Why I am Terrified to Live with my Partner, but am Doing it Anyway.

I’m moving in with my partner in less than a month. I’ll be honest in saying that I am absolutely terrified of this experience. This is something I share with him on a weekly basis, mainly because I feel like at least I’m warning him. I have lived with my best friend and roomate for the past four years and it has been great. We work opposite shifts and she’s hardly home. When we do see each other it is in passing and usually consists of drinking coffee together and laughing about chance encounters from the week before. I have been asking myself an awful lot “do I really want to give that up?!”

I have cold feet, I don’t know if I am ready, I hate sharing space but I am going to do it anyway. Here’s why:

  1. It will force me out of my comfort zone.

…and I love my comfort zone. The idea of being able to shut myself away from the world without anybody knowing is the best. I don’t have to share my closet, or my bed or my books. Nobody wonders where I am or when I will be home. My partner calls before he comes and and takes (most of) his things with him when he goes home. Despite how great this is, it doesn’t force me to adapt, adjust or compromise which are all invaluable skills. Living with a partner will lead me to consider another’s space, feelings and human experience a little more closely.

2. It will make me less selfish.

I love when things are “mine.” I grew up coexisting with an older brother, I get along well with friends and I have developed enough sharing skills in my life to pass as a functioning adult without sparking anyones attention. That being said, at the heart of the matter I can be extremely self-centered. By nature I am self-sufficient and independent and I work hard to earn what I have. These can be great qualities, but living with someone I love requires a little more flexibility than my saying “this is just how I am.” Living with a partner will challenge me to share, nearly everything.

3. It will test my priorities.

I have always maintained my priorities fairly well. I value my time and space, work hard in my career and balance my time with family and friends. My relationship has always been a priority, and it is easy to maintain with my partner. He is loved by my entire circle and is one of the most social and compassionate people I have ever met. He makes time for things that are important to me. Even with this on my side, living with a partner can skew priorities. With naturally less time apart it is important to maintain “separate” time and hobbies. It is easy to fall into a pattern of staying in or canceling plans when everything you need is at home. My partners moving in will create a need for me to constantly assess how I am spending my time and energy.

4. It will create another dimension of support.

I have been blessed in that I have unconditional love from family and friends, and with that comes (almost) unconditional support in anything I choose to do. My partner is no exception. He gives me all the room I need to grow, without pressure or any expectation of my being who I was yesterday. Living together will take that support to another level. Going to sleep and waking together creates a healthy cycle. Studies show that living with a partner long-term can include stress relief benefits, lower cortisol levels and decreased risk of depression.

5. Change is scary, but necessary.

I get that I don’t actually need to make this change, but the way I see it is there is no concrete, overwhelming reason not to. Our identities naturally change throughout our lives, whether we like it or not. We cannot always remain the same for fear of what may be different when we become different. I may not be the wild child I once was, and that is okay. I know that I can maintain my free spirit and the core of who I am regardless of how my identity changes throughout the years.

I told my partner this week, I can’t promise this is going to go smoothly, but I promise I will try. This is all I can say and this is all I can hope for from him. We’ve been together almost a year and a half now and every day I learn something new about him and about myself. These things are sometimes fascinating and sometimes frustrating and I have so much left to learn.

Stay tuned.