Living in Sin: The Security Blanket

by Rachel on March 23, 2011

Being 25 and in a relationship is a strange thing. Everything changes quickly.

It’s like you get used to spending Saturdays doing coupley things like lounging around in your PJs after a date night on Friday…and the next thing you know, you’re spending Saturdays doing coupley things like fighting over gender-neutral bedding during trips to Ikea and Kohl’s.

Eric and I have left what I thought of as “Prologue to Living in Sin.” We decided earlier this year that we would move in together, but that left a lot of questions unanswered. Like…when? We had leases ending at different times. And…where? Would I be moving into his place or would we be finding a new place? I just did my best to focus on these questions before I got caught up in the details of living together.

But now the big questions have been answered (late April and his place!) and we’ve begun to think about the details of living together. And so now here were are.

the security blanket

Once Eric and I officially knew I’d be moving into his place, I started to broach a subject that had been on my mind a lot. I had dipped a toe into it during previous “Where should we live?” conversations, but now was the time to actually discuss it.

“Listen,” I said. “I’m fine moving into your place. I like it. It’s really close to my job. But. I don’t want it to feel like I’m moving into your place…I want it to feel like our place.”

“What do you mean?” he said.

“Well,” I said. “Right now your room is your room, and so there are certain things about it that I don’t complain about because it’s your room. But…there are things I don’t want in my room. So…we need to come to an agreement on our room.”

“OK,” he said. He didn’t seem to be getting what I meant at all. We went back and forth for a few minutes as I tried to explain my concern that I’d always feel like I was living in his place. Finally he asked what specific things I wanted for our place.

I mean, in many ways, we will be making the apartment our place. We don’t have a dining room table or a couch or any living room furniture, so those areas are definitely less of a concern. My biggest issue is the bedroom. I have a lot of ideas on what a bedroom should and should not be. And now it was time to tell him that a lot of the things about his bedroom where things I considered NIMB (Not in My Bedroom) issues.

I took a deep breath. I’d been thinking about how to present this for weeks and now it was time. I tried to affect the most neutral, non-judgy tone I could.

“Well, I think we can both agree that I like my room a bit…neater than you do,” I said.

He blinked.

“I would…not disagree with that,” he said in a neutral tone.

“And…30 empty pop bottles might be OK for your room,” I went on, “but I’m not OK with that for our room.”

He considered it for a long moment and then he agreed.

“You need a desk,” I said. “Or some place where you can put all these hundreds  of Target receipts from November that are piled up on your dresser. I can’t deal with that much clutter.”

I was being so very gentle as I was saying this. And it was paying off — he agreed to this too.

“There are a lot of things in here that are just a matter of space,” he said. “I don’t particularly want certain things in here either, but with a spare bedroom, I can move them out. Like Spartacus’ cage.”

(Spartacus is Eric’s gecko. She’s pretty quiet.)

“And…maybe the mini fridge?” I said. I held my breath. This was one of my biggest NIMBs.

“Yes, sure, that doesn’t need to be in there,” he said.

I exhaled, thrilled that he agreed to remove something that seems like a college kid accessory from what I wanted to be my adult sanctuary/boudoir.

Then I brought up the topic I knew was going to be the hard sell.

He was confused. And — as I’d feared — defensive.

“Well, nothing is wrong with it,” I said. “It’s great for you and for any guy and for a bachelor pad. But it’s not what I want for our bedroom.”

He got huffy.

And he’s still huffy.

in a huff

Here’s the things: his comforter is not unattractive. It could be worse. I don’t hate it — I’d just never choose it. But from a psychological point of view, I’m really concerned about using all his furniture and staying in his room. (We could move everything to the spare bedroom, something I’m all for — it’s bigger and cooler and would be a change for both of us — but he doesn’t really want to break down his entire bedroom set to move it across the apartment. This one is still up for debate.) We’re going to have two closets and our own bathrooms, but I just sort of feel like if we keep all his furniture and all his bedding and keep his stuff in the closet and his bathroom stays his bathroom…then I’m never going to feel like his room is our room. I’m going to want to spend more time in the spare bedroom because that is where all my stuff is.

And furthermore, if we keep all his things and it doesn’t feel like our room, I worry that he’s never going to actually stop leaving his empty pop bottles and receipts on every available surface. I didn’t say anything about the clutter when it was his room…but if that stuff is a constant feature in our room, I’m going to, um…flip my shit? And I would love not to be flipping my shit all the time. I’m not a shit flipper by nature. I don’t want to become one. I don’t want to be That Girlfriend.

We’ve looked for new comforters, but it’s difficult when he’s not happy to be looking for new comforters. I’m trying to compromise and find something we both like; he’s arguing that his current comforter is perfect and any other comforter might be too warm and then he’ll hate it. He’s convinced I want to buy a new comforter just for the hell of it because I’m trying to waste money; I’m definitely excited that my urge to nest will finally be satisfied, but I also have no desire to waste money right now.

So for now, the comforter debate remains unsolved.

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda March 23, 2011 at 10:52 am

Buy a duvet cover. He’ll still have his comforter and you’ll have a new look. Win-win.


