Hi, I’m guest blogging this week for Slick Kook, so let’s get to Slick Kooking.

I had a lucky, idyllic childhood. Being an only child, I didn’t have to share my room with anyone and had all that space just for myself. The first time I shared a space with someone was in college, where I had my first roommate. It was different finding myself face-to-face with someone on a daily basis, but it was an experience I ultimately grew to enjoy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was practice for when I would move in with my boyfriend years later. And yet it wasn’t enough to prepare me for when the time actually came.

The first time I moved in with a significant other, I was in my 20s. Seemed like a great idea at first, but I didn’t realize what a big commitment it was and how much it demanded of me. It was a big shock to my system.

We were both young and just starting our careers. I couldn’t adjust well to the fact that I could no longer go home to get away from the relationship when I needed a break. No more lounging about in my underwear. No more clipping my nails wherever I wanted. No more creating a mess and being too lazy to clean it up.

We got into a lot of petty arguments — trivial arguments that were essentially power struggles over our shared space. Whose stuff would move in and whose would end up in storage? Who was in charge of which chores? Who should walk the dog? Who should clean the cat litter? What nights should we go out and what nights would we stay at home? It was a constant battle of pettiness.

A lot of battles. A lot of pettiness.

Suffice to say, we broke up not too long after and went our separate ways.

I dated again a few months after that, as you do, but didn’t make the leap of moving in with someone until I was absolutely sure I was ready. This time I was in my 30s. Whereas in my 20s I overanalyzed everything about my relationships, in my 30s I stopped sweating the little things, realizing that life is easier and more enjoyable when you take it as it comes, especially when it comes to your significant other.

Some people think living together before marriage has its benefits, while others may think living together before marriage is never the way to go. We didn’t have either of these ideas in mind when we started living together. All we knew was we were in love and it felt like the right thing to do. We were ready to live together. Beyond that, we were prepared for all possibilities, including the possibility we would fall out of love and want to go our separate ways.

And yet, this time around, it was great. We stopped arguing over whose turn it was to stay over. Besides, it was nice to have someone to go grocery shopping with and someone who could stop you from buying eight extra bags of chocolate. Seven is enough. And since we shared costs, we were able to save. And who doesn’t like saving money?

We learned how each of us folds our socks and how often one of us wants to go out. We got to combine our personalities when we hand-selected our decor and furniture. And although we never mentioned it, we also gauged whether or not we wanted to ultimately get married. There were fewer misunderstandings between us, as most of our communication took place face-to-face, rather than over the phone or through text messages.

By the time I was thirty, I had quite a bit belongings to my name.

This was unlike the situation in my 20s, where all my belongings were few and disposable. During my latest move, my significant other wanted me to move in without any of my stuff, but I wasn’t ready for this. I wanted the home to feel like our space. I didn’t want to feel like a guest in my own home. So, once again, we compromised.

We ended up keeping my lounge couch, which I’m quite attached to, and moving some of his stuff into storage. We ended up incorporating a good mix of our stuff in our new apartment, so that we both felt like equal stakeholders.

I’m usually a pretty social person and, when I lived by myself, would invite friends over all of the time. My significant other is more of an introvert, preferring quiet evenings at home, watching Netflix, and ordering take-out. Over time, we grew to an understanding of how to strike a balance between the quiet nights and the whoops-we-had-one-too-many-bottles-of-wine nights. Also, game nights — game nights are the perfect balance of booze, friends, and staying in.

Balance. It’s all about balance, young padawan.

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