Today’s letter is C, and the word is cohabitation. The following is an article inspired by the lovely ladies of the SST chat room, during a discussion about relationships. We tried really hard not to man-bash. And this is much better than the lame post I started earlier about courage and writing, I promise. Thanks to Lieserl for her suggestion!
So you want to move in with a woman? Congratulations; you’ve managed to fool someone into actually wanting to see you in the morning! Every day! You either look pretty good, she’s hypnotized, or you’ve mastered the art of sneaking into the bathroom first!
Let’s hope you’re not doing this because you’re after her bank account, you need a place to hide from the feds or you’re a lazy bastard who wants someone to take care of him. And it’s probably not a good idea to move in with someone you’ve only known for three weeks.
If you’re going to move in with a woman, you need to learn some rules first.
- PUT THE DAMN SEAT DOWN. Every time. Get used to it because she will NOT like you if she keeps falling in.
- She is not your maid; she is your girlfriend. If you want a maid, hire one. Women are not here to wait on your stupid ass. Pick up your mess! Help out around the house. Do the dishes, take out the trash (a traditional manly chore), do the laundry, make dinner once in a while. Even better, if you want to get some, do it without being asked. Women love that.
- More people break up over money than anything else. You need to sit down and agree about the division of bills, rent and groceries. Be responsible. You spend all the food money on the latest PS3 game and you’re eating the cat’s dinner. I wouldn’t blame her one bit.
- If you’re dating a woman long-term and you’re living together, don’t act like it means nothing to you just to show how manly you are. The first time you forget to introduce her to someone or call her “the old ball and chain,” she is going to be pissed. I mean royally. This is the person you have chosen to spend most of your time with, so be considerate.
- Running late? Let her know so she can adjust her own plans. You know how she always texts you to tell you where she’s going so you can find her if you need to? Do the same thing. Unless she’s a jealous bitch, in which case I don’t know why you’re bothering, she wants to know because she cares whether you’re stuck in traffic or dead in a ditch. If you’re dead, then she gets the PS3.
- It’s fine for you to have a night out with your boys, but don’t abuse the privilege. She moved in (or let you move in with her) because she wants to spend time with you, not sit in front of the TV alone, stare at her watch and wonder for the fifth weekend in a row why she thought this was a good idea.
- Couples who are together for a long while sometimes get bored or boring in the bedroom. Mix it up a bit. Try to think of new activities. Women take longer to become fully aroused than men, so take your time. The more she thinks you are focused on her, the happier she’ll be and the more chances you’ll get. It’ll be better for you too. Trust me.
- Remember your girl has feelings, and they will run the gamut. Now that you’re living together, she’ll feel free to let them go and you may see things you never saw before. What happens when something breaks. How tired she really is after work, with no time to get it together before you show up. The first time you witness her full-blown PMS. A great boyfriend will take it in stride and nurture her when she needs it. If she cries over a movie, please refrain from saying “F***’s wrong with you?”
- Breaking up is harder when you’re living together, because one or both of you will have to move. This may happen to you. No state I know has community property laws governing domestic living arrangements that don’t include marriage, so be cool about shared stuff. You’ll have to work it out without the benefit of the courts.
You were decent to her when you got together or she wouldn’t be with you, so be decent if you break up. She’ll remember that. Word gets around and unless you cheated or did something equally heinous, your gentlemanly behavior will follow you.
People in a healthy, positive relationship bring out the best in each other. You’re an adult in an adult relationship, so act like one.