2 Rachel March 23, 2011 at 11:00 am

Can you put a duvet cover over a regular comforter? I thought they were mostly for down comforters.


3 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write March 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

Yep. I’m with Amanda. You can put a duvet over any comforter! That’s a great compromise!


4 Jessica March 23, 2011 at 11:11 am

You definitely can! I’ve done it. It might slip and slide a little more, but you can probably find a solution for that (a few stitches here and there, or something).


5 Katie March 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

Yes! You can! Target has loads of them…they do a really nice thing of making a comforter, and making a duvet option of the same thing in a lot of their designs if you already have a comforter!


6 shelby March 23, 2011 at 11:15 am

This is what we have – a duvet cover over an old crappy comforter (one of those bed-in-a-bag things from a few years ago). Not as warm as a down comforter inside, obvs, but it works for me!


7 Laura Martin March 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

Usually you can. If you know anyone who quilts or you do, you could also make a quilt so you could pick out the exact pattern and what not you want and then slip the old comforter inside of it so it is the same weight. I did that with an old comforter of mine because it looked gross but it was the perfect amount of warmth. You just use the old comforter in place of the batting.


8 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) March 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm

If you do a duvet and find that the comforter bunches up, I have heard velcro helps with that :-)


9 Liz March 23, 2011 at 10:55 am

Ugh, I am so dealing with this right now. My fiance moved in in February, and we are still struggling with agreeing on decorating, decluttering, getting rid of stuff to make room for his stuff, and the whole “I am so used to calling this house ‘mine’ that it is inevitably going to slip out and offend you.”


10 shelby March 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

I…can’t get past the fact that he has a mini-fridge in his room. I assume this is the source of the soda bottles?


11 Rachel March 23, 2011 at 11:01 am

Beer, soda, and G2. I guess the fridge is pretty overpacked so it’s useful but…still.


12 jenna March 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

My boyfriend has one in his room too. Full of water, gatorade, ice tea, etc. I’m always wondering…How THIRSTY are you that you can’t make it to the kitchen for water? We’re still very early on in the relationship, but that would so have to go if we ever moved in together.


13 Rachel L March 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm

What IS it with boys and G2?! We have G2 bottles in different states of empty all over our apt.


14 Keri March 23, 2011 at 11:01 am

I so know exactly what you are dealing with. I am also moving into my boyfriend’s house at the end of April – and even things like starting to move some of my stuff in (to the guest bedroom for now!) have been a major issue, somehow. They don’t seem to understand how difficult it is to get past feeling like a guest in your own house – because it’s their space, they don’t get it. And trying to agree on decorating things is near impossible!

I guess I was lucky that my boyfriend offered me his closet – I’m getting the bathroom in the hallway, so I think it’s a good compromise to have my clothes in the actual bedroom. Maybe you could work something like that out – you either get the bathroom that’s in/nearest to the bedroom, or you get the closet in the bedroom. That way both of you have parts of the bedroom as yours – it’s a compromise. (As a side note, I would be so happy if I never heard the word “compromise” again!)


15 Nicci@NiftyEats March 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

I know how you feel about the comforter, When Chris and I first moved in…I threw out his old comforter..he didn’t care b/c a new one was needed. We did however keep his Dallas Cowboys sheets b/c they were brand new. lol Now we finally have different sheets and a comforter that’s neutral.


16 gene @boutdrz March 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

ummm. yea. i need to have my wife read this. she’ll chuckle.
i moved in with her and her kids in the fall of ’03. that winter, we bought a house. we’ve been in that house ever since. i still have most of ‘my’ stuff hidden away in a back corner of the basement, in cubbards, (cupboards?), or in my closet. Amost nothing of ‘mine’ (stuff pre-dating our relationship) is on ‘display’. i hate it. but i don’t say anything. i just don’t. she’s given me the ok to take things out of hiding, but i don’t believe that she really means it is ok for me to do it. so every once in a while i go through my stuff, look at it, recall things about it, and then put it back away.
on second thought, i am not going to share your posting with her; i’ll end up with my OWN place.

best wishes for you two. sounds like you are off on the right foot; openly communicating and such. i admit that i don’t care much about the bedroom: most of the time, when i use it, it is dark or my eyes are closed (MOST of the time…….). other times, i really am not focusing on the decor…
keep us posted!!!


17 Sable March 23, 2011 at 11:08 am

I fortunately did not have this problem because half of the reason I married my husband was for his outrageously comfortable and cozy comforter. Seriously. The first time I slept with him I contemplated stealing it…

If you don’t mind the comforter could you compromise? Maybe — “You can keep the comforter as long as you throw out your old soda bottles and Target receipts as soon as you are done with them”? I feel like he’d be sufficiently grateful for your half of the bargain that he’d keep up his end. And maybe you could buy a cute trash can for the bedroom to help encourage the throwing-away of soda bottles?


18 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. March 23, 2011 at 11:08 am

Ahhh, the merging [and purging] of the things!

For us, most of the stuff we moved with was mine. We started with the living room and bought new stuff piece by piece since we’re broke ass hoes. We’re slowly starting to redecorate/revamp things and get rid of my crappy, old furniture.

