On a yearlong student visa, I went to San Diego to improve my English. Over there, I met my Irish boyfriend, Cian. At the beginning of our romance, I couldn’t see him as much I wanted because of school and living with a host family. I got along with my American host family so I liked to spend time with them. It was difficult to find a good balance to see my boyfriend more than 1 hour per day. Besides, I didn’t tell anyone that I fell for a lovely Irish because I wasn’t the kind of girl who wanted to find love. Then things got serious between us and it was tough to not see each other.
A week after New Year’s Eve, I had to move to my second accommodation, Vantaggio State Street. It lies in the heart of Little Italy, just blocks away from Downtown and the harbor, and only minutes away from the Gaslamp Quarter and the San Diego airport. It is a charming and trendy place lined with sidewalk cafes and numerous restaurants. Anyway, it was a shared room with another French speaking girl. I hated the place as soon as I got there. I was used to good food, clean room and my independence at my host family’s place. So, I asked Cian to come sleep with me because my roommate wasn’t there and I needed to be comfortable after the moving.
The second day, I was at Cian’s place with all his friends. He was sharing an apartment with 3 guys and 3 girls, all Irish of course. I won’t talk about that now. Anyway, after being in relationship for only 3 months, I moved with them. It was awesome; however, here’s not the topic!
My student visa lasts 5 years. However, I didn’t want to be a student for that long. Moreover, I went to California after failing my last year in Marketing. I needed to get rid of my frustration and restart my brain. That’s why I took a gap year (I’ll talk about that later). I knew and Cian knew that I only stayed until mid-June. So, before I left San Diego to go back home to Belgium, Cian and I decided to travel together. So, we did a Californian road trip of our own. Everything went well. I’ll give more details later. While we were traveling, we noticed how much our relationship matters for both of us and we didn’t want to break up because of my leaving. Cian wanted to move to Belgium for a year with me until I get my degree.
Back in Belgium, I started to look for apartments because I didn’t want to stay with Cian at my parents’ place. We wanted to live on our own without any roommates. Both of us were on the same page when we signed for one year lease in Louvain-la-Neuve. Cian and I liked the idea of being adults in an adult relationship who compromises about adult things. We liked that we were taking this big step and that everything was going like we imagined in San Diego while we were sharing our room with other people. We imagined a fairytale.
Everything didn’t go as we imagined. First of all, it was difficult to find a well-paid job with me still being a student. After sending a lot of cv’s out, I finally found a place. At first, I signed a student contract at Claire’s then I signed for a determined contract. Then, with his lack of French skills, Cian only got a bar job until December. So, we couldn’t see each other as much we wished. Add to that, the school schedule and the time I’d spend getting my degree.
While we weren’t spending enough time, arguments occurred. It was difficult to face that. In San Diego, we never argued so we didn’t know how to deal with that at the beginning. So, we often slammed the bedroom’s door. Also, when we were in San Diego, we weren’t alone. So, we never noticed our failings. We weren’t entirely prepared for the practical realities of sharing an accommodation together and alone. There are things about this arrangement that we weren’t expecting such as hearing the other farts, finding my period-stains, bear’s hair in the sink, cleaning stuff, money, etc.
Since I hope to share my home with this Irishman for a very long time (hopefully the rest of my life), I thought it best to take a step back and put cards on the table.
So, here’s MY HELPFUL RELATIONSHIP LIST before cohabiting with your babe, that is helpful only to me:
- Communicate. Cian didn’t have ‘friends’ in Belgium. He has only a few notions in French. I was everything for him, best friend, confident and girlfriend. When we argued and stop talking to each other, he was feeling lonely, isolated and very sad. Even though our arguments never last, it’s very important to never close the communication when you’re mad at someone. The silence is more hurtful than words.
- Trust him/ her enough. Jealousy will definitely kill you and your couple if the trust is absent. You should know his past without judging it or being jealous.
- Observe him acting with his mommy, siblings and friends. The way, a man treats his mum will show you how he will treat you. Besides, with this point, be sure to get along with his mommy and the rest of his family and friends.
- Know if one of you is a slob and the other is a neat freak. It was a big issue between us in the beginning. He hates to clean and he thought that he’d make me happy by messing up everything because I enjoy cleaning. But that becomes an issue because I started to think that I was his personal housekeeper and I started to consider him as a baby. His opinion didn’t matter for a while because when he was home, he didn’t act like the apartment we were share wasn’t a hotel and he’d participate to the chores too. So, when we figured out how to cope each other, everything went well.
- Discuss chores. Will he do the laundry, and you’ll do the dishes? Or will you split everything 50/50? It’s very important to talk about it. That can drive you crazy quickly and you will argue for sure with your honey if you avoid this conversation.
- Throw out your ugliest undies that you wouldn’t want him to find. It’s very easy to forget to stay sexy when you’re seeing each other with an old sweatshirt or something no attractive. So, don’t lose your mojo just because you get the one you want to share your life with. You’ll kill your own libido if you don’t pay attention to this topic.
- Make sure you know one another’s policy on bathroom privacy/closing the door. Your boyfriend doesn’t need to see you shaving/waxing or doing your ‘business’, even though you’ve to be comfortable doing it. That kills sensuality to me.
- Be OK with his flatulence and your own in front of him! Everyone farts and it’s natural so no need to make comments, except if it smells of course LOL.
- Make sure he knows and respects the TV shows you can’t miss and vice-versa. Be cool with shows like Game of Thrones, The Young and the Restless, UFC Connor McGregor and endless episodes of Family Guy.
- Be ready to take care of him when he gets sick and acts like a big baby.
- Make sure he knows how to cook at least one yummy dinner for those nights when you come home late from work.
- Spend a significant amount of time in a confined space together. 4-6 hours in a car on a road trip will do it! It’s so true, road trip will force you to talk about everything even sensitive topics, spend time together make you become closer, etc.
- Have a serious discussion about finances!!!!
- Should be on the same page about drug use, smoking, drinking or partying. It’s tough when you’re not outgoing and your boyfriend is. Thank God, about this topic, I’m the same as Cian. We love a good night out or having friends at home.
- Be sure you’re definitely going to want to see one another from day 1 to 365 — after all, you don’t want to break up with each other, have to break your lease, and end up losing your security deposit!
Anything else you think should be on the list?