“Lover” is a pretty repulsive noun, and I wouldn’t normally use it except in cases of extreme sarcasm. But boyfriend just doesn’t seem to cut it and manfriend is a little too lame. For a while I toyed with the term partner, which evokes memories of picturesque cowboys and political hippies (worst kind), not to mention the fact that people just assume I’m a lesbian if I call anyone a “partner.” Which is another thing. Because that’s the point right? That people shouldn’t be worried about the gender and/or sex of my partner, and I shouldn’t have to label people in these ways? And really, who am I to care if others think my boyfriend is actually a lady? Maybe he would care, but I don’t. So, on we go.
Living with your lover is not hard. Let’s face it. People suck, and that’s what’s hard. It turns out that everyone is more selfish than they’d actually lead you to believe, but once you live with another person you learn that really you both suck, and that’s that. This is not an attempt to beguile you and I am not in any position to give out serious love advice, since my relationship sort of fell into my lap after years of dating other, okay-but-not-really-my-type-men. But since people are easily shocked, or at least feign shocked-ness whenever I tell them how long Zack and I have been together and how long we’ve lived together, I’ve finally decided to address living with your lover (and why it’s not hard).
For the past two years, I have lived with Zack in a 395 square foot studio. And we just signed the lease for another year. Before this charming little—I’m serious about little—studio, Zack and I lived in a house with some of our closest friends (which was hard, but not nearly as hard as the time before that). People always ask me something along the lines of “how do you get away” or “don’t you need personal space,” or anything like that which suggests that people don’t realize how busy we both are. Seriously. I think these people sit around all day doing nothing and thinking about all the time they need to be alone. And that’s great, being alone is fine and dandy and everyone should learn to just enjoy being by themselves. But as far as needing more personal space goes, no, I don’t need more because more personal space means less time I can be at home not thinking about work or school or volunteering or whatever else I do. Sometimes I am at home, but Zack is at work or school or doing something else, and so our time together is limited to sleep and waking up.
Mostly, though, I just like him. I genuinely like being around him and still haven’t got bored. I do get pissed if our tiny apartment has stacks of books and papers all over the floor, or if the toilet seat gets left up (if you’ve ever fallen into the toilet in the middle of the night when peeing you know how disgusting this is. Usually the rim of the toilet is not particularly clean, and having to get back into bed smelling of urine will convince you to forever hark when it is left up). And the closet. The closet. Yes, the closet is full, full beyond your wildest beliefs. But I like Zack, so I can’t possibly get that angry.
Most people who are in disbelief that we have lived together for so long (happily) are so because we are not some unnatural married couple, but we also didn’t just start dating. So we live in this weird limbo relationship where people expect you to get married after 10 months of dating or there must be something wrong. But there’s nothing wrong here. Just two people liking each other and wanting to be together and not settling on anything more than that until there is some solid ground under us and a couple more years of school in both of our belts.
So living with your lover is not hard, as long as you are both still in love*.
*This statement in not inclusive and varies depending on personality, children, and finances.