dating + love

The Shack Up

August 12, 2014

Travel-Oregon-Map

For just over 2 years, I had been in a long distance relationship. Pittsburgh to New York. New York to Portland. Portland to DC. But now, as of 36 days ago, I am in a short distance relationship!!!

It’s weird to not have to make a trip to the airport to see the love of my life for only a few days at a time. I get to see him every single day. I even get to see him multiple times throughout the work day because his office is just across the hall from mine. Not to mention I see him every night before I go to sleep, and every morning when I wake up.

That’s right folks: the beau and I are shacking up. Living in sin.

I never thought I’d live with a man (other than maybe a relative) before I was married. Maybe during an engagement but not before. I’ve had numerous friends that have lived with their significant others outside of marriage and always thought to myself, “I don’t think I could ever do that.” Though today it seems pretty acceptable to cohabitate out of wedlock, I always felt I would be judged – by my parents and society. And even me, to be honest. Why should I live with a man who hasn’t committed himself in matrimony (or at least the official intention of matrimony) to me? Translation: Why would I draw attention to the fact that I’m not chaste and pure, and I’m giving a man “the milk for free”. Admitting to living with a significant other just seemed like an unintentional confession. And yes, I tend to concern myself about what others know/think.

I felt very differently when it came time to think about Dr. T moving to Portland. There were a myriad of positive reasons to live together – it just made dollars and *sense*. It’s still a little weird to admit that we’re living together. Especially to my parents, who probably don’t care but it’s still makes me feel like I’m doing something that would be frowned upon. Even to coworkers – most of whom live with their significant others. It’s weird to be writing a post about shacking up.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t have things any other way. I enjoy having Dr. T as a roommate. He cooks, cleans, irons, and does laundry. He even folds! He’s neat and extremely considerate. Sometimes he’s too perfect and I can’t help but think that he’s getting the short end of the stick with having to live with *me* lol. Not that living together hasn’t taken some getting used to, but it doesn’t feel like “work.” It’s just different.

I also can’t help but think at what point will we get tired of being around each other so much. Granted, we’ve spent over 2 years living in different states, and on different coasts. But still – we spend an absurd amount of time together. We’re together at home. We commute together to and from work. Though we work in different research labs, we often take breaks and eat lunch together. And we go to the gym together 3-5 times a week. The few times we are apart is when I’m at a meeting or if he’s off playing basketball.I actually felt guilty for spending my entire Saturday this weekend apart from my other half due to previous commitments that didn’t include him. Usually, I’m carting him from one place to another to do this or that and meet various people.

Today on the bus, we were discussing our workout plans for the evening. I was going to the gym for a fitness class and to run, he was going to the community center for basketball and then out for a run. He said to me, “Damn, that means we won’t see each other tonight.” Despite the fact that we were both coming home to the same place. My soul smiled in that moment – I felt loved and adored. This man is my companion and our time together is valuable. Most importantly, he isn’t sick of me yet.

In time, once Dr. T gets his footing in his new city of residence, he will be spending much more time apart from me with new friends and activities. Just as I will continue to have my own set of friends and happenings apart from him. But for now, I’m enjoying this cherished time together. Even if it simply consists of us both burying our heads in our computers, in the same room, at the same time, listening to the same orchestra of crickets through the screen door.

Many of my friends who live with their significant others warned me that the lovey-dovey honeymoon of living together would soon end and that I would soon grow tired and irritated. I guess I’ll have to report back in a few months of sh*t goes down hill and we’re ready to go back to maintaining separate households. But I think we’ll be just fine…

Do you, or have you ever, lived with a significant other outside of marriage? If so, what do/did you like most and least about it?  Do you have a preference one way or the other?

Shacking up unashamed (kind of),
~Gem

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28 Comments

  • Reply Shawn-dree-et (@MsShonnerz) August 12, 2014 at 9:42 am

    This made me smile so big (and get a bit teary)! I’m so glad y’all are finally together. *hugs*

    • Reply gemmieboo August 12, 2014 at 11:33 am

      awww thanks Shon!! we are happy and appreciate all the encouragement from you and others we’ve received!! *hugs*

  • Reply Amy Juicebox August 12, 2014 at 10:30 am

    so sweet. love it.

  • Reply Selah August 12, 2014 at 10:45 am

    This is super cute! I think honeymoon phases inevitably end, but that’s ok, doesn’t mean you’ll start getting super irritated or anything. Plus, you guys are both muuuuuuuch more mature than most people are when they start shacking up, so you’ve had much more life experience/relationship experience/etc, added to the fact that this isn’t a “new” relationship! I think (and hope!) that even when the lovevy dovey
    newness of living together wears off, the love/committment will just be even stronger.

