My boyfriend asked me to live with him… then took it back.
A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend of two years messaged me, pointing out he would need to find a roommate if he moved house. I agreed with him – it would be much more expensive in his new city, and he would need some help to pay the rent. To my absolute surprise, he then asked me if I would move in with him.
I was so shocked I nearly fell out of my chair at work. This request came out of nowhere, and I had to double check he was being 100 per cent, totally and completely serious. He had always been very upfront about not wanting to live together in the past – he wanted to have his own space and liked his ‘me-time’. I also wasn’t in a rush to live with him as I’d had a really bad experience living with my last SO, who turned out to be a toxic partner.
Even though I knew living with my current boyfriend would be different, I still wasn’t sure if I was ready to shack up together.
But it did seem like the next logical step in our relationship, so after some soul-searching, I agreed and started to get excited. I loved spending time with him and we already stayed at each other’s’ homes most nights of the week, so it made sense.
Two days later though, he retracted the offer. He said he wasn’t ready, and apologized for asking in the first place.
Of course, I was disappointed. It sucked. I had spent the past two days telling myself this was what I wanted and started to get psyched about the idea of waking up next to him every day.
But after the initial disappointment passed, I realized not only did I not really want to live with him either, but I was totally okay with it!
I was okay with it because I knew he hadn’t taken back the offer because the idea of living with me was horrible, or even because it scared the hell out of him – the timing just wasn’t right, we were happy with the way things were, so why rock the boat?
I know he loves me. I don’t feel worried or upset he changed his mind, and honestly, my opinion on my own relationship is the only one that matters anyway.
There are a lot of people who assume there is something wrong with not wanting to live together. Whether they think he’s a commitment-phobe, or that we don’t “really love each other”, there will always be people who whisper judgements about my relationship. One of the more common ones is how if we’re scared to move in with each other, our relationship must not be very strong. People also like to wonder if our marriage will be successful if we don’t know what it’s like to live together – even though we aren’t engaged or even thinking about marriage. I can assure anyone who thinks these things; we are very in love and very happy. Besides, I’m a massive advocate for taking relationships slowly, and we’re having an awesome time in our respective apartments right now.
At the moment, I live with three of my best girlfriends. Not only does this mean I have triple the wardrobe, it means I’m spending my twenties laughing every night and making memories with my friends. I’m not ready for my situation to change, no matter how much I love my boyfriend.
Whenever we move in together, I’m sure it will be amazing. But no one can deny that living with your partner changes the dynamic of the relationship. Right now, when I go over to his house, I don’t care if the dishes are piling up like some kind of abstract artwork. If he comes over to my place, he doesn’t care if my wardrobe is technically the entire bedroom floor. If we lived together, these things would definitely get more annoying over time. I hate dirty dishes and my boyfriend irons everything and loves to hang things up (totally not my style).
And because we don’t live together, I get a chance to actually miss him. Not to mention, if I want alone time, I get the chance to have that too. I don’t have to worry about arguments over rent and bills, I can decorate my apartment the way I want, and I don’t have to have the back and forth about what to eat every night, because I only have to feed myself.
These things all make me super pleased to live apart from my boyfriend.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there’s a list of things I’d love about living with him, but they’re not reason enough to abandon the experience of living with my best girlfriends and squeezing every last drop out of my twenties before life gets too serious.
I know we’ll move in together one day. It might be soon, or it might be in a few years. The beautiful thing is I don’t know when that will be, and I don’t care.
Comment: Do you think you need to want to live together for a relationship to be strong?
Kassi is SHESAID's Global Editor, a passionate and opinionated tea-drinker and cat-lover. She's always sleepy, loves politics and lives for writing about social issues. Follow Kassi on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.