Not all men are messy and not all women are super-tidy, but I have noticed from living with a boy, and from talking to my girlfriends who also share space with their guy, that women have a much lower tolerance for mess. Maybe this should have been obvious? Well, for me it wasn't which means perhaps I am on the naive side. There are things my guy will do on his own – he makes the bed, he folds and puts laundry away (which I hate doing) and he takes out the trash – all of which I appreciate. But show him a sink that hasn't been scrubbed in a while and he won't notice what the problem is. I just don't think guys actually see crumbs, dust or anything else that a woman would notice from ten feet away. I went away one summer to Paris (hard life, I know) without the boy and after returning home after six weeks abroad, the house was surprisingly in order. But upon closer inspection, I'm pretty sure the sink hadn't been touched since the morning I left for the airport. Yikes.
When I first moved in with my boyfriend, I figured we would live happily ever after, delirious with love for each other and excitement about this new big step we were making in our relationship. Moving in together meant nightly romantic candlelit dinners, doing everything together and otherwise being the perfect couple, right? Um...no. The first time he came home in a bad mood I was convinced it was something I'd said or done. Not that we both hadn't had our share of bad moods and arguments before moving in together, I just thought it was supposed to be different now. One of the biggest lessons I've learned from living with a boy is that everyone has bad days (including me) and that it's often not about the other person. So now if one of us wakes up on the wrong side of the bed or comes home feeling frustrated, I know it's not the end of the world and it doesn't mean we aren't in love or happy to be sharing space.
One of the most important things to remember if you're about to move in with someone or thinking about it, is that no matter how long you've been dating or how many other people you've lived with, deciding to cohabitate will require an adjustment period. Just like it wasn't obvious to me that men and women have different ideas about cleanliness, when it came time to move in together, I just expected things to be perfect right away. You just unpack and that's it, right? Um...no. Everything from what kind of orange juice to buy to how to set up the living room to where to hang artwork comes into play when you first decide to share a space with someone. Eventually everything settles into a rhythm and everybody is happy, but to start with, it can feel strange always having someone around and having to constantly figure out whose way of doing things will win out. It takes a lot of compromise, but it really is worth it in the end and now I can't imagine not living with a boy.