When couples in movies make the decision to move in together, it’s romantic-comedy bliss.
The woman cooks breakfast in her underwear, bathed in warm sunlight; they adopt a fluffy variety of oodle dog; the girl finds the guy’s left the toilet seat up and wags her finger disapprovingly, before they both collapse to the floor in a fit of hysterics.
While this harmonious picture of co-habitation is uplifting as hell, it’s anything but realistic.
Those ‘montage moments’ – cooking nude in the morning sun, for example – do happen, of course. But instead of occurring in a positive stream of continuous love and good vibes, they’re interspersed with petty arguments, and fights about whose turn it is to pick up the calcifying lumps of canine excrement scattered throughout the backyard.
That’s on a day-to-day basis; no one likes chores, and the more physical labour we can coerce our partner into doing on our behalf, the better. Usually, one party ends up calling out the other for being lazy, a shouting match ensues, someone apologises, and the workload is distributed more equally in future. Problem solved.
Or is it? Because we tend to walk away from every argument with our partner thinking we are ‘the golden child’; that we placated them into thinking they were in the right when really, they’re a foolish, bumbling ball of intolerable.
We think we’re adorable; the innocent party. In reality, we’re contributing just as substantially to any relationship difficulties as our partner is.
The article's proposition is that when it comes to relationships - especially moving in with a partner - we are, in one way or another, insufferable. It states, "There are few people more deeply insufferable than those who don’t, at regular intervals, suspect they might be so."
It goes on, "When we’re on our own, we just don’t notice how annoying we might well be in the eyes of others. Perhaps we were in a sulk for the whole of a Sunday, but no-one was there to be driven crazy by our self-pity and our passive fury. We may have tendencies to use our work as an escape from intimacy, but so long as we are not permanently with someone, we can pass off our eccentric hours without comment. Our peculiar eating habits won’t be real until there is another person across the table to register our challenging chewing sounds and ingredient combinations."