July 1, 2009

Living Alone. Together?

Last weekend my boyfriend moved into his stunning, brand-new, 8th-floor downtown apartment with talking elevators (not kidding). Now we're both living roommate-free and we're closer than ever (7 minutes away!). We could not be more excited.

Yet some people assume that because we didn't move in together that something is missing in our relationship. I realize in this day of "we made it to a year" that dating someone for 5+ years without living together seems like a waste of time (and money). However, I've seen many move in with a significant other they intended to marry only to see them move back out confused and hurt. I'm not eager to go through that, and I'm not naive enough to think that moving in with my boyfriend, though I love him more than I know how to express, automatically means it'll last. In fact, I'm more inclined to think that moving in together is the first step to breaking up. Moving in with another person is such a huge deal but society is lumping it and having a baby into the "it'll work itself out" category.

I'm sitting at home, with only the company of my cat (who does not even want to be touched), as I type. This is my time to think clearly, to write without the distraction of another person or the TV, or to just enjoy the silence and take in the beautiful surroundings of my apartment. I cherish my alone time and my space, a concept that has baffled former roommates and some family members. If I moved in with my boyfriend I would lose that. As theoretically wonderful as it would be to fall asleep and wake up in his arms every day, it's not something I want to take for granted.

It seems everyone moves in with their SO after a year or two (the reason my boyfriend moved is because his former roommate moved in with his girlfriend). My way of understanding the deep love many attribute to "love at first sight" (gag) is to experience it slowly and methodically, enjoying every day of falling in love over and over again. The first couple of months of our relationship felt like an elevated friendship; 5+ years later that friendship is a damn good foundation. Around our 4 month mark my boyfriend took me out for dessert in a stylish restaurant. We had the lounge area all to ourselves and after dessert he took my hands in his and pulled me up to dance. It was probably the most romantic gesture ever and as he held me I started falling for him. I waited a long time to say those three little words- I waited until that feeling wasn't around just when he was being sweet, or just when he was with me, or just when I was talking to him. No, I waited until that feeling was always there, until I knew that no matter how he replied I had spoken my heart. (It turned out he had been planning a rather romantic way to tell me that same night!) We're fans of taking it slow and making it count.

Everyone has a different pace; my pace just happens to be opposite of the fairy tale I feel expected to have. I wish people would start recognizing that- it's sad that I get excited every time someone is happy I don't live with my boyfriend... It's as if we're not taken seriously because we live apart, as if all we have to do is move in together for the world to see us as a real couple. Even my parents believe that as long as we're not telling everyone we're getting married or living together we're not committed to each other. World, please stop projecting your opinions on my life. It's getting old.

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