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singing a different tune.



Next week will be the six-month mark that Aurelien and I have been living together - truly living together. Not staying at his old apartment with his roommate at Voltaire, or with my mom while waiting for my visa to be approved. For the past six months, we've been living life, him and I, chez nous. I'm not sharing this because we're celebrating this six-month mark tonight with presents, romance, and silk teddies, I'm sharing it because I had no idea how much I was going to learn about myself

One thing that I'm still very much getting used to is sharing space with someone else. I have been on my own for now over ten years, and while I have had roommates and have lived with boyfriends in the past, none of those experiences could compare to this one.  

For the first time since 1998, the year I started my adult life, it's clear that this is not a transient arrangement. This isn't a dorm room in Olympia, a small studio for one in Los Angeles, a temporary (although 3 years) roommate set-up in Brooklyn, MF's Oberkampf apartment that his mother had keys to, or a chambre de bonne in the Marais. This is my home where we both signed a three-year lease. There are even my pictures hung up on the wall! It's been years since I have been able to say that.

This big step has come with some unforeseen light growing pains as I shed the single girl who up until recently, domestically has had to think only in terms of one. That's what happens when you've been living alone for so long. I had no idea that I had become deeply set in my ways that I get thrown off balance when there is even the slightest change in the program. 

I'm someone who makes mental lists of things-to-do and forget that Aurelien cannot hear my thoughts (Come on, I think extremely loud!). I have actually found myself getting miffed that he didn't realize that I wanted to stop at Ikea on our way home from his father's house. After all, I did say it in my head. Or I forget that a lot of our things are shared (phone chargers, for example), and that they are not always going to be in the same place where I left them. There are two of us now.

I'm not complaining, I'm just adjusting.

To some, all of this may seem painfully obvious but for a reformed hobo who found comfort in eating a dinner of canned corn, prosciutto rolled around a ball of bocconcini washed down with cheap red wine while watching 30 Rock, this is a new wave of culture shock for me.

While I will always be the girl who marches to the beat of her own drum, it looks like the song is slightly changing and I have someone who wants to march with me. And I need to be more open to that.

Will I get this hang of this or will I perpetually be the single girl on-the-go trying to squeeze into a married woman's costume?

30 comments:

  1. This isn't something perpetually-single old me has to worry about, but yeah I think it would be an adjustment having to have someone else around ruining (ahem, I mean "sharing") my space! I haven't had a proper boyfriend in nearly 8 years!! *sob quietly* I'm sure you'll get there though!

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    1. Gwan I am the same!! And with all those rejections from French men during Internet dating it makes me feel like it won't change any time in the future!!
      So happy for you Ella, it's an exciting phase the be in! Good luck!! xx

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    2. @Gwan - It really will be an adjustment once you open your space to someone else. You get more set in your groove than you know. It's been an eye-opener. I had no idea I was such a domestic loner! Are dating sites popular over by you? I kind of swear by them. : )

      @Emma - It took me a while to meet a nice guy here. It wasn't easy. I kissed a lot of frogs (ha ha pun so intended!) to meet my prince. Just keep enjoying Paris and doing what you love and it will all fall into place. It's SUPER cliche to say but I did find love when I wasn't looking, just a little food for thought. : )

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    3. Nice to know it's not just me Emma!

      Ella, I tried for a bit but I came off once it was brought to my attention that I was literally the only girl in town on the site!! That made me feel way too over-exposed (plus there were like 3 guys to pick from anyway). Le sigh!

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  2. "that his mother had keys to" Ooh that just made me shiver!

    1st of all, I love that you keep track of your months together! It is very romantic and sweet! It truly is a special moment, this 6 month mark. It's a huge adjustment, and I'm glad you're taking about it.

    I remember how long it took me to fully adjust, and I can honestly say it gets better. My bf and I really understand each others' needs, rhythm, etc., and living together has definitely evolved over the past almost-3 years (there were high and low points throughout). It's better now than ever; I think we have both matured a lot.

    I am sure you will get the hang of it. No squeezing into costumes. For me, and perhaps you as well, I really need my alone time (and so does he-we're both introverts), so we spend plenty of time doing our own thing. I still march at the beat of my own drum :). I wouldn't say he marches with me, I guess I'd say.. He let's me march my march while respecting and supporting it- as I do him.

    <3

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    1. Dana, his mom was ALWAYS popping in to drop off groceries (meanwhile I told her that I could do it myself with my own money!) and make comments that the apartment really is just for one, not two. N'importe quoi.

