Thursday, July 7, 2011

therapy thursday: living in sin

 {via we heart it}

Hello, controversial subject. My name is Holly and I lived in sin. Don't judge me. It was a good decision for Shawn and I in our relationship, and it worked out for us. Given the choice, I'd do it again. If it's not your thing or against your belief system, then I won't judge. But if you're debating about whether or not to take the cohabitation plunge, here are a few pieces of advice:

Meet on neutral ground. If you move in with him (or her, for my secret male readers), the place may not feel like yours, collectively. No one wants to feel like a guest in their own home, so move into a new place together.One that you pick out together and make your own.

Make it yours. Decorate the place together. Whether you think your man (or woman) has no taste or sense of style, his (or her) opinion, when it comes to decorating your pad, matters. Just asking for their input, even if you don't take it all the time, lets your hunny bunny know that you're willing to compromise and see things from their perspective.

Respect each other's space. If your place is conducive, find a space in your house that's all your own. A retreat of sorts where you can relax alone when needed. Just because you live together, doesn't mean you have to be together, in the same room, all the time. Mr. Ritter retreats to his "man cave" aka the basement when he just wants to watch sports without my questions or comments. It's just his thing, and I respect that. He also respects when I need want to watch my crime shows.

Accept each other's living habits. Don't think that when you move in with your beau that he's going to change his living habits. If he left his clothes, clean or dirty, on the floor, he's still going to leave his clothes on the floor. Most likely you saw this when you hung out at his place before cohabitating. If you were OK with it then, you should be OK with it now. If you weren't OK with it then, well, sorry sister, you picked him. Pick you battles. But if he has a habit that you just can't handle, then approach the subject positively and let him know what it is that bothers you and present a solution. Don't show up to the discussion without a solution. He may not know any other way of doing things, and habits are hard to break. So go easy on him and help him to kick the habit. On the flip side, don't get your panties in a pinch if there are habits of yours that irritate him. Be open to change.

Don't reveal everything at once. Get comfortable with each other slowly. You don't want to scare your man away or repulse him, at least not at first. Some things are better kept behind closed doors, such as shaving your bikini line. If you ask Mr. Ritter, he'd tell you the one thing he wishes I kept a secret was that I prefer to keep the bathroom door open when doing my business (And yes, he knew this before he married me). Oh, that's gross? Well, then be glad you don't have to live with me. I guess I just don't like the enclosed space. At first, I always kept the door closed. After awhile, I just started leaving it open on occasion. Now, depending on my business, I'll leave the door open. He's accepted my going number one with the door open. It's a daily occurrence. But he hasn't quite accepted number two, so I still close the door for that one. What? Everybody poops. Stop judging. Moral of the story: slowly introduce those things you typically keep behind closed doors. But I believe it's important to introduce your whole self to your significant other: good, bad, and disgusting.

Share responsibilities. Splitting up cleaning duties ensures that you both get your hands dirty. Maybe even make a day of it. This will keep you working together. Relationships are not a one-way street after all. I must admit that Mr. Ritter does most of the cleaning in our house. He's so darn good at it. But I am also so busy that he usually has everything done by the time I get home. Lately, I've been trying to step up and help out with duties around the house, whether he recognizes it or not. Perhaps I should make this my mid-year resolution.

Living together before marriage, even engagement, worked for Shawn and I. I could see a viable future with him, and it turns out that I was right (which I am most of the time...ha! jk.). If your relationship is unstable, and don't kid yourself, living together isn't going to fix your issues. There are a lot of stats out there about people who live together before marriage and end up divorced. Those people probably weren't meant to be together anyway. It most likely had nothing to do with living together. But you can tell by living apart whether you can live together or not. And if you can't, you probably haven't been dating long enough.

To each her own, my friends. Happy cohabitating!


annahita said...

what a great post! I didn't "live in sin" but that's because we eloped, if we hadn't we definitely would have! but these are great tips and I LOVE the honesty! :)

Megan Robideau said...

I like this! I would have to agree with you that it was a great thing for Kevin and I to do before getting married. I would do it again if asked! We've learned the ins & outs of each others daily lives & living habits. Not only that but I LOVE living with him..he's my best friend & love. Who could ask for a better roomie :D

Alexandria said...

I am also living in sin, so I completely and 100 percent agree with all of this :) But I also agree it's not for everyone, but I think it's helped our relationship tenfold!

lori said...

i love your honesty. my hubby and i lived together before we were married (or engaged!) too. it worked for us. and i 100% agree with everything in this post.

Whitney said...

i moved in with my now hubby after we were engaged. it was right after his roommates moved out. i was at his place every night and vice versa, plus it was going to save us money. we knew we were going to get married, and it was the best thing we have done. we basically were already living together before we actual began living together.

Selby said...

Good post. I had to comment on your last part about the stat that people living together and divorced. I always thought that "those" people were already in a bad relationship and thought marriage would fix it. I have always hated that stat. I agree that the divorce probably has nothing to do with cohabitating.

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