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.
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.
“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.
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.