The moment that I tell people about my living arrangements, I can see they immediately cringe and give me that ‘oh, that’s awkward’ face. But here’s why it’s not.
I know what you’re thinking: it’s what my parents thought, what my friends thought, honestly, what I thought. On my second date with my boyfriend, we were completely honest with each other: we laid out our situations on the table, put everything up front. One of his “situations” was his living arrangements. He and his mother had an apartment together, and eventually when he bought a house, he’d want her to have a mother-in-law suite. Of course I found it strange… until I met her.
Had my boyfriend not been upfront about it, it could have been different. And had I not immediately connected with his mother, it also could have been different. However, after six months or so, he invited me to move in, and I couldn’t have been happier. The three of us have since adopted a cat together and found an apartment the three of us could comfortably fit in. (Well, for now!)
How To Make It Work
So, how does it work? Well, the main component in our relationship is respect. From respecting each other’s privacy, to respecting each other’s space, to respecting each other in general, that’s the end-all be-all point. We help each other out — run some errands for each other, pick up after one other, and most importantly, communicate with each other.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past three years, it’s to communicate with each other. There are, of course, days when one us is in a bad mood, when one of us has to work over time, when one of us oversleeps, etc. etc. — those are all components of life that affect your living situation. But between respect and communication, you can make it work.
The other tip I would advise is be careful not to overstep. Each one of us has to do it — my boyfriend makes sure we’re all comfortable and our relationship is separate from his and his mother’s; she makes sure not get involved in our couple conversations, and I make sure that I don’t take advantage of the fact that I have an incredible boyfriend and an incredible future mother-in-law. She’s a mom — she’s going to offer to do things, she’s always going to try, but I can’t let myself fall into letting her spoil me (too much). I have to remember, just as my boyfriend does, that we’re both independent adults. We can do our own laundry, clean our own place, and do our own grocery shopping.
Of course, there’s the money component, and luckily, since we can communicate, this part comes easy for us. We split everything, and when we can’t afford something, we’re honest with each other about it. The conversations aren’t always as easy — just like with a roommate, everyone has to pull their weight. Luckily, as long as you open that communication and feel comfortable enough to approach each other with respect, it can work. Trust me.
HollywoodLifers, would you be open to living with your in-laws?