We all want to be the couple on the left when it comes to living together, yes?
It’s generally acknowledged and accepted that – as with most things in life – there is a honeymoon period for cohabiting couples.
What starts as a fart-free, dinner-at-the-table, sex on tap and pillow fight prone household will eventually succumb to life pressures. Pillow fights will ruin the posh pillows, as you upgrade, sex will lose out to sleep, and farts, well, they always find a way out.
Of course this is all entirely normal. Just as you might put more effort into make up or make more romantic gestures when you are in the early stages of dating, you put a bit of a gloss on living together and keep out the bad habits.
What’s key is keeping an eye on the important bits, like closeness and quality time, that could impact on your relationship as a whole.
Based on the three years during which I have lived with A Boy (a prospect that TERRIFIED me until we were about two weeks in), here’s what I think is key:
Celebrate the good times
You’re not going to feel refreshed, look ravishing and forget all your troubles/deadlines every day of your life. So when you do, and you’re together, remember it. Take and display photos of those great days. It doesn’t have to be a ball at The Ritz – just nights out, walks and holidays that remind you of the great times.
Have it. Find out how to up-sex your bedroom here.
We SO have this down. But it’s usually on the sofa while watching TV. Together time = 0. Make an occasion of meal times. Whether you have a huge oak table or a little bistro set, cook together, sit your asses down and talk about your day.
There’s been loads in the news about couples who sleep in separate beds/rooms in the last few years. I think we can all see where these people are coming from – you probably get a much better night’s sleep without someone else fidgeting and the inevitable unforgiveable duvet hog. But, don’t you just deal with it? Many psychotherapists, including Dr Barton Goldsmith, believe that sleeping next to each other and the physical closeness that comes with it, can strengthen emotional bonds and therefore your relationship.
Make the effort
This can apply to most things you’ll encounter when living together. Emptying the dishwasher so they don’t have to, taking the bins out if they’re that tiny bit more tired than you. It just shows that you care. Similarly, don’t forget that goodnight kiss, a sneaky massage, and to snuggle up if you’re going to watch TV. They’re tiny things, but without them, you might as well be flatmates.
Count the numbers
It sounds horrible and scientific, but just as you might do at work, keep a track of the good and not so good things you’re doing at home. If you find your body contact waning, or start to feel a bit ‘samey’, set yourself a target! It doesn’t need a spreadsheet (unless you like a spreadsheet..) Mentally tick off those daily kisses, cuddles, nice things, and set yourself a target if you’re not getting through the list. No-one’s going to complain that you’re kissing them too much.
Take time out
Most people I know like a bit of time alone every so often. Whether it’s to get things done, sit and watch rubbish films (that’s me) or just sit and pick your nose, the urge doesn’t go away when you move in with your other half. Don’t be afraid to spend the odd weekend apart, go out with separate groups of friends or go off and do your own thing upstairs while he’s downstairs. You’ll get the reflection/quiet time you need (and can also pluck unsightly facial hairs etc on the sly…) WIN.