Moving in with the Producer has been an extreme and, at times, surprising learning curve for me. Through this blog, and outside of it, I’ve been asked a lot by single peeps how it’s all going, and how the logistics work, living with my kids and a partner. Some people are just really curious as they too are living on their own and wondering how that all works. Which is fair because prior to moving in with him, I had no clue either!
I wouldn’t want to pretend it’s been all bluebirds and rainbows because…well, it hasn’t been! Having said that, It hasn’t all been terrible either! There have been moments of ouch and moments of brilliance.
Being all loved up is one thing – and we still are – but actually living with another adult after time on your own is quite the experience. To be honest, it’s not always easy!
I had lived without a partner for just over 4 years. Before that it had been 17 years since I’d lived on my own. 4 years is not a huge amount of time in the big scheme of things but it’s amazing how used to your own ways you can become in that time, especially when that time was filled with finding yourself, taking ownership of your life and getting your shit together. I wasn’t answering to anyone. I was doing things when I felt like it, and to my own agenda.
The Producer had lived sans-partner for exactly the same length of time.
It’s very true that we are the sum total of our lived and learnt experiences, and never is this more obvious than when you begin to live with your lover in your 40’s.
You know what I mean here. Lounging on the couch, wearing your comfy undies, bra off, plucking your eyebrows or painting your toenails, or dying your hair, scratching your ass, or eating peanut butter toast for dinner because…well, because the kids weren’t home and I didn’t have to cook.
Or talking on the phone all night to a girlfriend, or watching re-runs of Sex in the City, or whatever you do.
Living at separate addresses, and juggling commitments and schedules meant we only saw each other once during the week, and on weekends usually for one night followed by breakfast the following day.
Living together of course means seeing each other every day, sharing meals and space with each other. Add to the mix two teenagers and a dog, and for him, it’s been a very different life!
What shacking up highlights, are the ideas we both carried into this about what a relationship is, and what makes a relationship work.
Like a lot of couples, we didn’t really follow the golden rules of moving in together. We didn’t discuss the logistics of how we would divvy up things – like expenses and housework. Who is going to do the washing, or cook every night, or pay the bills.
Some things are simple and easy to work out. I cook most nights but I really enjoy the producer helping in the kitchen, hanging out and spending time together. He will occasionally Cook which is nice.
All of that aside, there are always teething problem for any couple who start living together. The emotional roller coaster can be a little mind blowing, because some things are not as simple to define.
For instance, I’m an extrovert while the Producer is an introvert. I verbalise when I’m upset, whereas he shuts down. He needs a lot of solitary time to feel rejuvenated whereas I like company and thrive with conversation.
I’m very open and inclusive in relationships whereas he’s very private and guarded. Given my past experiences I, of course, struggle with any lack of transparency.
As much as we know each other so well, In some ways we are, I’m sure, quite alien to one another!
How we react to each other’s habits and eccentricities is important. We are both a little quirky if I’m honest, but he’s quiet and a bit sulky when rubbed the wrong way. I admittedly am overly passionate and animated. I feel things deeply (sometimes too deeply) so I can get dramatic. I’m a Leo…I can roar when hurt.
Arguments can be an effective tool for clearing the air and understanding one another on a deeper level. What’s not healthy is when arguments continue to repeat themselves. We’ve been guilty of this happening.
I’ve taken a step back and started to chill the hell out. There are things the producer does that may not thrill me, and sometimes hurt me, and vice versa no doubt, but what I’ve started to ask myself is this. Are any of these things deal breakers? I don’t think so.
The art of compromise is a beautiful thing. He needs a lot of time alone and I need to feel valued and wanted. Like a lot of women, of course I want to feel like my man really wants to see me, spend time with me and actually cares about what I have to say. I crave intimacy (not just sexual either) and I love hugs and physical contact. I think it was my friend, the writer Carly Findlay, who calls it “skin hunger”. I love that term for it.
In response to that, he’s started showing me a lot more affection when we are together which makes me feel safer and more secure regarding the relationship.
I’ve started calming down about him wanting solitary space. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s important that people have their own identities and have time to do their own thing.
In truth I’ve never had a partner who needed so much time out, and it’s hard at times to not take it personally, or feel rejected…but then he’s never had a partner with children before, which is huge, so swings and roundabouts.
We are a work in progress that’s for sure. Living together is not seamless. It’s messy and busy and sometimes crazy, but we are both on the same page. Which is huge. We know our relationship is unique and worth the effort and so are we. So we keeping working on it.
Every single day.
And when he does sweet things like meet me at the station after work, producing an umbrella in this crazy Melbourne stormy-summer, I realise how crazy in love we are, and how lucky I am.