Live alone for at least 1 year. Even better, 2 years. Why? When one person would not meet the other’s expectations, the FEELINGS associated were often neglect, emotional abandonment, lack of consideration, lack of respect and feeling outright insulted at times. That hurt would trickle into other parts of their lives and…bam, six years later they are contacting their lawyers. Now, let me first clarify that you are not responsible for your partner’s happiness, nor are they responsible for yours. However, living alone will help you become more contentious and considerate as a partner. It is imperative you learn what it is like to live with yourself, first. You will go through 3 stages:
THE HONEYMOON. Just like relationships, your first year with yourself will feel like F-R-E-E-D-O-M! Even if you had some roommates in college, living alone can feel liberating and quite “grownup”… At first, it might be a little lonely but suddenly you will cherish the fact that you do not have anyone telling you how to live, nagging you about picking up your dirty clothes or putting your dishes in the dishwasher, or someone to share the remote with. You can do what you want, when you want, how you want and those cleaning days might become fewer and further between. Also, just like honeymoons, you may still be in slight denial of all the responsibility, planning, foresight and consistency required in order to maintain your independent life.
REALITY. Until recently, maybe your mother still did your laundry when you would visit on weekends, or your car insurance was still under your dad’s name. Maybe your roommate was the one always collecting rent checks or reminding you it was your week to mow the lawn. Not anymore, and the consequences will ensue. You may forget to start the dishwasher until your reminded when you are out of forks and spoons. You may forget to pay a bill and end up with some extra fees. You will begin to get annoyed by your misuse of your space, letting things pile up, and with no one to blame but yourself. You may let the laundry go a little too long and then run out of underwear for the week or realize ants are sneaking into the kitchen because you have left food out.
MATURITY and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Finally, you will have a pretty clear picture of what it is like to live with YOU. You will know what you cost in electricity and water, you will know how quickly dishes for one pile up when no one is washing them, and you will quickly appreciate regular “maintenance” over facing the overwhelming monster of a disaster that may ensue if things are not tended to for long. More importantly, you will now make a better partner to your future spouse because you know what it is like to take responsibility for you. You have now felt the consequences of your own bad habits.
With that being said, I am offering a serious “GOOD LUCK” to those of you who move in with someone else who has never lived alone. Again, two years has been, in my professional experience, the magic number. What does not happen independently must be worked out within your relationship. I do not say these things to scare you, or to place judgment on any one person in a relationship. This is not an attack on someone’s character. I am simply talking about life skill development here.
Afraid to live alone, yourself? It is time for you to really process why. I have a feeling that your fear is attached to some self-esteem and co-dependency issues. Time to do some emotional weight-lifting.
Lifestyle conflicts are inevitable. They will arise even within couples who have lived independently for many years. However, you will know he your partner is capable of managing the entire household, independently, and they will know that you can. So, the benefit of the partnership is that you may divide and conquer!
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