My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and living together for about four. As organic as our relationship and home is, I am well aware of the “he’ll never marry you” narrative that surrounds me. As a live in girlfriend, I definitely hear the tone in women’s voices change when I tell them I live with my boyfriend. Honestly, proving myself worthy of being his wife just hasn’t been on my list of things to worry about. Living together doesn’t mean marriage is off the table for him either. Of course it isn’t exactly what my parents want but I figure, it’s my life and I don’t have to be so “victorian” about it. I don’t want to devalue our relationship because other people–my mother included, think we should be doing something different. Here’s the thing…I’m happy!
When we decided to move in together everything just kind of worked out. There was an adjustment period, being that I’d never lived with a man before. I hadn’t actually been the “long-time girlfriend” before either. The transition was mostly about trying to fit all of our stuff in a small place. Other than him thinking flatulence was funny and something like an animalistic mating call, we didn’t have any trouble.
The Almost Even Split
We split rent, he pays major utilities and we pay personal bills separately. We’ve never had a deep conversation about what the man is supposed to pay, who should pay more or any of that. Things just played out this way. I think the most important factor of our bill break down is he provides security with his consistency. He makes it very clear that he’ll always make sure we’re stable. I mean, what girlfriend doesn’t want that (forgive me if that’s too Southern for you)? When it comes to cleaning, I do more only because I’m better at it! Now washing clothes is a different story, I wash ALL the clothes. I’m leery of anyone that will put towels, light clothes, dark clothes, pillow cases– basically everything, in one load. So washing is all me. This just works for us.
Happy Girlfriend, Happy (what rhymes with girlfriend)….?
I’m currently transitioning my life, finances and passions in a new direction. Roderick–my boyfriend, wants me to push for things that make me happy. See!, security. Now, I’m not going to just up and quit my job. However I’ve been jobless at one point in our relationship and he made sure we were ok! That gave a glimpse of our lives if there was ever a sudden change. There’s that security factor again. The point is, I’m happy with his effort to keep this thing working, you know. I think that’s the part most guys miss. Security is more than what you can maintain financially. A girl wants to be sure you can deliver on what you say you can! I don’t know that I would have been able to witness those things, had we been living separately. The benefits of this live in girlfriend thing are pretty cool.
The “M” Word
My moms favorite thing to say is “why buy the cow if you’re getting the milk for free.” Then I say shouldn’t I taste the milk first? Or what if I can’t afford a cow? Do I believe we’ll get married someday? Yes. Is it on the top of my priorities? No. Is that so terrible? Of course I’ve thought about it in the 5 years we’ve been together. Thought about when it should happen, obsessed over if he was smart enough to get my ring size from my best friends.Over time I’ve recognized he has his reasons for not being ready and so do I. It’s just that simple.
I wholeheartedly believe in letting a man grow into who he wants to be. Instead of obsessing over the ring, that is. Way too stressful! Besides, how happy would I be if he only married me because he’d had enough of me bugging him about it. In the beginning, I felt like I should come home to flowers and devotional posts on social media. I even wanted him to be good at doing my makeup so we could do the “My Boyfriend Does My Makeup” tag on Youtube too– kidding. Actually I doubt if he’d even agree to that (adds to list of things to ask Roderick). I just wanted him to be good at everything! Reality check!–I wasn’t, so why require it from him. I felt like I needed these validations for the relationship to be legit. Those things do help but thankfully, I grew out of the necessity.
The Everyday Him
I understood I was overlooking things he was doing already, and I stopped feeling pressured by social media. He has been the same guy since day one, so who was I to try to change him into something I thought I needed. It was a hard lesson but I learned happiness is truly created by me alone. My boyfriend contributes to my happiness but once I rooted myself in my own personal goals and self-love, I found that I value what we have even more. Again, not so positive I would have realized this if I didn’t live with him. I get to see the everyday him, in motion, making constant strides towards the effectiveness of us. Thats what matters to me.
The Bed, The Red and Everything in Between
Some women feel this constant need to be sexy all the time around their man, like hair always done, sexy sleepwear and makeup 24/7, which is cool…for them. I am fully aware that men are visual creatures, and presentation is important, but this ain’t me sis! When I go to sleep, I have a silk scarf on to protect these edges, I struggle with acne so sleeping in make-up is a no-no and my sleepwear is anything open at the bottom. I like to keep things as natural as possible, and fortunately he fully understands and loves me for that.
The one thing I keep far away from him, is my period. Which we hilariously refer to as Shark Week. He has never seen a pad, panty liner, tampon or anything else in our house. Not even the wrappers. Although he is fully aware of my 5-6 days of hell, I keep most of the process to myself. I don’t know why but that is my personal time, and he just doesn’t need to be a part of it. ME TIME is essential anyway, and I love mine.
The Power of No: A Cheers to Self Care, is a good segway to getting more personal time!
To sum it up we live a normal ass life. We pay bills, we love on each other, we travel, and we plan for the future. It definitely can get tough maintaining a balance between a job, a side hustle, a man, a home, a dog, and dreams. However I’m getting better at the balance everyday. Maybe that’s really the only way to get better at balance, to act actually have things to practice with. The key for me is just to not feel pressured and carve out specific time to do specific things. I make it a habit to speak positively about myself everyday, because I am proud of myself. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, but if I am overwhelmed Monday, I make sure on Tuesday when I get home I rest. He supports that, and he supports me. What more could I ask for?