He hated my comforter [bright, colorful paisley… who would’ve guessed!?] but it’s still there and by now, I don’t think he really cares.


19 Natalie @ Scarlett Notions March 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

You have literally just described my life situation. Except I’m one girl, one boy, one dog, one cat – less than 500 sq feet. We’re moving soon (to stay sane). For me, giving him a mini man-cave (a crappy table) seemed to help.

The bathroom is a lost cause…


20 Dori March 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

I remember when my brother and his now-wife got their first apartment together, she told me she is finally happy to have a place that feels like their home, not like she is staying in his. Good luck with the comforter/”pop” (love that you call it that) issue… I am sure it will work out.

I am a HUGE fan of down comforters and duvets. Then you aren’t committed to one comforter look forever.


21 Christie March 23, 2011 at 11:11 am

Maybe it would be safer to just get a new place. I’m sure he isnt all territorial and pissing on every little thing in the apartment, unwilling to change, but I think it would probably be better if you both got a new place that neither of you have lived in, so you can make it both of yours.

So much of marriage is compromise, and communication. I know you expressed your feelings, so let him express his and then perhaps find an alternative. You are pretty good about thinking outside the box, so maybe this is what needs to be done?


22 Nicki March 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

I’m single, but my friends who recently moved in together went through the same issues…even regarding the pop bottles and other random clutter! It took them a while but they did eventually find completely new bedding. I think it’s all from Costco?

Good luck and how exciting for the two of you! :D


23 MelissaNibbles March 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

I’m very happy for you Rachel! I went through the same thing with my ex and never felt like his place my place, then after a year we got our own place…and then we broke up. I won’t give you advice because clearly you shouldn’t do anything I did hahaha! Good luck finding a comforter!


24 Kaytee March 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

We are sort of having a similar issue right now while making plans to move. Fortunately, we don’t really have any stuff so we’re starting from scratch, but Kyle’s parents gave us (by us, I mean him) a couch. It’s not horrible, but also not something I would ever pick for my own home. At this point, I’m just dealing with it… 1) because he really seems to like it & 2) because I hope I will be able to use this to get my way in other future apartment issues. Maybe that sounds horrible, but it’s just another way to compromise, right?

And now that I think about it, I don’t really like Kyle’s comforter either. Hmm…


25 Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 23, 2011 at 11:30 am

That is a tough one! Luckily when my husband and I moved in together he got that we’d need a new comforter- his was black and obviously not what I was going to go for. Picking out one that we both liked was hard but we managed to find a blue and white plaid that I still thought was pretty but wasn’t too girly.

My issue was that I really disliked his furniture (kitchen and bedroom) but didn’t want to spend the money on new stuff if not necessary. So instead, we actually recovered the kitchen chairs from black fabric to an orangey/redy plaid that matches our new carpet in the living room. It was just a couple little things but made everything feel new.


26 Brittney March 23, 2011 at 11:47 am

Ah yes, the merging of the bedroom. Always interesting!
I highly recommend the Calvin Klein line of comforters/sheets, which I know they sell at Macys.
My husband actually had two sets of the sheets before we met (he’s a stylish one….hehe) and we got one of the comforters when we moved in together.
In my opinion they are the perfect blend of masculine/feminine and we both think they are stylish and really comfortable. We have the bamboo flowers stuff and the comforter is actually reversible, which enables you to change things up. It has flowers on one side and stripes on the other. Plus, we have a set each of floral and striped sheets. Love them! Good luck to you guys! You’ll figure it out :)


27 erin m. March 23, 2011 at 11:49 am

I’ve been “living in sin” for over 2 years. Behavior changes don’t happen overnight, as you are well aware! Think of this as behavior change… you’ll be able to merge your styles over time, but it isn’t going to happen overnight. Find neutral turf colors and work from there. West Elm and CB2 have been great stores for merging his & hers at our household. They have the colors he likes and the details I like. And it has taken at least 2 years to make changes. I’d be thrilled with getting the mini-fridge out of the room!


28 andrea @ a cake for a wife. March 23, 2011 at 11:51 am

I don’t know on this one — I was in a similar situation (moving in to my boyfriend’s place) a couple of years ago, and the thing I learned is that you REALLY have to pick your battles. And honestly, it sounds like the comforter to you is purely cosmetic, where as for him it’s about temperature which boils down to overall quality of sleep. So maybe this is one you have to let go of? You did say you didn’t HATE it, so maybe you can compromise with nice sheets, decorative pillows, painting the walls, getting a headboard, etc? Something that won’t affect his sleep (or at least that he FEELS won’t affect his sleep), but that shapes the room in a way that still feels more “you” or “us”.

The other thing I noticed with our relationship is that he came around on a lot of things over time. Like he never wanted new bookcases even though his were falling over and spilling books onto the floor and were basically a death trap of comic books. But once we got a new couch he suddenly got more ‘into’ our living room, and wanted new bookcases. So maybe if you make a few other changes to the bedroom, he’ll come around and see that the old comforter doesn’t feel like it ‘goes’ anymore.

Good luck! This is definitely a fun but challenging relationship stage. If you can make it through all this, though, you’re pretty much golden. :)


29 Rachel March 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I responded to you below! And PS — I like the ideas you have here for compromises!!


