Okay, fine. FINE!
I once “learned a lesson” about relationships at the age of 18. A lesson that will forever stick with me, I hope.
Once upon a time, I was in love with a boy. A boy who I thought was probably the greatest person in the world. He was the smartest, funniest, and most attractive boy who had ever liked me in the 18 years of my existence. He would eventually become my boyfriend. (I hope you weren’t expecting an unrequited love story, reader.)
We were also living 300 miles away from one another when we decided we wanted to be together. And as they say–absence makes the heart grow fonder. Oddly enough, the relationship would be its strongest because we were miles away from one another. Our hearts would grow fonder, and this boy would eventually move back to the city where we met months earlier. Unfortunately this would also be the downfall of the relationship.
At 18, he was the person I could see being with for years and years down the road. Despite him not having many of my deal sealers for Mr. Almost Right. (Relationship lesson #3: Good looks can only get one so far.) It only made sense to do the thing I’ve now come to
regret learn about relationships. We were hardly ready to get married, thus we did what seemed to be the appropriate next thing to do before tying the knot: cohabitate.
Why would I ever think living with this boy was the right thing to do? I guess because I was always over at his apartment and vice versa. It didn’t make sense for him to have his own place and mine. I guess because I felt I was mature enough to move out of my parent’s house, and take on bills. I guess because I was in love with this boy, and it felt like the next step would be exactly this.
I learned that there really is a difference between living and staying over (almost) every night at someone’s house. You have to make choices together, like deciding what couch would look good sitting in the living room. And there’s cleaning responsibilities. Ha! And then there’s also paying bills together.
I’ve learned one thing about cohabitating, and that it is the deciding factor between two people to see if they’re compatible or not. And we weren’t. (This is a story of two incompatible people, and how they discovered that.)
My boyfriend would eventually become the roommate who I never saw. I became unhappy because I had these expectations about our living situation. (Silly me!) For instance, I expected him to come home each night because that was where we both lived. Naturally, he didn’t agree. I would become too involved with his life, and completely forget about mine. (What were my hobbies again?) I learned that our 800 square feet living situation was claustrophobic for both of us.
As our year lease was nearing, we would come to the agreement that although we wanted to be together, we needed to live in separate places. After all, we had never been properly together with our own places, while living in the same city. As the weeks went on, I kept thinking to myself that if he can’t live with me now, how will he ever?
We would eventually break up, and I would still write about it three years later.
I’ve always blamed our breakup on the fact that we moved in together. And her. Why could I never accept the fact that maybe we just weren’t ever that compatible in the first place? When I lurk on his facebook page, I can’t help but wonder where I would be if we were still together. Miserable? Happy? Apathetic? Longing for something else? Fortunately, moving in with him early on saved me years of wondering, and I learned we were not compatible, and never would be.
I know that the next time I get serious with someone, and that inevitable step will come, I know I’ll be terrified. I won’t know when the “right time” will be to live with someone. Is there a minimum number of years before that should happen? Five years? When you get engaged? Perhaps there’s not. Perhaps two people just take the plunge into the fear of the unknown and hope it all works out for the best.