by KAT TATE
Living apart from your partner is like being a grandparent. You get to play with them, bake yummy treats for them and, when they start annoying you, send them home!
My man and I have been living apart since we started dating four years ago. We’re in no rush to shack up together. He’s happy doing his thing, and I enjoy my alone time.
Which may or may not involve scoffing mint slices, slathering my hair in a deep conditioning treatment and watching Jersey Shore.
When we meet up, we have oodles of juicy things talk about, which doesn’t include whose turn it is to buy toilet paper.
If I’m feeling cramped in my flat, I take a quick trip to my man’s pad for a change of scenery. When he comes over, I make him sleep in flowery sheets. Next to a girly, glittery ornament that spells ‘love’. He doesn’t seem to mind. Even when I tell him that in my place, the blue pillows go on top of the white ones “AND NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!”
I get that many people see sharing a home as an important step in a relationship. But I don’t think we’re any less committed by living apart. We love each other, enjoy spooning (well, for a few minutes anyway) and make time for each other.
We gasbag on the phone almost every night, sharing highlights from our day and planning our next catch-up. All the while I slather on fake tan, zap zits, preen and pluck. He probably pictures me lounging around in a luxurious robe and red lippy. He needn’t know!
It really is the best of both worlds. Ooey-gooey canoodling when you need it, solitude when you crave it, and hours of trashy TV without complaint. Though I’ll admit, lugging a load of spare clothes and makeup back and forth can get a tad annoying.
We may not spend endless hours together, or get to announce ‘Honey, I’m ho-ome!’ when we walk in the door each night. But the time we do spend together is sacred. We make the most of it. It’s how we spend our time together that matters. Not how much.
Though not everyone ‘gets’ our living arrangement. Often, when telling people that I don’t live with my boyfriend, I’m met with a puzzled, ‘Oh.’ Followed by a pause. And an awkward observation about the weather. Colleagues constantly ask, ‘You’ve been together for four years, right?’
I nod, waiting for the inevitable follow-up question: ‘So, when are you moving in together?’ It seems that as soon as you switch your Facebook status to ‘in a relationship’, it’s the done thing to ditch your flatmates and head to Fantastic Furniture for a faux-timber furniture package.
I have nothing against couples who shack up on the eve of their six-month anniversary, or sooner. And I love seeing friends find love and settle down. It’s their relationship; their choice. Living across town from my partner is mine.
Someday soon, a sleepover with my man may turn into a longer term living arrangement. I look forward to us having a family together and talking about toilet paper (well, maybe not). But living apart suits us for now. And my Jersey Shore addiction.
Do you and your partner live together or apart? What do you like about it?
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