After my marriage, I assumed I would never live with anyone again and I was fine with that. As long as I was having sex regularly and often, it mattered not to me. I’m nothing if not Fuck Motivated.
So this human and I have been together almost two years and after much traversing of highways in Los Angeles, CA, this bitch right here couldn’t do it anymore. That’s probably how I sounded when I told him “I can’t do this anymore,” like a bitch, or maybe just like someone with boundaries. It’s no accident that I had the courage to communicate my cohabiting needs partly because I was coaching not one, but two different women on being authentic with their partners about theirs.
He came around rather quickly, being somewhat Fuck Motivated himself, and having understood long ago that a relationship is the best way of ensuring maximum fucks given. (In every sense.) The house appeared by no less than literal magic, and we were on our way to domestic bliss*.
This relationship, it’s worth noting, is quite different both to the marriage, and the relationships preceding it. My marriage was so peaceful and amicable that the first time our children ever saw us bicker was after we’d separated. It was what they call a “low-conflict” relationship, and we still try to keep it that way, because we will always be family.
My current love relationship, by contrast, is more than a little stabby. And by stabby, I mean that in between wanting to love, appreciate, communicate with and fuck, we sometimes may also want to stab each other. Not only, but also. Out of love, of course. This desire to stab ebbs and flows, but may be intensified by each other’s cute little habits™.
So, here’s a list of 10 Ways To Shack Up Without a Crack-Up, in no way shaped by my own experiences moving in with my beloved.
1. Expect things to get messy. Whether literal or psychological, sexual or metaphysical, there will be solids, fluids, and gases where you didn’t expect them. Remember that the beauty in life cannot be found in a sanitized version of it, and shit will go wrong, but it’s okay as long as you can deal with it together. Sometimes my main coaching to clients is, “Don’t create a problem where there isn’t one.” Try to appreciate the blissful times, as well as the not so blissful. In short, enjoy both the picnics and the ants.
2. Don’t stab anyone. As tempting as it is to enact non-consensual violence on your partner, resist the knife block (or the gun cabinet). Hit up a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Anger” and cradle that rage in your hand like a precious bird instead. (Feel free to engage in consensual violence, because yay!)
3. Discuss money. The antithesis of clarity is vagueness. Being vague about finances invites assumptions and miscommunications. Remember that it’s only money, and it’s not worth ruining love for. Also it’s not only money, but if in doubt see 2.
4. Be appreciative. Someone is ready to put up with your strange sights, sounds, and smells in their domicile at all hours. In the case of a co-parent (like many of the divorced) the enormity of someone willing to step in to help raise children that are not their own shouldn’t be underestimated. After long periods of time, these kinds of sacrifices may become expected or rote. Don’t let them.
5. Recognize old stuff. If you have any trauma (congrats!) you probably have some lurking yuck that gets kicked up by the present moment, while not having anything to do with the actual present moment. Your partner already has to watch you do that nasty phlegm thing, it’s a good idea to work on processing the old, so that it doesn’t infect the new. This might mean therapy, coaching, or keeping the burning of effigies to old relationships in well-ventilated areas.
6. Do your part. As with your dating life, lead with what you’re good at. In a happy household everyone contributes their strengths, doing less of what they despise or don’t consider themselves good at. Think of the whole arrangement as energy moving back and forth between you instead of “tasks.” If you feel overtaxed, say so. Sometimes don’t say so, and give the other person a shot to return some energy to you in an unexpected way.
7. Don’t be an asshole. Sure, it’s tempting to roll out your worst character traits for proud display now that this person is stuck in a lease or mortgage with you. Resisting the urge to limit-test like an exhausted toddler will make you grow as a person. Your domestic dream doesn’t have to turn into a cautionary tale, just think of it as an optimistic experiment.
8. Follow your gut. Don’t allow your mind to drive you into doubt or resentment; unless the cunt/cad you’re moving in with is an obviously self-destructive choice, your instincts are what got you here. Trust that you have picked the perfect person for you at the perfect time, and love them up in a way they can feel. (Pro-tip that is not contained in the seminal The 5 Love Languages: some women prefer cunnilingus to flowers.)
9. Communicate about sex. Hopefully you have at least some chemistry with this person you chose to share a residence with, unless you’re a princess in an ivory tower who just moved in with her prince unsoiled by copious cocks. For the rest of us, it’s important to talk about things others find uncomfortable. If you confess your secret Argentinian maid fantasy to your partner, you won’t have to be mad at them for not reading your mind.
10. Fuck a lot. Your definition of fucking may vary, and if you don’t identify in the binary in either gender or sexuality, you’ve probably already give this some thought! By fucking I certainly don’t just mean P-in-V obvi, I mean snuggling, kissing, cuddling, licking, sucking, spanking, fumbling, and any version of physical intimacy, including side-by-side hand jobs while watching Sunday Night Football, though preferably not on a night when you have the kids… Have at it, in that happy place where you both get most of your needs met, and you will have that much more good will for the preceding items on this list.
Susanna Brisk is a Sexual Intuitive® who coaches clients and couples to get most of their needs met, most of the time. You can email her HERE.