I have a living room again! Huzzah!
It's the simple
things you miss, amirite? Since I moved in with The Boyfriend a few
months ago, unexpectedly and in something of a rush, the two of us have
been somewhat short on space. Over the weekend we finally rearranged the
apartment enough that I was able to move my bed out of the living room
space and into my very own room!
This is about the time
when, as I am explaining this situation to my friends, they generally
express shock, concern or disbelief about the fact that my bed was set
up in the living room to begin with.
"Heh, like you need your own bed. Wait, you don't
sleep in the same room? Why not? Are you guys doing ok? You're acting
like a couple of old people who don't like each other anymore, is
During which I, having heard this a dozen times or so at this point, do my best not to cringe or facepalm too hard.
Boyfriend and I have an awesome relationship. We also do not sleep in
the same bed and have separate rooms...a fact to which I attribute at
least some of our success as a couple. So! For the edification and
benefit of my dear friends who seem to have gotten their ideas about how
a couple ought to behave from romantic comedies and sitcoms, I have
compiled a list of reasons you and your significant other should
seriously think about giving each other a little more space.
First of all, people sleep differently.
Personally, I roll around a bit while sleeping and like to have my cats
in bed with me. The Boyfriend is allergic to cats and snores sometimes,
plus he likes to stretch out while sleeping. Sleeping in the same bed
for us is counter-productive to, you know, sleep. Seriously guys, being well-rested is incredibly important to your relationship. If you aren't getting enough sleep you will
be crabby, short-tempered and you will have less energy to do fun
things. Over time, you may also grow to resent your significant other
for always waking you up or stealing the covers when it really isn't
their fault. People can't control the way they sleep. So if you have the
space, get your own damn bed.
Better yet, get your own room because people have different standards of cleanliness.
When two people share the same space, whomever has the higher standard
for what is acceptably clean will end up either doing more cleaning or
more nagging, and both paths lead to resentment. Let me make it very
clear that there is nothing inherently morally or ethically superior
about having higher standards of cleanliness, but if you like things
clean it stresses you out to be in a space that is dirty. Personally, if
my space is a mess my options are either clean it immediately or be
very uncomfortable until I do. If you don't care about mess and are
sharing a space with someone who does, it still stresses you out to have
to do extra work to please someone else's arbitrary standard.
Having my own room means I can be exactly as clean as I care to be
without enforcing those standards on someone else, and vice versa.
The extra space comes in handy too, because people like different things. I
did not lose interest in crafting, costuming, writing or volunteering
because I moved in with someone who does not share those interests. I
still need someplace where I can shut the door, put on some loud music
and make something. If I want to wake up early on Saturday morning
to volunteer at the Natural History Museum, I do not want to also wake
up The Boyfriend when he really just wants to sleep until noon on his
day off. Neither one of our desires or lifestyles trumps the other.
And that's the real point. People in relationships are still individuals. You
can love someone while not wanting to deal with their snoring or be a
part of all their hobbies. Being a couple does not mean merging into a
single unit. The media likes to portray relationships as an endless
stream of compromises, where couples argue with each other over chores
and feel obligated to participate in things they hate to make someone
else happy. Yet they always resolve those differences because they are
SO IN LOVE and fall asleep holding each other. FYI, no one likes having
their wants and needs deemed 'less important' than someone else's and
that is an extremely uncomfortable way to sleep.
I'm not saying that couples should never compromise. It is a
relationship, after all. But I am not willing to compromise my ability
to sleep or deal with the stress of living in a messy space because it
is generally accepted that people who are in love sleep in the same
room, and I wouldn't expect The Boyfriend to make that compromise either. We both want space for our things and hobbies that can be decorated and maintained however we like. Because we are
individuals, not two halves of a couple.