After fighting the urge to “U-Haul” for nine long, yet magical months, my partner and I have decided to take the plunge and get our first apartment together. This is the first time I’ve ever moved in with a woman, and I am learning a lot about her, about myself, and about our space.
Before we found the perfect apartment to call home, I practically lived at her house. But it was exactly that: her house. And I respected it as such. I kept most of my things in a small, unoccupied room, and I allowed her to manipulate her space however she deemed fit.
As she preps her house for sale, things have been rather stressful. There’s so much work to be done, at both her old house and our new home, but we are diligent to communicate our needs and divvy up our responsibilities. Chores and expectations are proving easy to meet; decorating our space, however, is proving more challenging than I ever expected.
Maybe it’s because I’m used to living with roommates. Having my own room, my own furniture, my own walls to adorn allowed me to fully express my style without too much concern for another’s personal preference. But now that we share one room, with one bed and four walls, I have to relinquish many of my femme flares and garnishes, from my 17 Lady Gaga posters to three full-sized female mannequins gifted to me by my best friend at Nordstrom. I will miss dressing them up in festive holiday outfits. ‘Tis the season of change.
Although we laugh through most of it, the femme space struggle is still real. We’ve lived in our apartment for nearly a week, and still have yet to agree on a décor suitable for our bathroom. Until we do, a plain shower curtain hangs on the rod and a towel serves as our bathroom rug.
Even something as simple as combining our massive collection of books proves cumbersome. We have many copies of the same book, and wonder which, if either should relinquish her copy to the nearest library or Goodwill in order to make space for more. As a highly skilled cook in the kitchen, her cookware collection takes up almost all of the cabinet space. So where will my 50 shot glasses go?
As women, we want to be physically, emotionally, and even spiritually closer to each other than to anyone else in the world. But do we really need to share the same makeup case to do so?
Some couples share everything, and I think that’s great, but I really don’t think that’s me. I like having my clothes on one side of our walk in closet, and hers on another. I don’t mind if she looks through my shirt pile to find a cute tank for a night out at Phase 1, but my underwear drawer is off limits. And that doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t mean we are any less close.
It just means that we have boundaries, in terms of our physical space. As we merge into one, we have to consistently communicate our needs in order to ensure we don’t suffocate one another or dominate our space.
I am learning every day what it means to be a compassionate and compromising companion. As I do so, I realize I really don’t mind giving up some of my favorite things. Because what I’m gaining, and what we are building together, is worth so much more.