Wednesday List #32 – The Challenges of Life With Another

Dave’s been in town for just over a month. It’s lovely – absolutely lovely – to have him here, but I can’t pretend that it’s all easy. It’s not. It’s been a long time since I did anything other than have a long-distance relationship. Long-distance is easy. You have wonderful visits when you’re together, and you get regular life and lots of alone time when you aren’t. That always worked well for me. Life with someone – really with someone – is very different and much harder.

  1. We have different ways of doing things and neither of us can point to a “wrong” or “right” of the matter. Who knew there were so many different ways to load a dishwasher and to wash dishes by hand?
  2. I’m way more particular than I thought I was. I tend to want to pick up around me a lot and put things away even if I’m not entirely sure where they should go. I just don’t want them right there, you know? That’s okay when it’s just me, but the implication of that behavior to another person sharing space with me is that he needs to function the same way, and that’s just wrong. He doesn’t need to function the same way. There’s nothing wrong with having a cooler in the trunk of the car at all times, using cloth kitchen towels that sit on the counter rather than paper towels that immediately go in the trash, or having dishes in the sink sometimes.
  3. Sometimes he drives my car or I drive his. It’s a game of constant seat and mirror adjustments. I love my FJ, but I remember my old car, which was much more fancy, had pre-set buttons so each driver could program seat and mirror settings. For the first time in my life, I could use that pre-set feature.
  4. Scheduling time with people other than Dave is more complicated because it often means time away from him. I don’t want time away from him, but I do want time with other people too, so am I supposed to drag him along to all my get-togethers? That assumes he likes all of my friends as much as I do. He might, but is that fair to him to fill up his time with my schedule?
  5. When I go home, I have to think about someone else. I no longer have the luxury of decompressing in silence or to the blessed sound of my General Hospital episode or two or four. Actually, I do. He wouldn’t mind, but it feels wrong to demand alone time when I’ve been away from him all day.
  6. Both of us have read very little since he came to town. I read a good bit on Whidbey Island a couple of weeks ago, but we just don’t have a lot of time to sit and read. Maybe that’ll change when the wedding is behind us, but I have a feeling it won’t. I suspect that busyness will be replaced by something else.
  7. The hardest part is accepting the responsibility that my mood affects the person I’m with. My being grumpy rubs off on him just as my being happy does. If I come home frustrated or tired, he has to respond to me by figuring out whether I need quiet or his enthusiasm to get me out of my funk. That’s a big responsibility to put on another person, so I’m trying to set aside whatever has happened that day before I go home.
  8. Mostly, it’s humbling to have someone witness my good and my bad equally. I’m used to being able to present my best self to others, but Dave is seeing all of my selves, and we aren’t all pretty. Some of us are weak. Some of us are short-tempered. Some of us get out of sorts for no discernible reason. I can’t hide any of us from him. If I did, I’d be pretending all the time, and that would be exhausting, so I’m showing him who I am and trying to manage who I am at the same time so I’m not horribly unfair to him, if that makes sense.

I realize much of this is still surface stuff. They don’t rise to the level of conflicts. They are just things changes I’m noticing that stem from doing life with someone. The good news is that, one month in, I’m still crazy about him, and I think he’s still crazy about me even though he’s witnessed a lot of my particularities and a bit of my crazy. It’s still hard to believe that this incredibly sweet guy is in it with me for the long haul, even when it’s hard, but he appears to be.

The other day, I went to the grocery store while Dave napped. While I was at the store, I had half convinced myself that when he said, “I’d like to take a nap,” he meant that he’d like to get me out of the house so that he could pack all his things and leave without having to explain himself.  I bumped into a dear friend at the grocery store, and I told her that I was pretty sure he and his things would be gone when I got home. I was joking, but I believe there’s a kernel of truth in every joke. A little part of me definitely wondered if maybe he was thinking he’d made a huge mistake moving down here for me.

I think I’m still haunted by the past to some extent. I have this fear that we’ll come to an abrupt end with no face-to-face conversation about what happened. Anyone who knows Dave knows that would never happen. He’s far too much of a communicator to leave without a conversation, but that’s the fear I’m carrying right now. Letting go of that fear – believing that this man really does want to spend the rest of his life with me – may be my biggest challenge.

12 thoughts on “Wednesday List #32 – The Challenges of Life With Another

  1. Wow. Lots to digest. Realizing how good it feels to be on this side of most of that, but to confess that life with another still is a daily practice. Know what I mean, jelly bean? Love is worth it…

  2. Definitely a big change to be sharing your home and your life with a full-time partner.

    I just moved in with a roommate after many years living solo. It’s certainly different from having my own place. There’s a level of “being on” that didn’t exist before.

    On the plus side, I feel less lonely, coming home to a friendly face. And I didn’t realize that I was lonely, before, because I’m independent and introverted (like you, I think?).

    I’m happy for you and Dave that you’re taking this plunge together.

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