Moving in with a boyfriend is an exciting and life-changing experience. It can also highlight some of the less flattering realities of living with a stinky man-bear and his habits. Luckily, I have managed to discover a few solutions.
One of the more difficult aspects of living with someone is how you both deal with cleanliness. There is nothing worse than having a roommate (not to mention a bedmate) that is too messy. For me, the limit is the difference between being dirty and messy. If someone leaves clothes on the floor or keeps collections of odds and ends — that is acceptable. If your partner leaves garbage on the floor or lets dishes collect until there are new insect roommates moving in, that is an immediate red flag that you will end up being more of a maid than a girlfriend. I’m blessed to have a messy boyfriend and not one that is dirty. If you have a partner who is inherently disgusting, training can help the situation, but it may take more work than it’s worth ladies.
I’ve always lived in my girly zen zone. It smelled nice, there were decorations, and everything had a place. Now, I have smelly socks hanging from my jewellery stand and I can’t seem to ever locate my brush (I should mention my boyfriend has long locks). The lady cave I built has been infiltrated by a man, who is half bear when he wakes up in the morning.
Though this would leave many women running for the hills, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier. My perfectly clean apartment was lovely no doubt, but there is nothing better than coming home and being met with a smiling man you love, especially one that has a couple glasses of wine and dinner on the table. Love is messy girls. It is stinky and it is unorganized. Love has required me to give up any pretences of perfection I’ve carried with me for years. But perfection be damned. It isn’t worth it to have a show home and give up actually learning how to compromise space and love someone for who they are and how they live.
Compromise is key. It is important that both parties feel they have a stake in what an apartment looks like. An example is moving over my vintage Patti Smith artwork to make room for a Toronto Maple Leafs poster beside it. It looks better with both anyways. My boyfriend also knows how insane I get over clothes on the floor. It is a pet peeve. So, to meet in the middle, we have a corner that is solely his. He can dump his clothes, and anything else he wants, in this area and I can’t bother him about it. I’ve come to accept this messy area and by keeping it contained, we are both happy.
Open communication is a must. Talking about expectations, financial plans, and emotional needs BEFORE moving in is essential.. To make things simple and functional, try making a schedule of tasks that need to be done around the house. For example, my boyfriend and I pick a day to clean, and contribute equally by splitting cleaning, dishes, and cooking right down the middle to avoid any resentments.
Be prepared to learn the oddest things about your partner. For example, my boyfriend collects receipts. Not just a few, but ALL of them. Apparently, he has this epic plan to file them all (this will never happen). I find them everywhere and quietly dispose of them when he isn’t looking. It is a quirky, albeit adorable, habit that I’ve learned to accept. On my end, apparently I can’t brush my teeth without looking like I just dunked my face into a bowl of ice cream. It is juvenile and gross, but my man laughs about it when we brush our teeth in the morning.
The bottom line is quite simple — Learn to love the mess. Moving in together is a hectic and exciting process of getting to know all the habits and quirks of your loved one. Previously, I had this idea that if you lived together, all the mystery of that person disappears. I thought this would be a bad thing. Instead, the fact that two individuals with different habits and histories can come together and grow as one is truly mysterious and magical. We only have one tender moment to love after all and then we are gone. So take the leap and make room on the bookshelf. I wish you the best in your pursuit of the madness of the mess. It is one of the best adventures to embark on.