Cohabiting is an irritating word. It’s right up there with hubby, smooch and panties. I can see your shoulders shuddering too. Notice how all of these words have romantic connotation, yet they totally creep me out. So it may sound surprising that five months ago I moved in with my boyfriend and we are officially cohabiting. It’s such a functional word to describe something that has become so lovingly and hilariously dysfunctional.
Our twenties are associated with great adventure, wild nights out and a troublesome dose of uncertainty, so it’s only natural that the decision to move in with your partner can, to those skeptical on lookers, seem like you are quitting at life; swapping all of the fun for box sets and matching bath robes. Now, I can confess to watching Broadchurch on the reg, but living with a boy is everything but routine. I seem to have developed the schizophrenic urge to swap between versions of myself at rapid pace. One minute I am awkwardly bent over watching an eight-minute abs video (you all know the one)- sweating and straining in all the wrong ways – the next I want to look like a glamorous goddess who can bang all night. This constant role swapping is strenuous and by no means hum drum. Some might say that you should love each other no matter how gross the other looks, but that’s utter bollocks, there’s no harm in trying to impress is there?
Of course, it’s still important to set reasonable boundaries that reflect real life rather than an episode of Desperate Housewives. The occasional fart or burp must be permitted, but getting caught wanking in the toilet and tweezing your in growns should not. You can’t put too much pressure on each other to be in the perfect mood every time you come home from work and sometimes, well, a lot of the time, I find it impossible to stay awake past 10.30pm. Yawn.
The question I am often asked by my friends is whether this all feels like a ‘big step’ at the age of 23? Well, yes, to a certain extent, but mostly no. Yes, because there is no going back but it’s easy to forget that the boy in question is unashamedly one of my best friends. I have been lucky enough to live with a lot of best friends throughout university and graduate life, none of which I have kissed good night or had sex with, but the principles are the same. Every interest you share and every interest you don’t (there are just as many of these) rub easily together to make you twice as inspired, knowledgeable and excited about life. Plus, just like the best friends that have gone before, there is always someone there to mess around with and drink wine.
It’s not all plain sailing though. Much to his annoyance, I like to look at our whole living arrangement as a psychological experiment; constantly analysing his behaviour like some giant alien. He is blessed with the power to neatly place his life into five categories: food, shopping (he loves to shop), sex, football and work. Awkward social interactions, late nights in the office and all-consuming life dilemmas don’t even make it to the surface. He is totally unshakeable and for that I am in eternal admiration. While all of this is spinning round my head and I stare deep into his eyes looking for clues of doubt and uncertainty, I can rest assured that all he is daydreaming about is Wayne Rooney sucking on a lollipop.
Living with a man is really that simple.
Written by Helen – she’s mononymous – a bit like Plato, or Beyonce