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Living La Viva Couple

As I was chilling in my bed one evening, I felt a sensation that’s all too familiar to us members of the male species – the taint itch.  Before I had a chance to think it over, instinct took the reins to my hand and guided it directly to the scene of the crime.

The whole root and scratch process couldn’t have taken more than 2 seconds, but in that span of time the look on my girlfriend’s face went from sweet docility to sheer horror.  “Omg!! What are you doing?”  I won’t lie to you, folks…for a moment I kinda forgot that I wasn’t alone in my room.  There was no sense in even trying to cover up what I’d just done, so I admitted guilt to the heinous crime of manually relieving the discomfort between the wind and the rain by which I was so suddenly struck.

“You know, that’s one thing I have learned from you since moving in…what a taint is” my lovely lady said.  There was a time when I would never fart, scratch, or fire off the odd snot rocket in front of her for fear that the sheer grossness inherent in the base nature of my masculinity would disgust her to the point that not only would she decide not to be with me, but give up on men altogether, become a lesbian…and not let me watch.  So since I sort of like my green eyed beauty just a little bit, I spent the first three years of our relationship going out of my way to hide the barnacle encrusted underbelly of my manliness from her delicate sensibilities.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she always had her suspicions that I was scratching my body’s most nefarious crevasses and gleefully releasing the gaseous hounds with great aplomb in her absence, but for the sake of civility (to say nothing of my desire to see her naked) I did my best to keep up the charade.  Then…she moved in.

After my divorce a few years ago, I moved into the apartment which I currently occupy, and though making the transition from husband to newly minted bachelor was a little rocky at first, it took only a few months to settle into the comfort of being the boss of my own little microcosm.  I was, for the first time in years, fully in control of my environment and way of life, and I would be lying like a politician on the campaign trail if I said I didn’t like it.  Hell…not only did I like it, I loved it!  Feel like cooking a bacon sandwich at two in the morning?  Yep.  Beer for breakfast?  Green light! Internet porn without deleting the brower’s history afterward?  Torpedos away, but just aim away from the curtains! Play videogames till all hours of the night?  Grab that controller, man!  Bringing home different lady friends all the time with absolutely no worries?  To quote one of the wisest fictional men in history…giggity.”  To a formerly married man, my newly discovered freedom was intoxicating, and it was a hellacious amount of fun…for a while, anyway.  Sooner or later, though, the novelty of it wore off and I began to feel that as much fun as it was for a time to do basically whatever I wanted, I missed the comfort of coming home to someone who loved me.  Yeah yeah…roll your eyes all you want, but the price of single life’s freedom is loneliness.  Jean Paul Sartre said that hell is other people.  I would counter that hell is not having someone to talk to about other people.  There are only so many nights a man can lay awake without having someone with whom he can share the details of the day’s affairs before he starts to go a little crazy.  After dating around and exploring different potential domestic candidates…okay…after two years of total man whoring…I met and fell in love with my girlfriend, and following the two and a half years it took for her to fall equally in love with me, I decided it was time to propose.  Cohabitation, that is.

At first she was reluctant, and there was a part of me that was not completely sold on the value of sacrificing my personal freedom for the comforts of a domestic partnership, but in the end my love for her won out, and hers for me coupled with her desire to live in an area with a greater abundance of employment opportunities finally served as strong enough impetus to spur her decision to commit to the idea as well.  Despite the protests of our parents about it being improper for a man and woman to “shack up,” we made the leap.

Our parents are devoutly religious folks, and they have hammered us with the statistics about how couples who live together prior to marriage have a higher divorce rate than those who do not.  I think those people must be doing it incorrectly, because it seems to me that you never really know somebody till you live with them.  It’d be like buying a car without taking it for a test drive.  A couple should find out if they are domestically compatible before making the leap into something more.  It’s easy to be polite and considerate when you know the other person will be going to their own living space by night’s end, but the only couples who stand a chance of working out in the long run are those who can share every aspect of life on a daily basis without giving into the occasional homicidal impulses.  But I digress…it didn’t take long for us to realize how silly it was for both of us to keep pretending our bodies didn’t have…umm…natural biological functions.  Actually, it didn’t take long for us to let a lot of our less desirable traits to rear their ugly heads, and truth be told, I am glad for it.  If you’re going to make a relationship last, you have to be willing to forgive a lot, and you have to say “Hey, I have seen the worst side of you, and you know what?  I love you anyway, and that’s why we are going to make this work.”