    I shacked up once, when I was 23. It wasn’t super great or super horrible, tbh. After we broke up though, I decided I didn’t want to do it again unless i knew for sure we were committed (in other words, until we were engaged, or actually married), but only because the hassle of moving out/finding a new place after the breakup was just too much for me. I’m 26 now, and in a fantastic r-ship, but unless this ends up in a proposal, I’ll stay right where I am and let him stay right where he is. lol.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 12, 2014 at 11:39 am

      thanks for commenting! i totally agree that experience and a ton of maturity can do wonders for a relationship! and im especially seeing how that plays in us living together. things that i remember my (girl)friends saying they hated about their boyfriends are things i either dont have to deal with or that dont bother me enough to get upset about. plus we’ve been together long enough that we know how to communicate with each other.

      i hear you on the commitment part also. we arent engaged but marriage is the next step and had we not been this solid in our relationship, i definitely wouldn’t have advocated that we live together. i told him we cant ever break up so this is it LOL.

  • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. August 12, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Awww….

    We never shacked during our lengthy dating period. (We cohabited heavily on the weekends though.)* It wasn’t based on religion but rather our desire for space. As the time came for marriage the first few nights in the same house were weird but it was a good weird.

    Anyhow a little sin never hurt.

    *adds “Heavy Cohabitation” to my fake list of fake band names.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 12, 2014 at 11:42 am

      lol @ cohabitated heavily on weekends. hey, you gotta do what works for you. plus, if he and i lived in the same city from the beginning, i don’t think either of us would have made the leap to living together before marriage. our LDR turned SDR changed the landscape a bit though.

      a little sin builds character.

  • Reply madscientist7 August 12, 2014 at 11:24 am

    living with you is great so far!!! i would like to go on record to have been initially opposed to it though. lolol hopefully we won’t get too tired of each other too soon. love you babe.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 12, 2014 at 11:42 am

      lol yay!!! love you too babe :-*

  • Reply Maris August 12, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Love this post!
    I’d heard once that you know you have a good partner if you can imagine yourself having great conversation if heaven forbid you were both bed-ridden for the rest of your lives. Having a great “friendship base” where your non-romantic interactions are as enriching as your romantic ones is a great blessing. It’s how you can talk all day and somehow not be tired of the person when you come home. Super-happy for both of you!!

    • Reply gemmieboo August 13, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      thanks maris!!!

      we truly do have a great friendship. and we enjoy each others company but we also know when to respect the others space – even if we’re in the same room. theres a lot of give and take (he likes watching ESPN 24/7, i like LHHATL and other trashy reality shows) and we compromise without even having to have a convo about it. we just kinda do it. and that makes it so easy to just coexist. i think having the LDR where we were separated by hundreds and then thousands of miles made our communication impeccable (not without its challenges).

      all that to say – sho you right lol.

  • Reply Steph August 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I am really happy that you and Dr. T have found a way to be close to another. LDRs are so hard and can really put a strain on a loving relationship. I was in a LDR with my love for over a year and it was (is) rough. With that being said I refused to live with my SO (now husband) due to many reasons. One, is I am the eldest of 4 younger siblings ( two are beautiful young women) and I was worried about the example I set for them. It is really old fashioned ( I am aware) to think this way but it’s my take on things. Now, let me be forthright and say my husband and I are far from innocent. We often stayed at each other’s places and although we became celibate before we were married ( for spiritual reasons) we weren’t always. The spirit is willing but ooooh that flesh is weak. lol. However, we knew that we were both raised a certain way and my husband also did not want us to live together. In fact I was engaged before and I have never lived with any man.

    I do not condemn my friends that live with their significant others, that is not my place. I understand that is can really help economically to live with the one you love. Also, I truly believe you really don’t know someone until you LIVE in the same quarters as them. It just wasn’t for me.

    Dr. B and I (yes as his wife I will speak for him) wish you and Dr. T love and happiness. xo

    • Reply gemmieboo August 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      i think everybody has to do whats right and comfortable for them. had we not had the situation we had with being long distance and then him moving across the country to live in the same city, i doubt either of us would have wanted to live together before marriage. in fact, about a year ago both of us were firmly against it. and he was firmly against it until he actually got here lol. but we made the decision based on what we thought would be most beneficial to us.

      sidenote: a good friend of mine lived with her husband before they were married (also brought about by unfavorable circumstances) and they were celibate for months as they did pre-marital counseling before their wedding. it was difficult because they lived together but i really appreciated that she made that sacrifice for their relationship (though not without its challenges) and i look forward to doing the same when it comes time for T and i to tie the knot.

      im happy for you and your Doc and wish you both a lifetime of happiness!! thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply That Damn African August 12, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I’m kinda going through the reverse of yall. Met M, dated, a year later we shacked up for a year and some change, and now we’re in a LDR.

