Not too long ago, a reader suggested creating a follow-up post regarding co-habitating with a boyfriend. Sure, why not? The previous post, written in July, lead me to research more about the rules of engagement when living with a boy. 3 months into this lease and already we have learned what to do, what not to do and how to communicate more effectively. Read ahead for additional advice on how to make the most of your new living arrangement.
Remember Stephen Covey
After disecting the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People years ago, author Stephen Covey’s words still ring in my ears:
We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior….when you really listen to another person from their point of view,and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.
Take traffic for instance. Sometimes we expect others to know we are running late for work, so it’s acceptable for us to tailgate, but if someone’s riding your ass, you might assume that person is rude. Consider every point of view distinct from your own. Sometimes your lover may fall asleep before washing the dishes. Life happens. Can you make it till morning without the trash taken out? As often as you judge yourself based on intentions, consider your significant other in the same tender light, and notice how the arguments begin to disintegrate.
Pinpoint Detested Chores
As most already know, compromising lies at the core of a well-functioning relationship. My boyfriend can’t stand folding laundry, while I’m not a fan of mowing the yard. Develop a system together that works for both of you. Determine which chores each party would rather avoid and divvy up informal assignments.
No, I’m not suggesting you guys make a race of the cleaning to see who completes their chore first, because…let’s be real. Very seldom does anyone embrace cleaning. (Although I’ve gotta admit, I love nothing more than to reorganize a room) All I’m saying is, throw on some good music, mix yourself a cocktail and leisurely enjoy each others company as the house is tidied up. Just as one article recommends making time for each other, finding ways to bare with the mundane, redundant activities that come with responsibilities keeps the relationship feeling lively.
We have taken on the approach of “you cook, I clean” Monday-Friday, both feeling satisfied with this arrangement. Love to me is demonstrated by the sheer amount of dedication driven into a dish, served hot on a plate. This strange,maternal instinct takes over and suddenly I’m eager for him to come home after a long day at work, with food ready to be devoured. What makes it even better is he doesn’t mind cleaning afterwards. This isn’t rocket science, just basic compromising skills.
Give him a reason to look forward to coming home
Have you thought to ask your boyfriend what it is he enjoys coming home to? Probably not, and that’s okay. Similar to compromising, communication ties most of these listed tidbits together. I casually put my beau on the spot this morning, asking him what he looks forward to after school. He’s smartened up, becoming suspicious immediately with “Is this going on your blog?” Although I promised to keep most of his comments secret, he mentioned decompressing, eating and hanging out.
Makes sense. Please forgive the Fox News reference, but this article stated one thing men look forward to after work is relaxing. Returning to a relatively calm, stable environment at the end of the day is a universal, physiological need. How could you cultivate subtle changes to your environment for the sake of a soothing atmosphere?
Surprises don’t have to cost much: A simple “I love you” post-it note can leave someone feeling appreciated and considered. If you asked your boyfriend to clean the bedroom but he had to stay late after work and you’re bored, go ahead and finish the task at hand. This isn’t about “sucking up”, “kissing ass” or placating gender roles; it’s about acting out of empathy. You were never against each other when you first began dating, so why not try to make life easier for one another? I returned home from vacation last weekend to see the entire house cleaned, and not just clean, but deep-cleaned. What a nice surprise! Needless to say, I now owe him a favor of great significance.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, recommends lightening up as a method of deescalation. Granted she called on humor as a parenting tactic in her book, and the link above reiterates the importance of levity in the workplace; such a piece of advice truly applies to all arenas of life. Maintaining a sense of playfulness becomes essential when daily pressures take their toll. I’ve learned that getting outside, going to shows and bonding with our cats (lol) helps reduce tension, further strengthening our bond. Don’t take life too seriously.
Below you will find a few photos of dates and escapes to Chattanooga. From Joe’s Crab Shack to Omni Hut, we love to eat well.
So what works for you? Have you discovered any particular methods or solid practices which lead to a happier cohabitating partnership?