30 Melody March 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Let me first put out the disclaimer that I have not yet had to deal with the “merge and purge” of living with my significant other, BUT I have had my fair share of dealings with men, and the # 1 thing I always hear is that they hate it when women try to change them. The tricky part is that it doesn’t matter whether you are ACTUALLY trying to change them but whether they PERCEIVE you to be trying to change them. Ladies, resentment develops over time and if we don’t hear what our men are saying (overtly or covertly) that seed will take root and do unnecessary damage (oh, and the same goes for them hearing what we’re saying too).

Rachel – I know you want this place to feel like it belongs to both of you, but the truth is that he made it “his” long before it was “yours” so I would encourage you to tread very lightly when making changes. Behavioral things, like throwing out his old cans, would likely be a problem no matter where you live because it’s a rooted habit (although, I think it’s a totally revolting habit!), so you might want to focus more on picking your battles (like starting with the things he’s already ok with) so he doesn’t unconsciously end up feeling like you stuck him in a tight box and told him to dance (otherwise known as crazy-making). Do you really have to have a new comforter the moment you move in? I’m just saying, don’t get caught up in the superficial aspects of moving in at the expense of each other’s feelings. If you show concern for how this brings upheaval into his life, he’s probably way more likely show concern for the upheaval it brings to your life as well.


31 Rachel March 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm

@Melody and @Andrea Thanks for such a long comments — seriously. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave such gentle but pointed feedback.

I don’t disagree with the points you are making, but here are some thoughts I’d like to add to the discussion.

I think a lot of people worry about this whole thing of changing men and building resentment, and I do too. That’s why I waited so long to bring this up. Picking battles (with guys or with anyone, really) is HUGE for me. So I guess I just wanted to say that there was a reason I picked this battle.

I know it seems like this is just a cosmetic thing for me but that’s not quite it. I care about aesthetics a LOT and it’s just something that is a part of who I am. Honestly, I don’t care about the pop cans because they are gross. I care because I can see them. And I know it doesn’t seem like a quality of life issue, but it is. Clutter stresses me out. Things not matching stresses me out. Feeling like I can’t nest, that I’m not at home, or, really, having to look at things that don’t look right stresses me out. Being a homebody is a big part of who I am, and I like a clean space where I can feel at home. I’m simply not as happy when things don’t look right. And I’m definitely not happy feeling like I’m living in someone else’s space. that’s a huge thing for me and I haven’t had my own space for a long time now, and while I joke about my need to nest, frankly, it’s a part of my life that feels unsatisfied and I’m so excited to have change.

I also think it’s important to point out that women can feel resentment too. A lot of fuss is made over how to keep guys from feeling overwhelmed by changes, especially changes that signal settling down, and we’re often taught how to avoid them resenting us. But why is it just about them? These changes are overwhelming for both of us. And we’re both susceptible to resentment. if I constantly felt not at home, I would resent him. That was the reason I was hesitant to move into his place — and he and I talked about that. I would feel extremely resentful if my space didn’t feel like my space. I guess it’s like, if we were moving into a new place, sure, maybe the comforter would be fine. But if we’re staying in his space, then changing to a different comforter is something that will make me feel welcome. Frankly, I left my home in Michigan for him and now I’m leaving my current place for him. Of course, it’s for me too, but this is the second time in a year I’ll be leaving my space.

So I guess the point I have for discussion is that I’m not asking him to do this for the hell of it. I’m asking him to do it because even though it seems superficial, it’s not to me (just like Valentine’s Day is a big deal to me for reasons that have to do with how I feel loved, not because I just want flowers). I think he (and most people who know me better) can/should understand why it is a deeper issue for me. Expecting me to just let it go would really be asking me to change my behavior on the same level as asking him to throw away his pop cans.

I’m not saying that couples shouldn’t be careful about asking the other to make big changes. I just wanted to be clear that this isn’t a superficial thing for me. Believe me, I wouldn’t push it so hard if it were. And so that makes it less simple. That’s why it’s hard.


32 gene @boutdrz March 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

clutter free is the way to be! my wife HATES clutter. a place for everything, and everything in it’s place. unless her oldest left it there, then it can stay forever. but i digress.
i try to keep things clean for her, i really do. but with my add/ocd/asperger’s or whatever it is, i sometimes will be on my way to put something away, get distracted by a shiny object, but that thing down, and move on to another task.
i know you are not dealing with the same thing, but i totally ‘get’ your deep-rooted need to be clutter free; i function much better in it, too. i am just often my own worst enemy…which again, is not your sitch, so this is really more about ME, than about you. rats. moooving on….
from a guy’s perspective, i think that the communicating that you are doing is a great way to do it. Kudos to Eric for actually talking about things. I don’t. (again, this isn’t about me….)
Long story short, i hear ya. Stand your ground, but be willing to compromise. (but you knew that….)
thanks for letting me ramble!


33 Tara March 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Okay, I have absolutely nothing legit to add to this conversation. I’ve lived in my own place all by myself for the last eight years so my condo is furnished from top to bottom and as cute as my stuff is, I’m not giving it up for nothing! I would blow him every night for my compromise because it just wouldn’t happen. Although my things are pretty gender neutral, my bedding is a silver/charcoal with black so maybe I won’t have to do it every single night.

