Couples who decide to move in together often have optimistic expectations of how their life with each other is going to be like under the same roof. But as time passes, they may start to realize that living together is not always sunshine and rainbows as it may initially appear to be. There are a lot of challenges that they will have to face, from misplaced toilet seats to unfair chore assignments, but these are all learning experiences that contribute to the greater good of the relationship. Here are the surprising realities about living together, according to real couples from around the world:
#1 Neat Freak
I thought that if I ever moved in with a girl, I'd have to be way less of a slob. Turns out, I'm the neat freak in this relationship. We’ve had fights over whether or not a Swiffer is as good as a vacuum (it’s not). She refused to buy one, so I bit the bullet and got one on Prime Day and our place is 100% cleaner.
#2 Close To You
That your partner may follow you around the house, just because. I spend three days a week away from home and evenings are my alone time when the missus goes to bed. So, during the day, I normally follow her around the house as that's our time together. I think it's sweet and she finds it endearing. Nothing wrong with wanting to be close to the person you love.
#3 Bittersweet Habits
How often I'd be helping her find her car keys. Eventually, I put up a hook that I was able to get her in the habit of using. It made me tear up a little at the time, but a couple of weeks after we split I remember getting a text from her that said: "I miss being able to find my keys." It was pretty heartbreaking at the time. I was having a hard time dealing with the breakup. I'm sure she was trying to just be cute and funny, but it honestly didn't help at the time.
#4 Bad Hair Days
The hair, man. It gets everywhere. The sink. And the freaking vacuum cleaner. I can rebuild a vacuum cleaner now. This was a skill I never needed until I moved in (platonically) with two girls who had waist-length hair. A week later, my vacuum died, and I found what appeared to be a small animal choking the roller brush to death.
Everything has a decorative pillow on it. They are too small to be used for anything, and I'm not allowed to throw them on the floor or pile them all on one chair. The bed has a bunch and a long tube thing. I'm not allowed to whack her with the tube thing. Where did these come from? Why do we need them? If they're just in the way, can we put them in storage? No? Okay, babe—whatever you want.
His ability to be doing nothing. He can lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling and do nothing and think nothing. and he enjoys it. I would pull a muscle or pop something from the strain if I tried to do that. In my mind, he talks to himself like this: "Sorry, I was in the middle of a heated argument with myself. I was trying to determine if using slices of french toast still count as grilled cheese or a melt."
#7 Alone Time
For me, it's how subtle the need for alone time crept up on me. I wasn't unhappy in the slightest and moving in was natural. But over time, I felt myself becoming irritable and it turned out that I tend to get that way when I don't have time to myself, I went from being alone in my room after work in my parent's house to be around my significant other pretty much every minute I'm not at work or driving, so I found myself with someone almost 24/7, and it took a toll. Thankfully, once I recognized that it was easier to manage.
#8 Real-Life Tetris Master
I was living with my parents since I traveled for work and only made it home one or two weekends a month. She moved in with me at my parent's house. We had one room to store stuff; my bedroom. We bought things we'd need when we moved out. I realized she was good when we had to make four trips to get all our stuff out. Four trips. this girl had boxes inside boxes inside boxes. she utilized every inch available in our room to stack items.
#9 The "Clean Clothes" Hamper
After living with him for four years, I opened a drawer of "his" dresser... And it was empty. All of it. Apparently, he thought it was my extra dresser. He doesn't use a dresser. Clothes get washed and put into a "clean clothes" hamper. He puts socks and underwear in his bedside table. Now I'm wondering what other furniture in our house is empty??
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#10 Filth Thresholds
For each person in the relationship, there's a level of filth they can tolerate, and then a higher level of filth that forces them to clean the place. Those two limits create a window. If there's insufficient overlap in the couple's windows it's a problem: One person does all the cleaning and the other one doesn't give a heck.
#11 Lots Of Toilet Paper
I always knew women went through toilet paper faster than men, but I never knew how much faster they did. It got to the point, I'd just grab a pack of toilet paper whenever I went to the store for any reason. We may not be out at home, but we will be soon I reckoned, and I was never wrong about that. Always stock up on toilet paper.
#12 Hair Violations
My wife has really long beautiful hair. I was not prepared to find that all in my nether regions as often as I do. I could never be prepared to have one stuck there and have to pull it out like some mangy dog. I've never felt more violated or unclean than when I FELT those hairs. Somehow, I swallowed a few and passing them is a really disgusting feeling. She has told me that hasn't happened to her too which makes it weirder.
