the impression that living with a lover and marriage is the goal, but it doesn’t have to be. Do only what fulfills you. Be nontraditional. And don’t let the glitter and gloss of two incomes be the deciding factor. You’ll find yourself comfortable and miserable.
I met a couple in October 2018 that have been together for years and they each have their own places. They visit and love each other dearly. One is a writer and the other is a musician. Do you see how this could be an interruption? They understand.
Your space is sacred and I wished I’d learned that sooner. I have a routine that I’m in the process of getting back to because it was interrupted. I like to wake up and listen to music, think about my day ahead, then get going. I like to unwind when I get home then maybe watch a show or two and sit in silence. I haven’t been meditating lately, but I have been working out and that’s been amazing. I’m still working out the kinks. Some things have to be moved around and I’ll be happy with my routine again and I won’t ever allow it to be interrupted again. I want someone to fit, not interrupt. There’s a difference.