How To Avoid Getting Totally Annoyed with Your Live-In Boyfriend

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I was at a dinner the other evening. It was a gathering of friends and new introductions, and after a couple glasses of sauvignon blanc, we all got to talking about our one universal language: relationships. (Full disclosure: my one friend may have tipped everyone off to the fact that I’m a relationship coach. In any given situation, things tend to escalate from there.) The gripe du jour: Living with your significant other—it’s not all rainbows and mind-blowing morning sex. In fact, as I gathered from my fellow meal mates, it can sometimes be damn irritating.

“That’s the one thing I wish they had told me before I moved in,” said one of the hosts. She was talking about the fact that it took her a good three months to get used to living with her beau of two years (they’ve now been living together for two more years). It was so tough she even had second thoughts about making the move.

Did any of you experience this when first shacking up with your boo?

My friend to my right seconded our host’s emotions. She recounted a recent conversation with her live-in boyfriend: “Did you notice we were out of toilet paper? Him: Yes. Me, staring at him coming home withOUT a Walgreens bag: Okayyyy… So did you THINK the toilet paper was going to go to the store and buy itself???”

Ugh. Real life, right?

I can’t imagine what this feels like. My man likes to both clean and cook. In fact, I’m pretty sure his anal retentiveness prefers that I not even try. (Yes, you can hate me. Hate me all you want. He’s glorious.)

But aside from living with a well-groomed guy who likes to sweep, there are a few ways you can curtail your partner’s perceived inattentiveness.

Play to his strengths

Is he a morning person? Can you two work domestic stuff into his powered-up AM? Perhaps make a game out of it. Figure out ways for him to check off his to-do’s that mimic his latest Call Of Duty mission accomplished. And seriously acknowledge how amazing his is for completing said tasks.

Accept him for who he is

Yes, you learn more about a person when you move in with them, things you may never have learned while living apart. But the relationships shouldn’t do a 180. If he was a bro before you shared a bedroom, he’ll be a bro in the shared bathroom, a la leaving the toilet seat up. Appreciate what he does do and focus on cultivating that.

Be honest

If your dude loves you and cares about you, he wants to be his best self for you. If you casually let him know why a certain habit bothers you, and how it makes you feel, he should be motivated to change it—or at least to consider it and start trying. And if he doesn’t, well, the toilet seat being left up may be the least of your problems.