#13 A Man's Sanctuary
It blows my mind that my significant other can spend 45 minutes on the toilet. And for only like 15 minutes, he's actually using the toilet for its intended purpose. The rest of the time he's on his phone. Sometimes I'll even forget he's home with how long he's been up there, and then I get a spook when I suddenly hear the toilet flush.
#14 The Bravo Problem
She works from home, but the television never leaves Bravo. I leave for work, Bravo. Come home, Bravo. Go on the elliptical, Bravo. 24 freaking hours of these catty women (and sometimes men) yelling at each other. Bravo always being on is like the only thing we fight about, which is probably a good thing, but man, always with the Bravo.
Even when I entertain her and say, "What show is this?"
"Oh, Southern Charm. I don't really watch that show."
Well, guess what, I've seen 50 episodes of Southern Charm passively when I come home and I know you've done 20 times that. I freaking hate Bravo, I'm getting a divorce.
#15 The Concept Of Personal Time
Any tips on introducing the concept of personal time? I've been living with my girlfriend for a couple of months now, but whenever I bring up going to the gym or if I just try and spend time to do some research on something she gets a little hurt that I’m not giving 100% attention to her every moment we are together. We don’t even need it every day, just a couple of times a week to get my head together would be awesome.
#16 Hot And Cold
Men are incredibly warm and sweaty while asleep, and will be sticky if they hug you as you sleep together. The reverse I've noticed is that girls seem to be quite cold. My last girlfriend used to snuggle up to me every night saying I was like a giant hot water bottle and I'd be like BRRRR because she was like a human icicle.
#17 When It's Good, It's Really Good
I remember moving into my first share house and there was a couple living there. One day we were all in the kitchen and she spilled some rice. I had never been in a relationship yet and my immediate reaction was oh man, here comes the anger, yelling and heated arguing. Instead, they laughed and cleaned up together. It was eye-opening to see that normal people don't explode into an argument over little things.
#18 Low Key Hoarding
Bobby pins everywhere. Hair everywhere. She was not a clean person. I did the cleaning. But one thing that hasn’t been mentioned is just the sheer amount of accessories that she had! Tons of makeup and beauty products. Her vanity is full of it. Plus more. Lots of clothes. Tons of clothes she didn’t wear. It's not hoarding, but it reminds me of it.
#19 Pillows On Pillows
I had exactly two pillows in my entire house before my wife moved in. She has four just on her side of the bed. There are pillows on the couch. Every chair has a pillow. We have a closet where the top shelf is more pillows. So many freaking pillows. I guess I shouldn't complain, though—she doesn't care if I use them to lie down on, so most furniture in the house is extra comfortable.
#20 The Clean Conversation
The first thing every couple should do when they move in together is discuss what "clean" means to them. If you don't, you'll eventually have an exasperated fight where one partner feels like the other is not pulling their weight. How to clean is important, too. Making the mess disappear into a drawer isn't everybody's idea of cleaning, for example.
#21 The Slob Lifestyle
My first roommate was a girl. She was the slobbiest person I've ever met. She had been a coworker for ages and was always neat at work. It was stunning. Her bedroom was just piles of clothes. The living room was clothes and jackets everywhere. Half drank cups of water, you name it. I loved living with her. It was a very comfy mess. My wife is quite a bit more of a neat freak and has a cute little temper. Sometimes I want to live like Charlie and Frank. I had that for a year.
#22 Breaking Stereotypes
I always thought of women as tidy and organized. That was until I moved in with one. I swear I spend 20 minutes a day helping my significant other tidy up the mess she creates in the first hour every morning. Then another 10 minutes every day searching for brushes, hairbands, make-up, clothes, etc. I never in a million years thought anyone could be slobbier than me. I still love her though.
#23 Masterchef Skills
What an absolute master chef he is! I thought I was a great cook until we moved in together and he started making meals. He absolutely blew my freaking mind! Now I think back to when we first started dating and he would eat my cooking and say it was the best he'd ever had, the little liar. It just brings a smile to my face!
#24 Talking To Myself
How much I actually talk to myself. I never had any roommates, aside from one for like the first two weeks in college before I got moved to a single room, so I was used to just talking to myself out loud like nothing. After we moved in together and she kept asking, "Who are you talking to?" and "Did you say something?" I realized that I actually talk to myself quite a bit.
