What Choosing to Live-in with My Boyfriend Taught Me
I don’t know what people mean by, and how they find, the “right” person for themselves. He’s all the wrongs that could ever be but he’s the kind of wrong I’d choose over a million rights. The kind I choose to live-in with.
My boyfriend and I are different from each other. We do not agree on a lot of things – what to eat for dinner, whether to open a bottle of red wine or white, where to go over the weekend, and if we should buy a washing machine or not – but when it comes to the bigger things in life, we think quite alike. We both are iconoclasts, we don’t have a high regard for the institution of marriage, we are not keen on having kids, we love animals, and we are passionate about travelling and reading. For us, having a similar outlook for the big things in life is reason enough to work out the small things, and flip a coin when deciding where to go over the weekend.
We recently completed four years of being together. We’ve seen each other at our best and worst. Not only because we’ve dated for four years but also because we live together, in Bombay. Live-in relationships aren’t common in our society because the society isn’t cool with them. I learnt that firsthand when we started searching for a flat, but I’ll let that be a story for another time. We found a flat, eventually.
That, however, is not how our live-in story began. It began with our decision to tell our parents we were planning to do this. I had heard friends talk about live-in in a covert fashion. It fascinated and puzzled me because I’m someone who grew up in a close-knit family and I share everything with my parents. Also, the decision to live-in with my boyfriend was not a trial and error stint for me. So, hiding or lying to parents about moving in with him was never an option I considered. With him though, it wasn’t as natural to tell his folks about it. I still insisted he did. And so both of us, respectively, spoke to our parents. Surprisingly, they didn’t react in a manner that would ruin our plans, mostly because my parents believed (and still do) that we would marry sometime soon and his parents did not take us seriously until we found a flat. And after that, they didn’t have much choice. So here we are, living-in together in our humble home that we’re building each day with utmost love, warmth and happiness.
And here’s an important lesson I learnt through this life decision: You get what you want in life if you ask for it with full conviction.
And once you get it, it changes your life in ways you can’t fathom. Living-in with the love of my life has brought me joy and learning. In fact, some learning I didn’t even know I needed:
Patience: because he believes in throwing away clothes when they get dirty.
Anger management: because he compares champagne to a fizzy lemon drink.
Sleeping with cell phone light on my head: because he loves playing games till 3am.
Reminders: because he cannot remember what his share of work in the house comprises.
Money management: because shopping for clothes, bags and shoes can’t be a monthly routine when we need to pay house rent, get WiFi, and buy a fridge, bed, cupboards, bookshelf, and home décor for the house.
And last but not the least, a lesson that can’t be stressed enough:
Personal space: because it is as important as our time together. So we, consciously, do not have a set of mutual friends. We like hanging out with our separate bunch of friends instead of sitting awkwardly at each others’ friend’s party.
Living-in isn’t easy, and it isn’t difficult. It is what it is. It is something we wanted, we asked for, and we got. It is something we cherish every bit of it.
When the day comes to a close, the joy of seeing the love of your life, laughing at their quirks, getting annoyed by their pet peeves, building a life with them, and taking small and big life decisions together is priceless. If you’re one of those lucky people in the world, take a moment to realize that you worked hard to create this fairytale of yours, and revel in the beauty of it. My boyfriend and I do that often over mugs of chamomile tea.
Photo Credit: Wishwas Srivastav