Friday, April 5, 2013 // 02

I remember when Ben and I were in a long distance relationship. We made time for each other on the phone every day, but it wasn't the same as being together in person. The semester that I was abroad in Italy was the hardest - I missed him so much it was like a physical ache. And I remember saying, so many times, how much I would give to just be next to him - even if we weren't doing anything, it would be enough just to be in each other's presence. 

I wonder how I would have felt back then had I been able to see into the future. I wonder if I would have felt less anxious and impatient if I had a crystal ball that revealed our lives today: we regularly spend 24+ hours together. Because we live and work from home (with separate jobs), we have moved to the opposite extreme of spending more time together than is probably healthy for two independent adults. And yet, somehow, we've made it work and haven't killed or divorced each other yet, so hopefully this arrangement will work out. Because if I'm honest, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love how intertwined our lives have become, and even more so since signing a marriage certificate.

But just because this works for us, doesn't necessarily mean that it's for everyone - some couples actually get along better apart, and that's great. In fact, I'm not even sure why it works for us, given that I have an insanely large (invisible) bubble that protects my personal space, and Ben takes alone time very seriously. When you first get married or decide to live with your significant other, the thought of living intimately with this other person can be terrifying because you have no idea if it's going to work out. I was a terrible roommate in college while I was living with other girls, always frustrated that I couldn't voice my problems or the way I was really feeling, and I was definitely concerned that the real me would come out when we lived together and Ben would not want to be around me anymore. But maybe that's the key to the whole thing:

We accept each other exactly as we are. (Or, at least, we try to, because, let's be honest, we're not anywhere close to perfect. But for the most part, we like the quirky things about each other.)

This means two things: we respect each other's individual preferences, and we are willing to speak up without judgement if something isn't working (and then work it out together). But what makes these two things possible is the fact that we can be honest with ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses. I know that the cranky-college-roommate-me comes out every now and then - she doesn't come out when everything is going well, she comes out when things are rocky, and then we know that it's time to deal with the real issues. Ben doesn't get mad about it, he helps me work through it. And it's okay that Ben sneaks off to his man cave to play video games or puts in headphones when he can't take any more of my chatter stream that goes on like an endless playlist of thoughts. I don't get offended that he's ignoring me, I accept that he needs his space to do his thing. And instead of resenting him for leaving me out, I love that he still makes the time to do the things he loves, even if I'm not a part of it. I use that time to catch up on Say Yes to the Dress, Downton Abbey, or Grey's Anatomy, so that when he does want to hang out again, we can do things together.

I guess that in three years of living together and almost six months of being married and working together, I've learned that it's better to live with someone when you can both be completely yourself, both the good parts and the not-so-good parts of yourself. Because when that happens, it no longer matters that someone else is in your space…instead, you can't imagine living anywhere without them.

No comments:

Post a Comment