#25 Spaghetti Methods
She used to lay nearly flat on the couch, feet on the coffee table. With a plate of spaghetti on her chest. She'd drag the spaghetti to her face with the fork. I'd walk in, and she'd look away from her episode of Samurai Jack and tell me she made a pot of spaghetti. The first time I saw that I completely lost it, laughing. The third time, I did it too.
#26 Messy Living
How messy women can be. I mean, there's hair EVERYWHERE. The sink looks like a disaster area after she cleans her face at night. Every time she gets water, she gets a NEW cup and leaves the old one out (not in the sink with other dishes). Her shower has like 27 old bottles of shampoo with a "dad amount" left in each. There are ponytail holders all over the house. I think the cat passed one out this morning. But she makes the bed every morning, so I guess it's all right.
#27 Too Much Time
Everything went extremely smooth with my girlfriend and I. I attest that to having almost equal levels of cleanliness standards. I see a lot of people commenting on that and I feel very blessed that hasn't been an issue in my life. I don't know how I got so lucky with that. But what surprises me and what I fail to understand is the vast amount of time she spends getting ready. I try to understand, but I just don't. She looks beautiful all of the time but spends an hour and a half to two hours before going out making herself look nice. She looks incredible when she's all done up of course! But the whole process stresses her out and she has quoted it as a reason why she doesn't want to go out sometimes.
#28 Creepy Crawlies
He doesn't take the initiative to kill the creepy crawlies that waywardly stray into our apartment. If he sees a house centipede he looks at it, then promptly turns tail and walks away. He won't even tell me the dang thing is there. I'm a girl who grew up having to call dad to kill spiders and bugs, so it's weird that I now have to be the one to viciously murder every insect who comes inside.
#29 The Best Helper
Having a HELPER... I'm always fixing or building something and as it turns out my girlfriend is always ready to be a great helper! She's like the kid I don't have. Pass me this, hold this, did you learn anything, think you could do that yourself in the future? It's more fun to share a project and teach than it is to accomplish by myself anyway. I think it's good for both of us. But seeing tiny black rubber bands showing up all over the floor is a downside... I think she uses them for her hair.
#30 The Importance Of Space
My girlfriend has a hard time being alone. When we’re home, basically every waking minute she wants to be together. I love her with all my heart, but sometimes I just want to be alone doing my own thing for an hour or two... Watching sports, playing guitar, gaming, etc. But when I leave for another room I can hear the disappointment in her voice. I’m working on getting her to understand my need for occasional alone time.
#31 Just Too Dusty
Going from having two pillows on the bed to like 15 or 20. Seriously, it takes like five minutes just to throw all the decorative pillows out of the way before climbing into bed. Going from a bottle of shampoo and a bar of soap in the shower to bottles upon bottles of cream rinses and conditioners... Even a big old Luftwaffe sponge hanging in the shower. And forget about ever seeing the top of the bathroom vanity again. And then the knick-knacks... Spread all over the place... Useless stuff that seemingly serves no other purpose than to give you more things to have to dust.
#32 Q-Tip Connoisseur
My ex used a planet worth of Q-tips. Like seriously, I would clean the bathroom and the next day, six of them are sitting out, used. GOD FORBID I forget about them because the next day, 15 are sitting out. I'm pretty sure she is living happily somewhere with her lovely boyfriend single-handedly killing the planet with her ear gunk on those little wooly little things. She needs reusable ones for any chance of our survival.
#35 All Too Empty
We haven’t moved in together, and my boyfriend has his own place. It’s sterile: it only has the furniture he needs and nothing else. I bought him a little plant, but it gets lost in the vast emptiness. In contrast, my house is full of soft things and it just feels more like a home than a long-term hotel. Moving in together would be interesting if he wasn’t so wonderfully nice.
#36 No Rhyme Or Reason
I grew up with a brother so I was pretty well prepared for living with a dude, but what surprised me the most was that my boyfriend has no issue leaving things lying around where they do not belong. Dirty plate, for example, is left on the couch. The mail he just opened ended up on top of the microwave. The towel he dried off with could end up on the kitchen table. Literally no rhyme or reason to the madness.
