Our entire relationship has been living together...

Rounding out the "Shacking Up" series of posts is a story of love from one of my favorite people and best friends. Back in like 2009 I remember looking at Jarrett and his girlfriend Jillian and absolutely adoring their relationship. They were annoyingly cute and just fit together. During that time I was going through a breakup and I credit their relationship with giving me hope that two people could come together and be a great fit. Fast forward to 2014 and they're still going strong!

Why do I live with my partner?

My partner has become my strength in everyday life, she's the one constant I have, she's been there through out quite possibly the most challenging moments in my life and helped every step of the way. There is something to be said about an individual that puts your needs above their own and I aspire to be the same to her. It's that aspect of the relationship that makes living and loving together worth the experience.

What advantages did it provide?

We dated for maybe more than a month before cohabiting. Which is both odd and discouraged from most couples. Financially the benefits are obvious, splitting bills and chores help leave time to discover other aspects of life that would otherwise be more difficult to accomplish going at life on your singularly.

What challenges does it create?

For all the benefits, cohabiting introduces a whole list of opposite effects that I never thought of. Going out becomes going out for two no matter what usually. Movie tickets, dinners, technology costs have all essentially doubled. Though that can be an "I treat, you treat" sort of affair,  everything feels more expensive for each other to enjoy spending time with each other.

What do I look back on and wish that I could change?

As with any couple I feel I've lost a bit of my individuality. I no longer think of nights out unhinged or random excursions with friends. I feel that all of my decisions have to be run through the committee of "us" and "we". Personal time became an asset that once I get I try to hold on to with an iron fist for as long as possible and increasingly become annoyed when it's intruded upon. I don't get that much! The simple things become a game of where can I fit that in so I don't have to ask permission. In the beginning it was more of a chore but through out the years I've let go of that mindset.

How long have we been living together?

Our entire relationship has been living together. So just shy of 6 years. That may be why it's worked out. Developing the relationship while living together meant not having to alter lifestyles of being together while living separately, I expect that's why arranged marriages also work out lol. You don't get to know the person any way other than living with them.

Do I feel as though living together is helping us accomplish something?

Our relationship I feel is solid. I hear other couples argue and fight and we really do none of that. In the beginning there were challenges and I've hurt her emotionally by attempting to hold on to aspects of my single life. I've learned that she's the most important aspect of my life and there isn't much that can shake that or cause me to want to stray. If I were to say anything was accomplished, at least from my perspective I would have to say that it's allowed me to grow the fuck up. Early on a friend told me the key to a successful relationship is to always look at the memories, instead of weighing pros and cons. If the good memories out weigh the bad memories then when you're going through a rough time you always have a way to come back from it. Oppositely, if you can only remember pain then it's not the right relationship for you. So always take and opportunity to do something memorable.

Why not marry?

I'm always asked when I plan on popping the question and my answer is always the same.... WHY? Why is this a goal, why is that something we HAVE to do. I know we probably will get married but it'll be at a time when we're not struggling to pay for it or taking away from building our actual life that's important. If we're to be together I don't feel that there's a rush.

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