Reflections

Do you really want to understand the nitty-gritty of living with your partner before you marry them? I’m not sure!

 

Do you worry that it could result in all the things that can take romance out of the relationship? Hmm, that’s a worry!

 

Is your relationship healthier if your partner has been brought up with the courtesy to put the seat down after his visit to the loo, or is it an insignificant detail that does not matter?!

This really cannot be something we talk about!

 

 Is the tube of toothpaste squeezed from the end or are there lumps and bumps and a messy top with no lid? 

It can be appalling for a tidy girl or maybe it gives her the opportunity to return to the lazy girl she always was, bathroom tidiness be damned, the loo welcomes a messy twosome! 

 

I am lucky to have a partner with super loo etiquette because all of those idiosyncrasies mentioned above would have driven me bonkers! I am also trying desperately for my boys to pick up on these little but important codes of courtesy as soon as possible – it’s never too early to understand some of the polite mannerisms that living together requires.

 

A relationship can become so comfortable when you get used to the real sights and sounds of cohabiting that there is no need to mess with the equation. If I were put in that spot, I might just find it the comfortable cocoon that needs no changing, even if I know that the end result could be the beautiful butterfly called wedded bliss! 

 

Making a home together can be euphoric at any time. Pre-marriage, post-marriage- it’s a very special time. All the culinary arguments, who’s turn it is for groceries or making lunch take their time to fall into place and settling in can be a quite the joyride. I am sure my Mum and Aunt’s would have enjoyed establishing equal relationships if society saw it as acceptable for them to live with my Dad and Uncle’s before the priest finished the wedding chant’s! For a group of ladies that did not even call their husbands by their first names, to show some form of respect for their traditionally older male partners, it would have been an awkward but revolutionary time. As generations have moved on, I think both men and women have enjoyed the equality they bring to their relationship when they begin to live together. Even if equality is not what they have settled for, there are rules on who does what around the house! I offered to pay all the bills online when we first got married but the type-A character I am married to was never sure it was done right, so I stopped! 15 years later, he would be grateful if I took it on, trust established over the years and all that, but heigh-ho, that ship has sailed, Type-A can stick with it! I wonder if we had established these rules as a couple living in, we could change how we wanted to do things once married! 

 

Independence and money are always important to living with someone. I think more women would keep their careers going longer if they are living with their partners and both individuals are contributing to running a household, whether equally or otherwise. I did find giving up on a career difficult when I had children, but it was my decision entirely, I wanted to spend that time with my kids, I wanted them to know I was around, it mattered to me and I was privileged to have the financial and emotional support to do so. Had we lived in, I might have struggled to shake off the job as I may have had financial responsibilities to both the family and to the structure of a household we had established. I speculate though, and for many, this may never be a matter of choice!  

 

In the end, every couple has to find space and comfort in the cards they are dealt and the circumstance they are in. Some have the ability and freedom to make that decision on living-in and experimenting with cohabitation, others don’t and find a certain charm and romance in the unknown. 

 

Is there complacency that could set in and make a live-in relationship a rut? Yes, but that can happen to married couples too. 

 

May you never head for holy matrimony? Possible, and you may still thrive in the relationship. 

 

Whichever way you do it, there will be arguments, hurt, hugs and chuckles along the way. Both versions will always be the experiment you hope never fails.

 

It could be magical figuring out if a long-term relationship is actually for you given the opportunity. It could save both people much heart-ache if a couple can realise quite quickly that living together is beyond unbearable. And then again, you could establish rules on toothpaste tops that you agree on and loo manners that are acceptable and find collaborative ways that makes things chug along because there is so much more that keeps two individuals together. Above all, you will establish roles and rules on finances, kids, careers and life to come, which could be very fruitful. You may still bumble along when life bowls you that googly, but you will have had the experience and strength of the past to drive into the future!

 

The Railway Woman

 

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