#37 Totally Indifferent
How little opinions he had on anything. I'd ask what he wants for supper and he'd say, "I don't care." I asked what he wants to do tonight and he said, "I don't know." Last week, I asked what he thought about getting my nose pierced and he said, "I don't give a heck what you do." Sometimes it'd be nice to not have to decide or come up with suggestions all the time.
#38 Uncovering Pet Peeves
The pet peeves you never knew were there. For example, he doesn't like it when I leave eggshells in the sink without pushing it into the garbage disposable. I don't like when he keeps getting new glasses of water because he misplaced his glass from an hour ago. They're little things, but I was so surprised how passionate I was about glassware.
#39 Control Vs. Anarchy
Dogs... All my dogs are extremely well trained. I expect all dogs to have been taught basic commands. My husband is the opposite... he doesn't mind unruly dogs, and he loves it when the dogs bum rush him at the door and jump up into his arms. We have big dogs. It has taken over 10 years for us to find a balance between control and anarchy in regards to our pets.
#40 The Bobby Pin Infestation
I have never observed my wife put a bobby pin in her hair. I have found thousands of bobby pins in our house. She bought a 100 pack of them a few months ago and she's probably down to 75 or so at this point. It's one of those things that she absolutely NEEDS to have sometimes, but somehow they are always disappearing at the worst time, never to be seen again. Where do they go?
#41 The Little Things
That I can't just lay down and go to sleep when it's time. There absolutely must be 20 minutes' worth of light and noises from the master bathroom while the wife "preps" for bed (taking makeup off, fixing hair, brushing teeth, etc.). Oh, and when she does crawl into bed, turns the lights out, and says "I love you," I have to be awake enough to say it back. Honestly, I may joke about it, but in the long run, when one of us passes on before the other, those will be things we miss and absolutely cherish.
#42 Bathroom Space
As a guy, I have a comb, a razor, and a toothbrush. When I first moved in with a woman, I was amazed by just how much bathroom space they take up. There may be more than a hundred items in there. In addition, why do women like to hang wet panties, bras, etc. in the bathroom but not outside on the line? It just doesn't make any sense.
#43 No Need To Wipe
This is probably the dumbest answer, but I remember moving in with my boyfriend (now husband) a couple of months after graduating high school and saying, "Sorry, we're out of toilet paper" before he entered, and he said he just had to go #1. I was like "What?" I had literally never considered that men don't wipe when they go #1. Still a little weird to me.
#44 Follow The Toots
The biggest surprise: realizing how gassy my then-girlfriend (now wife) actually was when we first moved in. One benefit was that I always knew where in the house she was, just had to follow the toots.
#45 "If It Won't Kill Me, It's Fine"
I know a guy like this. He doesn't care what he wears, or eats, or where he works or lives. Or if he'll ever get a girlfriend. Basically everything is "if it won't kill me, it's fine." Some guys are used to being told what to do for forever so they get really passive and just never learn to figure out what they want. I've learned this applies in particular to people with over-supportive or helicopter parents.
#46 Closing In
That eventually they stop listening to you and you possibly stop listening to them. You get comfortable, too comfortable and forget that this person, your person, needs you to not be checked out even if they are just spouting random internet stories. That is what surprises me. You think when you live together you become closer... it doesn't.
#47 Clothes Sharing
Well, this is obviously for straight people but I’ll answer anyway. Being part of a same-sex couple of similar size means your wardrobes kinda morph into one. “Are you wearing my boxers?!” “Yeah but you’re wearing my favorite jeans right now so...” I guess this can also happen in straight relationships as well.
#48 On Cleanliness
Our opinions of what needs to be clean and what doesn't need to be as clean are very different. I like the things I eat off of to be spotless while she doesn't care if the dishes have food still stuck to them. She lived in NYC for a little bit, so it's assumed that anything that's been out of the house is filthy, eleven if my backpack was just exposed to falling snow.
#49 Missing You
How much I miss his presence whenever I sleep somewhere else (mom's house, friends road trip, etc.). He's my first boyfriend and we just moved at the beginning of the month but yet, tonight I know I'm not going to see him and I get all sad. I was chill with it when we were just visiting each other each couple of days a week before, but now it's just too good to sleep together all the time.
#50 The Sink Chewbacca
I once pulled Chewbacca out of the bathroom sink. Actually, it's a bi-weekly ritual at my house. And it's always my wife and daughters telling me that the drains are clogged and I need to do something about it. Oh look, none of my short hairs seem to be a part of these clogs. Why is it that I'm the one cleaning the drains?