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Living together for first time

Community Member

Hi everyone,

My partner has just moved in. I've lived alone for many years and am used to doing things my way and having my own space and choice as to what I do and when I do it. After a long period of a long distance relationship, he has now moved to my city and into my place. I went into it feeling optimistic and was aware that I need to conromise and be welcoming so he feels like it is his home too.

However, we'd not so much as gone on a holiday together before so this is a big jump to a full time live-in arrangement. He got rid of most of his furniture and changed jobs to make the move. It's an amazing gesture on his part.

I am finding myself being easily irritated in our first week and struggling to feel attraction at the moment. One thing that has caused a lot of grieg yesterday and today is that I am not used to sharing my bed, so I am used to having silence. He has tended to sleep on his side facing the middle of the bed (i.e. in my direction). He tends to breathe through his mouth so it can be noisy. I thought for a long while how I can respectfully ask him to roll the other way without upsetting him. Eventually I gained the courage to politely ask him. He asked why so I said I am not ised to someone else's breathing and it is in my ear and a bit loud for me. He then said, "Ok... I'll hold my breath or mouth breathe this way." This morning, I asked how his sleep was, as I always do, and he said he hadn't slept all night because of what I said and that he became self conscious.

I think he thought I was implying that he is particularly noisy. I tried to explain that anyone lying next to me might have the same effect while I am adjusting.

This morning, as he was getting ready for work, he made a few comments that he was sleepy and would try to get through the day. He didn't ask how I was (I didn't sleep either, as I felt that I had said something demoralising and hurtful). He hasn't really asked how I am at all this week, despite him knowing this is an incredibly hard adjustment for me.

Did I go about this the wrong way? Is this kind of bickering normal for the first week? I can't help but have doubts, but feel stuck because he gave so much up for me.

18 Replies 18

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Guest_342,

I feel you did your best to voice out the issue, and this might be something the both of you have to get used to if you plan to share a bed together (i.e you'll have to adapt to noises, while he has to adapt to a different sleeping position). While he did compromise a lot in order to be closer to you, it was his choice to begin with, so you can appreciate the gesture and do your best to make adjustments in your current lifestyle, but also keep in mind that the choice is his responsibility to manage. There may be solutions out there, which the two of you can try to work out. Maybe some kind of noise cancelling headphones/ear muffs, or a bigger bed where the two of you have more space between each other (just throwing out suggestions out there).

As for the bickering, I feel it is normal for couples to have friction in their relationship when they start to get comfortable with each other, and allowing each other into their own personal spaces. This is when the two of you learn to make adjustments to your usual lifestyles, in order to accommodate having each other in one's life. Relationship is both sweet and plenty of sour, but if the two of you can work things out together, that'll strengthen your relationship in both your journeys together.

Hopefully that helps, happy to listen to you more Guest_342 🙂


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Guest_342,

It’s only natural that you will have these feelings after living on your own for such a long time. It will be an adjustment, which takes time, but you will need to do it if you ever want to have a relationship again where you live together. So it’s important to recognize it for what it is, period of adjustment, and try not to be overly critical during this time. Instead if you feel yourself getting easily annoyed, take yourself out for a coffee, go for a walk, if you have any hobbies do those etc. Your partner will be feeling the exact same way as you I can assure you, he has given up a lot to move in and so will be sensitive to any slight signals that things aren’t going right and will likely have doubts as well. The best thing to do is sit down early and explain to him that you are used to living on your own so this is a huge adjustment for you and you apologize in advance if you are critical or set in your ways but you are working on that. And invite him to express how he’s feeling. Open communication is key to any successful relationship and I’m sure you will be able to navigate this together

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Guest-342, when you have a long distance relationship, then it poses many unknown questions, although the two of you may love each other, but you can't be sure how you will be able to live together, that is who has the first shower, what time do you eat and the the TV shows you like, will you or he have to watch what you like or vice-versa, so there are many situations you don't know until you start living together.

Making comments about this when you're in a long distance doesn't satisfy the actual situation when you are living with each other.

If you can't sleep with one another then this is a good indication of how the rest of all the other arrangements will evolve.

I know he has sold his goods, changed jobs to be with you, however two people can't live together until they have been involved with one another and know how each person thinks and behaves when they actually see each other on a daily basis.