But every one of my many places has been decked out, even if only living there for a short time because I am so like you. I have to be comfortable, I have to feel at home or it’s just not going to work for me. My everything will be off.

However, I just wanted to comment on one thing. I know you shouldn’t use it and you probably wouldn’t use it, but I think it’s awesome that you can totally trump him anytime. I mean when you’re debating who should take the garbage out, you know, just throw out the token, “I moved from Michigan for you!” and that should do it. I don’t know, even if you never use it, I just love that you have it. Because I would totally use it in the most ridic situations ever- like the garbage or cleaning snow off cars! In the middle of a snowstorm he could totally be like “But I cleaned the car the last five times” and I would offer “Yeah, you know why? Because I moved across the country for you. Thanks, doll”

But, of course, it really is the most rational argument for wanting to be comfortable in making it your place- you have sacrificed already so give up the comforter already. But, I have to say I love the mini-fridge. I mean, of course, it’s GOTTA GO, but I think it’s funny that he still has one in his room! Priceless!

I have to say this probably isn’t fair to Eric because you’re just so rational and funny and it’s like no one is ever going to side with Eric the way you illustrate your conversations because it’s just so comical the way you run it down for us- sorry, Eric!


34 Rachel March 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Ha…you’re right, I don’t use that trump card ever, actually! I never even think it; writing that response was the first time I have in a long time, which is probably good. But it is something to think about when you’re thinking about compromises, especially home-related ones!

I hope I don’t make Eric seem like a jerk here…he really isn’t! And I try to always share/admit when I know I’m acting like That Girl and just being straight batshit.


35 Tara March 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm

No way, Eric sounds awesome, seriously! It’s just that you are…more awesome! You know, it’s like choosing between tequilas- is there really a wrong choice? Or fries! Steak fries, wedges… you can’t go anywhere but up from there.

Okay…I have no idea what this has to do with you and Eric, besides that you guys seem so happy and amazing together (and so, so, so adorable), but fries and tequila, oh my!!!! Yum!


36 Heather March 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

FTR: As someone who moved across the country for a guy, I truly agree that you don’t use it, or rather misuse it, as you could if you were That Girlfriend. You do however use it in a much better way – as an optimistic view. As in, “Heather. I moved across the country, you can give the guy your number.” and “I moved across the country, clearly it doesn’t matter what other people say/think/etc.” and so on.

The respect level I have for you in the way you discuss your relationship, your own faults, and your ability to show fairness from several perspectives, grows constantly. As I write my own story, I look to you as a sort of role model in honesty (with my self and others) and, ahem, “not being ridiculous.”

Also – I agree. You do NOT make Eric look like a jerk. At all.

All in my opinon, of course.


37 Suzanne March 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been living in sin for a year now. I moved into my boyfriend’s place which he had previously shared with a roommate. It is SO important to make his place feel like your place. When I first moved in I definitely felt like I was just crashing for awhile or something. I was anxious and timid and couldn’t relax like I should have been able to at my home. This wasn’t necessarily because of anything he had done, but because nothing about the place had really changed! Except we were awkwardly trying to find places for my belongings.
We have since moved into the other bedroom, and this has made a huge difference. I say nest away! Sure, men can be resentful and resistant of change, but as you said so can we! And it’s sounds to me like the comforter is much more important to you than it is to him. He’ll get over it!


38 betsy March 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I’ve known my boyfriend for 10 years and I seriously offended him when I announced that we needed a new comforter when we moved into our second apartment together. Who knew they were so sensitive about stuff like that???

Good luck – and I think making the apartment YOURS is a great first step!


39 Rachel March 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Rachel you two are too cute! It sounds like the conversation went really well for the most part. Some dudes are so stubborn and want things exactly there way…always. It’s good that he’s willing to compromise and make some changes to please you.

You guys are seriously soo funny and I love reading about all your conversations. I’m so happy for you to be moving in together and I know the bed comforter issue will be resolved : )


40 Lori March 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm

For the year before we got married, my husband and I did live together, but we refused to move into each other’s rooms. So much were we attached to our own space that we didn’t have him move into my room (it was the master suite, the only reason why) until we bought our new queen sized bed and had it delivered the week before we married.

I think this totally set a great foundation for our marriage. We were two individuals used to living on our own and loving it, and just the act of moving in together was enough for us to get used to. I was used to the cat in my bed, he was used to his dog, so it wasn’t like we needed to sleep in the same bed together. Actually, in the beginning, we slept much better apart.

I’d seriously consider paying month to month on your apartment until his lease is up, then move into a new place. New place, new feelings, new everything. Start with a clean slate together.

One last word: once a clutterbug, always a clutterbug. It is entrained in the soul, Rachel, and I know you say that clutter stresses you out but this one you may not be able to break. He will improve because he loves you, but he won’t embrace your needs and desires for his own. He will still clutter. I speak from experience.


