Partner in Crime
Since my boyfriend and I have moved in together, a lot of my friends have asked how sharing a flat after a year-long long-distance relationship is working for us. Truth be told, it was probably the best decision we could have made at the moment. Living together has both grounded us and made life a little bit lighter. I absolutely love it and, stress that comes with every house move aside, it was a very natural process.
However, living together is not what the feeds of some Instagram-models tell you it is. It is neither all Netflix movie nights with home-made popcorn and fluffy socks, nor joint pilates sessions and avocado toast. It can be all of this, don’t get me wrong, but sharing a home means to share the rest of life as well — hardships included. And life is sometimes way more hardship than avocado toast, let me tell you.
Things you had to handle alone up to this point are now shared issues. Which is nice if you are in the midst of exam period and your partner takes care of groceries so you can focus on something else. But it also means that you sometimes are the person picking up the other’s messes. This reciprocity, if working properly, can be absolutely brilliant.
However, there will also always be tasks for which you have to work together. Working together is carrying a heavy object down the staircase, catching a rat, or building an IKEA-shelf together.
If you are a natural autocrat like me, this can be difficult. The need to rely on another person does not come naturally to me. I like to be in control of things. But if you are in the middle of a steep staircase carrying a bed together, you need to be a partner and not a dictator, simply because the task is too big to be handled alone.
Living together is a little bit like signing up to a long-term group project. Pick your partner wisely, because to succeed you will have to both rely upon and work with each other. And by becoming aware of how able you are to do both, you will, believe me, save a lot of time on couples therapy. So before moving together, I advise anyone to furiously face hardships and difficulties — because overcoming those is the foundation not only for a happy relationship, but also a long one.
Every two weeks, Antonia will add the songs she writes about to the Spotify playlist below. This way, she creates a soundtrack to her time in Nijmegen. Click left and right for more songs.