      Thanks for letting me know that it takes a little time to adjust and that I'm not a selfish bitch! You said it perfectly, understanding each others' rhythm. That's exactly it. And yes, alone time is imperative. We reserve two nights a week to be in different rooms to just do our own thing. Him: video games. Me: gossiping on the phone. : )

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    2. Oh and I know it's six months because I manage our bills and it's all on my excel sheet. I have EVERYTHING calculated.Talking like a true Virgo. ; )

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    3. Hi L, I'm glad that you found my comment/advice useful! Selfish bitch? Aww, not possible. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Personally, that's why our relationship has matured a lot and has become more harmonic, because we finally took more time for ourselves- being self-centered. Centered.

      Popping in to drop of groceries? Snippy comments?...I think my blood pressure just increased while reading this!

      That's great that you're so organized. I'm a rebellious Virgo; I'm allergic to Excel. (OK not quite, I've used it in my work... I need to embrace it...). I remember loving to make Price Lists for the artists I worked for in NYC. ;)

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  3. Ahhh, I am about to enter this change rather soon... Right now we have a 2 weeks in Paris, 2 weeks in London set-up, so I'm not living with a boy full-time... yet. It will probably last until end of this summer and then it will have to be the full she-bang! I haven't shared a space with a boyfriend like this before so it is a lot of mental, emotional, and even physical adjustments for me. I'm so glad to hear that things are going well with you. It gives me a role model to work my way towards!

    x Milsters

    (http://www.littlepiecesoflight.com/)

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    1. That works out perfect for you two! We too did baby-steps when I was going back and forth between Paris and New York last year, and then in September it was 100%. Even easing into it will take some adjusting but based on everyone's comments, this is perfectly normal. Good to know, right?

      Good luck and enjoy your few months of jet-setting!! How glamorous!

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  4. Well as long as he doesn't whistle out of tune ;o) Really though, I'm sure it's somewhere in the marriage ceremony that he gains the ability to read your thoughts re Ikea, and also cleaning and cooking... Being perma-single too though, I can't swear to this ;o)

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    1. Hahaha, it's funny you mention it, he actually loves to whistle and it makes me jealous because I don't know how to...despite my many efforts!

      In truth, I should just be more vocal so he doesn't have to pick up a 6th sense. This shouldn't be a problem, I'm vocal about everything else!

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  5. well since the Duchesse flipped me a portion of your HH int. "the decision" part and I now see just how adorable "Seb" is I don't think you will have many problems..he seems very mellow ...the trick is making him think alot of the decisions are his even when you are the one really making them...:)

    every couple is unique ..you guys have to work out what works for you both and try not to sweat the small stuff...none of it means anything in a weeks time....

    laughter kiddo..that is what makes a create partnership and marriage...keep laughing.

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    1. Oh you saw part of it! Good!! I'm still waiting on our copy so I can somehow get the full episode those of you who are interested. I hope you liked the little bit that you saw! Yes, Aurel is super mellow and works with my New York bitch mood swings. God bless him.

      My mom always tells me to not sweat the small stuff too...sage advice. It is true, none of it means anything even days later!

      Thanks Deb for your advice!

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  6. Congrats on the 6 months! I'm way nervous (and excited) to be moving in with J. I'm not sure how it will go - sharing such a small space with each other. We've done it for a few weeks at a time, but as of mid-April, I won't be going back to my place after each weekend/week/or so together. I hope I can say things are going as well for us as they as for you two after our 6 months in.

    Luckily, he's already seen me without makeup with wild and crazy bed hair. Hell, he's seen me collapse into a sobbing mess, and he's yet to go running for the hills. That's got to be a good sign.

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    1. I'm so excited for you!!! Is this the first time you're living with a dude?

      I think it helps if you've eased into it like you've done. If he's made it through a girl freak out (why do we always collapse onto the floor or heave ourselves onto the bed???), then I'd say it's a very good sign.

      I'm really taking Deb's advice (above) laughter and not worrying about little things. It's so simple and so true. Good luck to you guys!

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    2. Yep, this will be my first time living with a guy. I'm not completely sure what to expect, but I can't wait either!

      We laugh a lot when together, so I think we'll do just fine :-)

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  7. Oooh, I so have been there, Ella. I really and truly understand. Like you, I was single for a loong time before I met Remi and mainly was pretty ok with that as I had great friends and really liked doing just what I pleased. Let's just say that the first year and a half of our relationship was a bumpy one with all of the adjusting going on, not to mention my hellaciously bumpy non-adjustment to living in France, not speaking the language, yadayada. It got better, it really did. But it is funny that you bring this up since I just told him this past weekend that I could really use a night to do basically what you described--eat what I want, watch girly movies if I need to. Which of course he was open to as that means he gets to do the same!

    I am sure that it is true that each couple is different and as Seb seems so easy going, that should really help. You may not forever be the single girl in a married costume but getting married (or PACSed) doesn't mean that you will give up your independent side. You are a New Yorker after all...
    Bisous,
    H

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    1. Thanks Heather for your comment! It's good to know that it's perfectly okay to go through a period of adjusting and that it may be a bit rocky to begin with. It's also good to know that once all the kinks are smoothed out, it gets better. Phew! I was starting to think that there was something profoundly wrong with me because of how shocked my system has been these past few months.

      He actually read this post, which already brought us a few inches closer to understanding each other better.

      Oh of course I'll stay independent! Going on "me dates" is one of my greatest pleasures. Today I'm buying fabric and am treating myself to an afternoon glass of bubbly. ; )

      Thank you again for your insight on this!

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    2. Any time. Truly. All though it looks like you have a lot of good perspective all around. My email is on my profile--feel free to use it if you ever need an ear.

      Do you and Seb have similar tastes in decorating? I know that saved me a lot of grief as we completely agreed on everything! I also think that you are at least more on the road to adusting to French life than even I am now! We travelled so non-stop for work in the first few years that France still doesn't feel like home but I have stopped worrying about that so much. Everyone's experience as an expat is so different, isn't it?

      And that Seb read this post? Well, further proof of what a wonderful guy he must be...
      xo,
      H

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  8. Congratulations on your 6th month anniversary of living with Seb! I'm confident that the two of you will find the right song for your relationship - one that's mainly a duet with some solo parts.

    What's bocconcini? Since popping open a can of corn is one of my go-to foods when Stephane is traveling, I may have to add it to the menu the next time that he's away.

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    1. Bocconcini sounds way fancier than it is. It's just little mozzerella balls that I'm in denial of its fat and calorie content! I can give up wine for a few days but not my mozz (pronounced muh-tz).

      Thanks MK! This post has already helped us get into the groove of domestic life. Sometimes things really are clearer when written out! And everyone's comments have really put things into perspective for me. I'm so lucky to have such fantastic feedback!

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  9. What?! Seb can't read your thoughts? My husband can totally read mine (in my dreams).
    The biggest thing that I've learned about living together is communication, communication, communication. Even if that means having to tell Gregory the same thing over and over (it's not nagging, it's love) ;)

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    1. Hhahaaha No! Can you believe that?! NOW he tells me that he's not a mind reader and that he's not clairvoyant! Talk about disappointment!

      No but as you wrote, communication is key, especially on my part. For someone who is so chatty, I really do keep many thoughts bouncing around my head, forgetting that I didn't verbally communicate it. I need to work on that. : )

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  10. First off COOL that this 6 month mark has arrived. I'm a big believer in opening Champers on any occasion (with any excuse).

    With regard to co-habitation (which I do with hubby and toddler in a tiny flat) I actually hate it (despite loving both of them) and find that I will always be a single-girl/only-child. What helps when you get frustrated in to make rules. phone cord goes here, watering can goes there, type thing.

    Loved seeing you guys the other night.
    xx

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    1. Yes! It was so good to see you too! I enjoyed our chat! : )

      Definitive spots for communal household items is important. ESPECIALLY computer and phone chargers! That's when I get nuts is when I can't find the charger (meanwhile there are 3 in the house!) and my computer is about to shut down. Great advice, organization is imperative.

      Lol, I LOVE "in regard to co-habitation I actually hate it" Thanks for the chuckle!

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  11. You can't have your cake and eat it. If you want to procreate you'll have to go through this. :)
    And wait till you have kids: forget about quality alone/single time!
    Despite the incredibly high rate of divorces, unhappy couples, bad break ups, recomposed families, etc. People still want to get married and live together, according to statistics
    when you get married you have 1 chance out of 5 to succeed!
    And dont get me started on Feline AIDS! #DebbieDowner :)

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    1. Only YOU can get away with a snippy comment like this. : ) Just as long as you don't hide behind anonymous, I'm game for a little opposition or as you said, Debbie Downer.

      You know I was going to mention kids but I just didn't want to open that can of worms because my mother would have been on the phone asking if I was pregnant within seconds of reading.

      And you're right, divorces happen, my parents split when I was 2, I grew up with this mentality. Hopefully we'll be an exception not the rule. : )

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  12. You'll see it differently this weekend when he brings you coffee in bed!

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    1. Not this weekend, we're off early Saturday morning to go to Gilles' for his birthday bash. This year's theme: rock n' roll! He already sent us the burger and cocktail menu. I "pre-ordered" a burger called "Don't Look Back in Hunger" and a cocktail called "Smells Like Lime Spirits".

      Will give you all a recap next week! : )

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