41 Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily March 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Amen! I have been dating my boyfriend for about 4 years now and we have been living together for almost 2years. Most of his life he has only lived with guys so he has developed a few bad habits. One being leaving with cup with some type of drink in it for a few days on a counter or table or shelf…which then starts to grow mold…I pass it every day so I know he days as well. Eventually I say “really…how long are we going to let that science experiment continue?” GOOD TIMES.


42 Amanda March 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

My boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment together = neutral territory. I think because of that, my suggesting that we get a new comforter wasn’t threatening. We used his down comforter and got a new duvet cover. Still, it was tough finding on that we agreed on. Ended up with a solid color, but pintucked one from West Elm. It’s really cute! (and masculine?)


43 Kirsten March 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm

When my boyfriend and I moved in together. There were several “discussions” about the apartment being aesthetically pleasing. I lost on the “Art of War” poster as well as the cork board that looks like it came out of some dingy basement office building. The bedding was another issue in itself. Apparently my boyfriend can only sleep on thread counts greater than 500. However, his sheets were ratty and had holes in them. Unacceptable. As is the price of new greater than 500 thread count sheets. We did end up buying new sheets, however, he kept his ugly comforter. But to solve the ugly comforter problem, we each have our own comforter. When the bed is made, my pretty one goes on top of his ugly one, thus hiding anything that might upset my eyes. He keeps his comforter and I get to look at my pretty one. All is well.


44 Selina March 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Oh Rachel , I know exactly what you mean when you say, “Frankly, I left my home in Michigan for him and now I’m leaving my current place for him. Of course, it’s for me too, but this is the second time in a year I’ll be leaving my space.”

Moving across the country and/or giving up space/things that are important to you for someone is a big deal! Exciting and scary and all sorts of uncertain…all wrapped up in one package. I think its completely normal to want something that is “yours” or, in this case, now “ours”. Up until now, it doesn’t appear that much has had to change for him, where this relationship is concerned. He got to stay in his place, stay in his job, etc. Hopefully, he will come around to more of the “ours” or “us” changes you are suggesting because, in reality, it may be his turn to do his “fair share” of changing for the relationship too.

Just a thought…. :)


45 KyBizzle March 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I think you guys should just suck it up and move into the other room. It will be a positive change for both of you (cooler, bigger, etc.). Sure it is a PITA to break the bed down, but so much easier than moving an entire residence. Change for zero moo-la is where it’s at! And a new comforter or duvet can just be considered a house warming gift, hello!


46 Christie March 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Reading all of these comments, it makes me realize just how lucky I am.

I never had any of these issues at all. My husband is an artist, so maybe that is why… but we also have very similar tastes when it comes to decorating and what not. He understands that some things are a little more femme, but definitely not girly, and I understand that he loves red/black everything.


47 Stephanie March 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

There’s been a lot of good stuff written in response so I’ll keep it short! I think you guys move to the new room and get new (cheaper than a comforter) accessories but keep the comforter.


48 maria March 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm

ah!! i just went thru all of this! my man and i just moved in together to a new apartment, and while we were bringing his bed, i refused to sleep under his comforter. but, he is a smart man and let me pick whichever one i wanted once he realized it was an issue. good luck!


49 SJRG March 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Hi Rachel,

Thank you for this post…it’s quite timely! I was going to suggest a duvet cover over the comforter, but I see it’s been recommended a dozen times above. I look forward to reading more about the new living space.


50 Chase [The Chase Project] March 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I did a similar thing. How did I get rid of the comforter? We both got the flu, it got put into the “to the laundromat” pile and I moved my precious comforter to the bed. Nobody seems to mind ;)


51 Nicole March 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I’ve been living with my boyfriend for almost a year & there is still so much we have to compromise on. I had a lot more “stuff” when we moved in together so it did/ does kind of have that vibe of “my” place rather than “our” place. We have bought some new furniture together & we are slowly trying to make it ours & compromise. It’s tough.

While we both have some similar taste, but we also have very, very strong opinions about what we don’t like & sometimes we very much dislike what the other likes. It’s tough, but it works itself out & you learn that sometimes whether or not you put the couch up against the wall, or cornering off a room rather doesn’t matter. At least in the grand scheme of things. You learn to live with something you don’t necessarily like to keep the peace with your partner. Good luck, Rachel!


52 Allie {Cook Read Run} March 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Too funny :) My boyfriend and I moved in together a year ago and we had a similar debate. We settled for a duvet that covered the old comforter. That way, I didn’t have to sleep under gang colors (because they were!) and he didn’t have to worry about his feet getting too hot.
I pretty much had to explain there some things make a man feel more comfortable at home and some things make a woman feel that way and they’re not the same. So even though it cost money, it was worth it to not have me feeling uncomfortable or uninvolved in my own home. Good luck with the huffing. Boys are such princesses sometimes :) It’s cute.


53 anon March 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm

That is pretty hilarious. My husband got pretty insulted when I first informed him that his bedroom needed some growing up before it would really be our bedroom. I put it nicely, I swear, but geez, touchy. I found that he was always happy after the changes had been made, however foot draggy and grouchy he was before-hand. He didn’t really care about the details, he was just offended by the implication that he had bad taste (or something??). In the end, the spruced up room made him happy.