When a man and woman move in together, it is not an easy transition for either, and especially so if they happen to be in a relationship with each other.  They both must give up a measure of their autonomy and freedom in the process of building something better together.  I could list the usual gripes men and women have with each other, i.e. he hates her nagging about this that or the other, and she hates that he won’t do this or that, but that would belabor the point.  When you commit to living with a member of the opposite sex, you commit to more than simply sharing bills and having the keys to the same locks.  Men, if she agrees to live with you, it’s because she loves you, and she needs to feel like you are going to give her the support and attention from you that she craves.  A lot of the bitching and nagging women do, believe it or not, is only done because she doesn’t feel like you are hearing her and considering her feelings.  Women are emotional creatures, friends, and believe it or not a lot of their expectations are not unreasonable.

If she hates that you leave your clothes in the floor, pick them up.  If she hates that you spend too much time gaming on Xbox Live, then maybe you should put down the controller and spend an hour or two each evening giving her your undivided attention and listening to her.  If she was important enough to devote time to before you lived together, should it be different after?  Men, I’ve found that about 99% of all problems we have with the fairer sex can be eliminated by simply listening to them.  It’s important to do that regardless, but especially so if it’s for the woman you profess to love and with whom you’ve taken the step of building a new life.   For instance, if she mentions in conversation that she’s heard really good things about that new Chinese takeout place, it wouldn’t kill you to bring some home with you one night just to surprise her.

If you listen, a woman will reveal a lot about her desires, and if you grant one of them now and then…man…you stand a very good chance of her making you glad you did.  I am not saying you have to be her bitch. Establish your boundaries and make her aware of them. Let her know that your friends are important to you, that you have interests and hobbies you will continue to enjoy, and you will respect her need to do likewise.  Everybody needs a little corner of life that is just his or her own, but if you are going to live with your woman, then you owe it to her to give her what she needs from you, which is a partner who will listen and have her back.  You can still hang with your boys.  You can still do your thing.  What you cannot do, however, is trying to live as you did when you were flying solo.  Failing to compromise is not fair to either of you.

If you decide living with your girl is the right step for you, then you need to go into it understanding that your life has to change to accommodate her, just has hers does for you.  If you do not find her arms around you more fulfilling than sweaty nights of meaningless encounters with random women, if you would rather be alone every night than to come home to a woman who adores you, if you do not feel like you are willing to make sacrifices to be the friend and partner she needs you to be, then do not move in with her.  Remember, yours isn’t the only life that will be changing.  She too will be giving up a measure of her independence and way of life to make room for you, so you owe it to her to show her why being with you is worth her effort. Don’t kid yourself either, it does require a lot of effort to make living together work, but it can be a lot easier if you simply remember that almost all problems in relationships come from a distinct lack of communication, listening, and sacrifice.  That goes both ways.  From firsthand experience I can tell you that if you aren’t willing to love your girl and consider her feelings every bit as important valid as your own, your relationship will tank.  Period.  If you just take the initiative to make her feel heard and valued, you will be rewarded with love, loyalty, and adoration.  A lit bit of respect buys a man a whole lot of leniency.  Remember that.

You know, having my girl living with me has been great so far.  Yeah, sometimes she annoys the hell out of me with her womanly trappings, but I know I’m no peach with whom to share a domicile either, so we deal.  I mean, I know I am a lot better off than a lot of single guys.  I don’t have to go to clubs or bars and hope I might get some action, for starters.  I have a beautiful woman who genuinely loves me and knows what I like already, plus there is no danger of catching any bugs from her.  Oh, and there is that thing where it is making love and not simply…well…you know where I’m going with that.  Trust me, having done both, I can tell you that it is far more enjoyable to be genuinely intimate.  Okay, so maybe it is hard to find time to just be my gross manly self because unlike before, she is always there.   When I want to game or be left to my own devices, she is always there.  It does get frustrating sometimes because we don’t always understand why the other does things as they do, and alone time is kind of hard to come by.  But you know what?  I thank God she is always there because when I am sick, she is there to baby me.  If I am hungry, tired, or just bummed out, she is there for me, trying to make it better. If I just need to talk, she is there.  When I need a hug or emotional support, she is there.  By being there for her as well, we are building a life together that is so much better than the lives we had separately.  There is a lot to be said for having someone constantly with you who knows you better than anyone else, and loves you in spite of yourself.

by Chance White

Pete and Pedro

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