To move in straight away from a long distance is definitely a gamble, I'm sorry to say.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Guest_342~

I can sympathise with your problems, as far as I can see you are dealing wiht at leat three big factors, and being irritable can be only human.

The first is of course that any long distance relationship does not tell you all about a person, no matter how attractive they may appear on the screen. There is - obviously - no physical element, and here I'm taking about how they drive, what TV they watch, if they lay in a store of toothpaste and everything else -a huge amount of unknowns. You only see what is available when both of you sit down to interact.

Most importantly you do not see how they deal wiht an argument or difference of opinion. Making a cuppa and offering it is a great ice-breaker. Neither do you realy see how sensitive they are.

The second is you are in your late 30's and are living in your home, somewhere you may well have been living in for some time. Your new partner is in some senses an intruder. You may like dishes washed at once, he may prefer to leave them to pile up. He may want to co-opt spaces you had always regarded as your special places for relaxation, work or any one of umpteen important uses.

I'm only giving a couple of possibilities, I'm sure you are finding a whole lot more.

Now, with changing jobs (true he was not that keen on his old one), and selling up. Yes that is a big commitment, in someways maybe in his eyes a bigger one than yours. So he could well be worried that he has no easy way to retreat.

Neither of you may be practiced at giving way.

With good will, an overwhelming desire to be with each other - and hopefully great and constant consideration for the other - is needed equally by both. A big dash of humor helps.

One of the really big and hard questions I had to ask myself after my first wife passed away and I was about to remarry was did I want 'the concept' of a partner and family, or did I want the actual person involved above all else. (I hope that makes sense)

As all have said communication is vital. I have an image of both of you in that bed, both awake. Neither talking to the other until it is time ot get up.

Fear to start talking or something else?

Incidentally a probably silly question - why not swap sides?

I hope I've not been too blunt. With love and flexibility many people have made these transitions. I've gone from email interaction to briefly dating then someone moving in, and it has worked most excellently.


Hi Jt,

I very much appreciate your thoughtful suggestions. You're certainly right about us both having to adjust. It's going to be a steep climb for me, with my existing anxiety and being very much set in my ways having lived alone for 12 of the last 14 years and achieved everything so far by myself. It's a matter of whether I can do it, I think. But I will definitely take your recommendations and try hard.

Thank you so much for generously giving your time to respond to me.

Hi Juliet,

Your suggestions were wonderful - I took your suggestion and explained to him that I may be a little short or terse over the next little while as I adjust and that it's so hard for me and that I acknowledge he is finding the move difficult for other reasons.

I really will make sure to continue to have 'me time' and I also recognise the value in your suggestion to take sone 'me time' to help myself calm down in sotuations where I am feeling unhappy.

Thank you so much.

Community Member

I appreciate your thoughts, Geoff. Yes, it is a gamble, however it was the only feasible option we thought we had for now.

It's so useful to hear an entirely different perspective from others on this - Your post puts me at ease that perhaps reality doesn't always pan out in favour of making things work.

I'm going to give things a good try but you post helps me to be kind on myself if I try but we don't succeed.

Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate it.

Community Member

Hi Croix,

I was so happy to hear that you have found success in navigating something sort of similar.

As with Geoff's post, I really do appreciate your honesty. I also appreciated that you offered me some constructive options.

And, my gosh, did your 5th-last paragraph resonate with me! I have always struggled to distinguish between the heart and the mind. The desire to be loved and to have human comoany can make one's mind produce some very convincing things!

Your suggestion about swappung sides is a great one, and one that I too have considered. We thought we might do that every few weeks or so anyway to ensure the mattress keeps its shape.

Thank you so much, Croix.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Guest_342~

I don't think that wanting a partner, company or a family in the abstract is necessarily a deal-breaker. In fact I suspect an awful lot of people start out that way, looking for an idealized situation.

Humans change, and what may have started out that way can easily become genuine feelings for the other person. Your are obviously going down that path, even if you only saw part of the person, otherwise you would not have wanted him to move in.

Of course I have been cross and hurt, so has my partner, however we've managed. I'd have to say a lot was due to her generosity. As time has gone on and we knew each other better conflict and upset has happened less and less, now for a very long time we have lived in harmony.

I hope it can happen for the pair of you too.