54 Krista March 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I can totally relate to this little issue. I moved accross the country into HIS place after our wedding. I must say, the whole process was a little tough. From convincing him to get rid of the futon in his living room and the bright blue shower curtain to convincing him that I wanted it to be OUR place and buy new furniture and bedroom set. Huffy is a good way to describe his initial reactions, also. He saw the light though (and how much it meant to me) and once he decided getting rid of some stuff was ok, he went all out. New furniture, new comforter, new bedroom set. I couldn’t stop him. He was stubborn at first, so maybe your Eric will do a 180 just like my Eric did. : )


55 Ashley Breton March 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I don’t have experience with cohabiting with my significant other, but I can say that if you invest in a down comforter, duvets are perfect for being able to customize and tailor to both of your styles without having to buy a separate comforter each time. I hope we get to see pictures on the dual living space :)


56 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) March 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm

When we moved in together, we were moving in to our very first apartment. As in – his very first and my very first. We ended up buying a lot of stuff together – choosing bedding together, etc. I think for us, because we were moving into a space that wasn’t mine or his – but ours, it was easier to figure out what we wanted as a couple. There were some compromises, but I do honestly think the neutral territory made it a lot easier to make those compromises and figured out what suited us as a couple, not just as individuals.

I am not saying that I think you need to go find a new apartment – not at all. I do think that considering a move into the bedroom into the larger and spare bedroom might give you both the option of new to you both territory and neutral bedroom territory, which you can then make, well, yours as a couple. I think whatever y’all end up deciding on will be awesome – and I can’t wait to see photos :-)


57 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) March 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm

My edits in this reply were terrible, “I do think that considering a move into the larger and spare bedroom might give you both the option of new to you both territory and neutral bedroom territory which you can make yours as a couple,” is SO what I meant to say – sorry for the weird sentences!


58 Aj March 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm

This is not a man vs. woman thing AT ALL. It’s a “oh god these things are never going to change, can I live with them?” thing. I initially unofficially moved into R’s room in an apartment she shared with two other girls, it was clearly her space but she went out of her way to make room for me and since I was so grateful to NOT be sleeping on my friends’ couch (my other option) or, later, at the ridiculously disorganized and slightly smelly house that my friends and I split, I was grateful. Then we moved in together with one of those girls and clearly things were a compromise between all three of us. Then we finally moved in together and right now the excuse is “it’s a crappy place, so this is temporary.” But the thing is I don’t think those piles (R has them too, but multiplied by a dissertation) or the inability to follow my color coordination of the closet or the forgetting to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom is temporary. Or the socks! For the love of Pete that’s not how socks get folded. But then I pause and consider that we agree on things like finances, on the ability to get one more day’s wear out of a pair of pants to avoid doing laundry and cuddle, and a myriad of other things. And at least she folds the socks (but so incorrectly, I mean really). I guess my long winded point is that some of these things won’t change. And you’ll have things too that Eric would want to change (my inability to face the shower head down when I’m done in the shower, my refusal to put away the silverware…or something like that) that you will forget about and have to be reminded of. But these are the things that make a couple. And if these are the biggest things, then we’re very lucky!


59 Jo March 24, 2011 at 5:53 am

This is sort of a dumb response, but I have been married for almost six years now and I miss the ability to pick out my own bedding. Comforters and sheets are such mutual territory that I really feel like we have to agree on what we do, but I get oddly jealous when one of my single friends has cute, girly bedding and I have to pull teeth to get my husband to agree on something. And now I have to add to this mix the primary concern that our duvets all will camouflage the dog’s hair. The whole bedding compromise thing is tough. But the other aspects of my life make up for it.

BTW, my strategy in picking out new stuff like this is to do my research, send my husband an email with 5ish options that I would be happy with and I think he may agree to, and let him pick from that short list. If we just go into a store he gets overwhelmed by too much choice and this way we both know we’ll end up pretty happy in the end.


60 Rachel March 24, 2011 at 7:26 am

That’s not a dumb response! Actually, it kind of speaks to what I said in the comments above…that women are just as likely to dislike changes to their space as men are. And it’s true — other things in your life do make up for the sacrifices you make for a relationship. But you still don’t have to love making those sacrifices.


61 Suzanne March 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I still mourn my pale pink and green, floral, vintage inspired comforter!


62 Lindsay March 24, 2011 at 7:59 am

My husband and I moved in together about 5 years ago (2 years before we were married) and believe me it is a wake up call. I think everyone should live with their future spouse before marriage. My biggest thing with him was that he would take the hand towel off of the rack, use it, and then leave it on the sink! I told him that it bothered me and he worked on it but then I learned to compromise on things like that. I am lucky though that he doesn’t give a flip about how our house is decorated so I can pretty much do what I want there, but as a loving wife I try to pick things that are somewhat neutral (no pink or purple flowers). I realized one day too, that all of the pictures we had up were of MY family and MY friends and he never said anything, so I am now trying to be more conscious of him living there too.

