This week, staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald writes about the moving in together stage. Do you agree with him? What are you thoughts?
You’ve been dating your girlfriend for a year; you’ve told her you love her and she responded by saying that she loves you too; she spends five nights a week at your place, and she already has half of her clothes hanging up in your closet. Your lease is up in four weeks, and, as fate would have it, so is hers. If this sounds like you, then it’s time for you to broach the subject of moving in together.
Moving in with somebody is a big step in any relationship, and it is fraught with risk. What if your girlfriend snores like a Nordic logger; and even though you already knew that, dealing with it for seven nights a week proves too much for your fragile nerves to handle? What if your pungent morning breath causes her to wake up and head straight for the bathroom to vomit like she was eight months pregnant? What if she wants a dog, and even though she promises it will be her responsibility, you end up picking up more dog poo than the pooper-scooper at your local animal shelter? What if this? What if that?
Once you move in together, the walls come down. All the mannerisms, the peculiarities, the sights, the smells, the sounds that you have tried so hard to keep from each other are left out in the open. There is no more hiding; no more waking up before she does and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash; no more holding in the gassy buildup that you would otherwise have let escape under the covers; no more pretending that you wash your hands every time you use the bathroom.
It’s not enough to merely be prepared for the revelation that your partner is hiding some unsettling truths about herself, and it’s not enough to merely expect her to be prepared for you to reveal some similarly unsettling truths about yourself. If you want your relationship to survive, then you must be willing to adapt.
This may seem easy at first. You may say to yourself, “Oh, she snores, I can deal with it,” or, “His morning breath is terrible, but I can manage,” but the fact is that when you experience these seemingly trivial idiosyncrasies day after day, night after night, they start to become elephants. These elephants can create distance between you and can push you so far apart that your relationship crumbles under the overbearing weight of what you once considered a manageable quirk.
Learning to adapt to your partner’s idiosyncrasies requires you to actively shrink the elephant, and it is a process that involves mutual cooperation. If your partner snores and you find that, because of this, you have become short with her, then you must do something about it. Don’t let it fester and boil beneath the surface. When she asks you what’s wrong, don’t say, “Nothing.” Tell her that her snoring has really been bothering you lately and suggest a couple of possible remedies.
If your partner has become short with you lately, and when you ask her what’s wrong she says, “Nothing,” dig a little bit deeper. Unearth the truth. If she tells you she can’t stand your acrid morning breath and she suggests that you start flossing and rinsing with mouthwash before bed, don’t get defensive. Recognize that she is telling you this to prevent the elephant from growing any larger.
You should adapt to your partner, and help her adapt to you. This won’t make the elephant go away, but it will make it small enough to sweep underneath the rug alongside some of the other trivialities that you have already learned to deal with—like the fact that she’s a Bears fan and you’re a Packer fan, for instance.