Living With Your SO: The Real Deal
Living with your significant other (SO) is bound to be trying at times, especially as a young adult, when everything else may be especially unsure and money often tight. The issues can range anywhere from who was supposed to take out the trash, to arguments about family members, and the relationship itself. While I could spend a lifetime coming up with a list of relationship problems that are bound to arise when you live with your partner, nearly every relationship problem can be boiled down to one (or both) of two things: pride, and communication issues.
Take, for example, a personal story of mine. I've been living with my significant other for about five months now, and one of things that really upsets me is when he has a day off in the middle of the week, and I come home and no chores have been done. This is an example of a lack of good communication because I never told him that I wanted him to do anything, I just assumed that he would. Now, had I asked him to clean up the kitchen and he hadn't, then that would be different, and that might lead to an actual argument, in which case pride would be getting in the mix.
That might not be the best example but it gets the basics across. When you live with a person you're romantically involved with, emotions are running high in every aspect, which means conflicts are a bit more intense. The key to a strong relationship, and overcoming issues that aren't avoidable, and avoiding issues that are, is good communication. Take time every day to listen to your partner, to know what's going on in his or her life, and make it a weekly thing to discuss concerns with each other. Be direct: ask for what you want.
One of the most helpful things I was ever told about relationships is this: When there's conflict in a relationship, it usually stems from one (or both) of the parties not getting something they need from their partner. Sit yourself down and ask yourself, "Why was I mad about that? What actually bothered me?" You may be surprised to find that you weren't mad that he was going out with a friend, you were upset because he didn't tell you or ask you first, and his doing that made you feel like he didn't care about you enough to discuss his plans in advance. The issue isn't him going out with friends, it's a lack of communication between the two of you, which may be tapping into your insecurity.
When you take a relationship to the next level and move in with your significant other, you know it's going to come with challenges. And there's no way to know what they'll be. Just remember that life is no longer yours and mine. It's ours. This means talking about what you both want, and finding the happy middle ground together.
Ask yourself today: what do I want from this relationship? Ask your partner the same thing and communicate your respective needs. Once you start asking for what you need, instead of resenting your inability to fulfill the need, your relationship will become more fulfilling, and you'll learn to recognize the common little bumps for what they are: a chance to grow, individually and together.