Good luck with the moving in thing, it is certainly trying and eye opening. We even had to have conversations about which soda or mustard we would keep in supply (he likes Pepsi and dijon, I like coke and french’s.) But it has been 5 years now and we have added a baby to the mix and I have learned to live with his hand towel weirdness and he has learned to live with my perfection :)


63 Alexandra March 24, 2011 at 8:36 am

I definitely have some “preferences” when it comes to my living space. I can’t help it that I like things a certain way! And I’m with you 100% regarding clutter and it causing stress…especially living in a sardine box in NYC.

When my boyfriend and I moved in together, there were some issues with the shower curtain. I like it closed. He doesn’t care. To me, it just looks sloppy and weird when the shower curtain is half-closed or completely open. Plus, I don’t think guests really need or want to see the contents of the shower. We’ve come to an agreement about making a conscious effort to close it, and I’ve certainly learned to pick my battles along the way.


64 Rachel March 24, 2011 at 8:38 am

So funny…I have a huge issue with the open shower curtain thing too! Normally I just close it without thinking too much of it. But yup…it totally bothers me too!!


65 Chelsei March 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

OMG the stupid shower curtain!! Drives me nuts. Who wants to look into the shower? I want to look at the pretty curtain that I probably spent too much money on!

I also not only like the toilet seat down, but the toilet cover too. He will put the seat down but I am constantly having to completely close it. I don’t want to be putting my makeup on or brushing my teeth and looking into the toilet, it is not that hard to close it!!!!


66 Jo March 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I am a toilet lid closing Nazi. I enforce this policy with visitors to my house also. I don’t only not want to look into the toilet, but you know that stuff gets sprayed around the bathroom when you flush with the lid open!


67 Suzanne March 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm

That is so bizarre because that’s a pet peeve of mine, too! I close it, he pushes it open. Why? You want people to see your Old Spice Odor Control body wash?! I don’t get it!


68 Chelsei March 24, 2011 at 8:57 am

I wish this post would have been around last June! I thought I was the only one who felt that way, but I totally get what you mean. I moved from Houston to Orlando January 2010. I started dating my current bf right after (we met 3 years before) Well the reason I moved to Orlando ended up falling through, but I stayed for him (totally being that girl) I officially moved in with him in June. He has lived in his condo for 5 years – bachelor pad 101. It really took a while for it to feel like home, which was really hard because I already missed Houston so much. I also spent about 3 days deep cleaning, dusting and disinfecting the entire place when I moved in (he was out of town for a week and I went a little crazy – could not handle the boy version of clean) I am a HUGE picture person so not having all my pictures up, all this street signs all over the place, dark colors instead of my fun bright happy colors – it was hard. When I moved out here if it didn’t fit in my car, it didn’t come so I already was down to the minimum and not even having those things out at first sucked.

The big thing that helped was Christmas, we put up our first tree together and got some new bookcases and that room became my happy room. It was OUR stuff that we picked out and did together.

One thing that we did do was move the furniture around in the bedroom. We are still in that room so we didn’t have to take anything apart, but it was still “new”. All together we have now picked up a few new pieces of furniture that we both love, rearranged some things, renovated the master bath, new comforter (such a process) and put up pictures around the condo.

I know it can be really hard to not feel at home, in a strange city, for a boy. To me, he is worth it. Boys just do not understand that having a key to a place doesn’t make it home, it needs to feel like home.

Good luck!! PS- totally jealous that you are in my city!


69 Vanessa March 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

when it comes to the pop bottles, can i suggest a small well designed trash can? Because he won’t stop. hehe, I can’t get tj to stop leaving his kleenex beside the bed, but something he cant throw them in does help.


70 Jennifer March 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

I love this post, and all the comments, because all these thoughts are tumbling around my head right now too! I’m moving in with my BF in a couple months and I, too, asked if we could get new bedding to make our room feel more like OUR room, since we’re keeping his bedroom furniture and putting mine in the spare room. He seems cool with it, but when I actually go shopping for everything, I hope he still will be! I definitely want to choose things he’ll like too. But it’s not just superficial for me either. It’s about wanting to make OUR place really feel like OUR place and for some reason, even though we’re moving to a brand-new place together, the fact that the majority of the furniture is his still makes me feel like the place is more his somehow. (And, PS, I hate the shower curtain being left open too!)


71 asplenia March 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm

It is so awesome that you realized this from the start! I didn’t and it caused trouble. I say keep searching for a comforter. Heck, put a lil’ paypal button and your readers will donate towards the comforter, k? Starting with me. :) Then you can get something nice without worrying about expense.

I hate duvets, too much of a pain in the ass. What I DID do, when I had to compromise, I got a pretty & elegant flat sheet and threw it on top of the comforter. I got the idea from hotels because they are doing this now, sheets are cheap, easy to wash, and you don’t have to struggle with a huge mass of bedding every morning.


72 Rachel March 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm

hahaha…this comment just made me LOL.


73 elaine! April 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Surprisingly, my guy and I have pretty similar tastes in bedroom decor. And as the years have passed, he’s never been bothered by my bedding style choices. In fact, he seems slightly amused when I email him pictures and ask him what he thinks, lol.

The one thing I insist on, that he would probably do differently if single, is a no-TV-in-the-bedroom policy.

I just recently discovered duvets. So much easier to wash!!! And super fun.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: