Gay Fresno - Opinion
Pecs and the City
So, you finally met the one, you've played the dating game, set the sheets on fire, learned to sleep in the same bed and left your toothbrush at his house. You finally found the courage to say the L word — that's love, not lesbian — and now you're left with that final step. Cohabitation. Terrifying, right?
Someone is going to be there with you all the time to see you at your worst. Will he still love you when he sees you every day, warts and all? Not only that, the odds are you won't be able to leave your cereal bowl on the coffee table for a week. It's scary and exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.
Yes, I'm fully aware that I have written about the joys of being single and living alone. I believe my exact words were: "Not only are you free to date and flirt and fuck to your heart's content, but you can watch porn any time you want, throw your clothes on the floor and drink orange juice right out of the carton. It's awesome. If you want to jump up and fly to Vegas for a weekend full of whiskey and wet Platinum, have at it. If you want to strip down and dance on the coffee table in nothing but your Asics, knock you, sell out. Freedom reigns, baby." I still believe that. If you're single.
I also revealed the other side of the coin: "You do sleep alone — that can be a blessing or a curse, I guess — and there's no one waiting for you when you get home. You have no one special to share life's amazing moments and no one to hold you close when you're feeling down. When you're alone, you are alone with your empty bedroom and uninhabited living room seemingly closing in on you."
There are pros and cons to a life lived with the person you love. Are you familiar with the saying "familiarity breeds contempt"? Let me boil that down for you: it means being around someone all the time has the tendency to make you want to slit his throat while he sleeps. Okay maybe it's not that bad, but just like every other facet of a real relationship living with someone takes a lot of work. The quirks and bad habits that you both have will be thrust into a spotlight.
Oh, you don't have any bad habits? Is that so? See the thing is what you may not consider a bad habit may actually be something that drives your partner crazy. Maybe you feel like the dishwasher has to be loaded a certain way in order to get the maximum cleaning effect. Sounds like a good idea, right? But when someone puts the dishes in the dishwasher in a way that you feel is incorrect and you complain about this time and time again, your nagging is definitely a bad habit.
Here's an example: when my boyfriend leaves half empty water bottles or glasses of water sitting around my apartment I tend to pick them up and take them to the kitchen. I feel like unless we are currently starring in the movie Signs, there's realy no need for this kind of behaviour. It turns out he leaves them scattered around so he has water nearby whenever he needs it, which is perfectly logical and apparently quite common. When I get rid of the bottles and glasses he has to go back to the kitchen for more water and this tends to irritate him. These are two perfectly normal behaviours, but each of us sees the other's actions as a bad habit.
There are plenty more extreme examples, but I used this one as one way to say how the smaller things that will annoy you about your partner are trivial, and all you have to do is shrug them off and your new life together will be so much easier. There's a huge difference between the bad habit of selling heroin from your house and the bad habit of leaving the cap off of the toothpaste. You need to always remember to pick your battles.
When you live with someone there are many decisions you will have to make and responsibilities you have to share. Just like every column I've written in these pages about every part of a mature and healthy relationship, communication is the key whether you're discussing the proper place to display your vintage Star Wars poster or whether or not to paint the house as pink as Nicki Minaj's new wig, all decisions are made together. Compromising and keeping an open mind are staples a your new two-sided decisions. Some things don't need to be discussed in a committee — like when to feed the dogs or which show to watch first on the DVR, but the things which affect you both and the things that both of you feel strongly about are definitely going to be on the table.
Believe it or not the dynamic of a gay relationship actually lends itself to faster resolutions. I'm sure you've heard that irritating and somewhat homophobic thing that straight people say: "well, which one of you is the wife?" Well, guess what? Because there is no traditional division of power — which even now in the age of empowered women seems archaic — it is a known fact that gay couples argue more constructively and with more humour than our heterosexual friends. Not only that, but fairness and power sharing are more prevalent in gay relationships than they are in straight relationships. What does this mean? It means that we can come to a civil solution a lot quicker than Dick and Jane arguing over what kind of wallpaper to put in the master bathroom.
Now let's say you can't come to an agreement about something involving your home or your money or your relationship and your discussion is now a full-blown argument. The best advice I can give you is don't go to bed until it's resolved. Going to bed angry is the absolute worst. It feels like there's a thousand miles between the two of you as you lay there waiting for the other person to apologise. So let me repeat myself: never go to bed angry. Simple, right? The one thing you have to realise, however, is that you have to be mature enough to cool down your argument, talk it out until it's resolved, and then engage in, ahem.. "making up". All before that 6.45 a.m. alarm.
So we've talked about communication and keeping your fights out of the bedroom — two simple things that often don't feel very simple — but there's one other thing that is very important: time for yourself. Like I said earlier; being around someone every day can be taxing, especially when you still haven't learned to shrug off the petty annoyances that come with cohabitation.
It's in everyone's best interest if both of you take time away from your relationship (Disclaimer: When I say time away from your relationship. I do not mean the kind of "time away" where you have sex with other people.) to do your own thing, whether it's hanging out in the clubs with your friends, spending the afternoon riding the trails or going to a movie that your partner has no interest in seeing. It can even be a trip home for a couple days to visit your parents or a weekend trip out of town to catch up with an old friend. It's surprising how much you appreciate someone when you haven't seen them for a few days. I guess that other saying: "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is veny true as well.
Now that we've gone over the ways to survive living with the person you love without going to jail for murder, let's wrap this up by talking about how awesome it can be. A smile always waiting for you when you get home. A body wrapped in your arms at night. A constant companion and friend to share all the little things that make you happy. A helping hand in repairs, yard work and even in your latest culinaly experiment. A wardrobe consultant when you need it and a voice of reason when you really need it. A sounding board when you want to rant about work or complain about the character development on The Vampire Diaries. It's all of these things and so much more. It's everything every one of us hopes for and dreams about when see are ready to settle down and share our lives with someone who is our partner and our equal. Keep an open mind and an open heart as you start your journey together. Fill your home with light, love and laughter and everything else will fall into place. And don't forget to pick up your water bottles.