    Shacking up was her idea initially lol. I really wasn’t for it (I like my space), but I warmed up to it during a trial period. I still had my apartment, but I stayed over at her place for a week. I’ll tell you what, I had a pretty good time. So then we decided to move in. I think there definitely was a honeymoon period where afterward we started getting tired of or annoyed at each other sometimes. No question, the worst part of living together was never agreeing on what temp to put the A/C on. It definitely made it very awkward when we would have big arguments because you couldn’t go anywhere to cool off lol. But at the same time, it forced us to work on some of our communication issues, as well as other things. We were already deeply committed to each other (albeit, at the time, without the ring) so we used that time to work through what issues we had and continued to build on all the great times we shared.

    Yall will be fine.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      awwww our little B and M – yall are so cute lol. i was actually really surprised when i heard yall were living together. i was like wait, who are these 2?!?! lol its like i didnt even know you. but im glad you all had that time together before M up and left you to be an awesome doctor.

      communication really is key. thats one thing T and i had on lock during our 2+ years apart. i want to write a post on this (some day) but being effective communicators is the most important component of having a happy, healthy relationship. there will always be disagreements (thank GOD we dont fight over the temp, because i would never let that ish go lol) but most of the little stuff wont be nearly as bothersome. and as you mature you realize most sh*t isnt worth fighting or being worked up over. ive learned to let so much sh*t go. and for me thats a huge victory lol.

      thanks for sharing, B!! i cant believe youve experience cohabitation before ME!!! youre all grown up *tear*

  • Reply Alisha L. Gordon August 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I love your post. I shacked up once before and it didn’t turn out to well. I am, however, in a happy, healthy LDR and I’ve been giving more and more thought to the sensibility of us living together when he moves here. We know we both want to get married; what sense does it make to get two separate households? As long as both parties are clear about the end goal, I’m here for it.

    I appreciate the balance in your post, recognizing that you are in a honeymoon phase but know that life together can be pleasurable if you work hard at it!

    Thanks for affirming some thoughts I’ve been having around the “sin” of shacking! 🙂

    • Reply gemmieboo August 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      thanks, Alisha!!! i wish you and your partner happiness and the ability to work through the rough patches. LDRs arent easy but when they are happy and healthy they are AMAZING!! you grow so much individually and as a couple and truly i think my LDR was the best thing to happen to me. i am definitely a better woman and a better mate because of it.

      you all will do whats right for yall when the time comes. sometimes a little sin is good for the soul lol

  • Reply Kishanoh August 13, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I am so happy for you two! When I was younger, I said that I would not live with anyone unless we were married. My stance on that has changed. While it is not ideal for me, I would definitely consider it if we reached a certain point in our relationship.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      thanks kisa! and yes, you have to do what YOU think is best. hell some married people dont even live in the same household lol. once youre grown, you really gotta do what the hell you want/need to be happy and balanced.

  • Reply Doc Meaux August 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Aww…this is so stinking cute. Times are different. I also used to think that I would never live with a man before marriage, but now I realize that if he loves you, wants to be with you, and it makes financial sense…do what’s best for you! Given the fact that you were LD for 2 years, I think it kinda balances out or makes up for all of the time you spent apart (if that makes sense).

    Let’s face it, in the grand scheme of things, is cohabitation before marriage a bigger sin than having sex? No.

    I really enjoyed reading this post and the other comments! And of course, I’m wishing you two infinite happiness and joy with each other!

    • Reply gemmieboo August 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      LOL aww yes the pre-marital sex vs cohabitation sin comparison. its really kinda stupid, yeah? its more the “hey look at us – we are DEFINITELY living in sin” aspect that always made me think twice – no need to make it plain for folks (though in the end, whether or not im having sex is the least of anyones worries in terms of my spiritual well being). even when discussing the idea of living together with my mom she said to me (much to my shock and horror lol) “its not like you guys arent already sleeping together. and you’ll probably spend most of your nights together even if you have 2 difference apartments.” you dont know my life mom! LOL

      thanks for the comment and the love 🙂 its really great to be surrounded by so many people rooting for us – how can we not win??

  • Reply Anjuan Simmons (@anjuan) August 13, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    It seems like you have a beautiful and fulfilling relationship. That is rare, and I encourage you to savor it. I am happy for you and Dr. T, and I wish you both the best!

    • Reply gemmieboo August 19, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      thank you so much for reading and commenting, Anjuan! your words are much appreciated 🙂

  • Reply sheldonjoseph August 13, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    The opinions of others dont matter. Nor does their translation of the word. What matters is what God spoke to the both of you before and after he got the key to the crib. Everyone else can kick rocks yo. From a man that did it boths and is happily married to the woman he shacked up with and divorced from the one that he didnt.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 19, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      thanks so much, Shel – ive always appreciated your support. and i dont take for granted the relationship you and Mo have – its truly inspiring and heart warming to witness.

  • Reply Brandi August 14, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Can I just say I just love the fact that y’all live together? This post made me smile. I’m happy for y’all.

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