There’s a well-known Rolling Stones lyric that should be rewritten for couples: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you can compromise enough so that you both end up somewhat happy with the situation.”
That’s how you maintain any relationship, though. Compromise. Give and take. Push and pull.
Of course, who really wants to compromise? Not I. I was raised the baby of my nuclear family. I wasn’t too spoiled when it came to the normal accompaniments—toys and clothes and the like. But my parents often conceded to my picky temperament.
I got used to getting my way. When I arrived at my college campus years ago, I was less than thrilled to find not one, but two roommates in a tiny, lofted dorm room. I chose the bottom bunk. It was the best. I listened to my music, stayed up as late as I wanted, and ran the room. After a semester, one of my roommates asked if we could trade beds. I laughed in her face. Luckily for me, those girls were understanding. We remain great friends, and I let them tease me for keeping the bottom bunk. I was, in retrospect, kind of an asshole about the whole thing. My bad.
Unfortunately, I’ve gone through years of roommate drama. Some of it was my fault; some of it was the fault of a girl so messy that her bedroom smelled like rancid meat. But I never wanted to meet any of these girls halfway. I wanted the apartment cleaned my way, the common area used my way, and the kitchen arranged my way. In short: My past roommates were messy, but I (once again) was kind of an asshole about the whole thing.
So I don’t have a great track record with roommates. You can imagine I was nervous, therefore, about moving in with my boyfriend in June. I had never lived with a significant other, and I was afraid of the consequences. I was afraid of being an asshole.