When a couple reaches the point in their relationship where they decide to live together, they will always face some adjustments, both minor and major. Everyone has peccadillos and quirks that come to the fore when sharing a space with somebody else.
A recent AskReddit thread invited couples to share the most surprising things they discovered after cohabiting with their significant other. For those who haven't taken the plunge, let this serve as a warning — and for those who've already gone there, let it serve as some comfort that you're not alone.
The most popular surprise people cited was learning their partner's standard of cleanliness is very different from theirs. And opposite-sex couples were often surprised that their significant others defied gender stereotypes on this topic. ElToberino said, "I thought if I ever moved in with a girl, I'd have to be way less of a slob. Turns out I'm the neat freak in this relationship."
I know in my own relationship this is the case, and neither of us is a particularly messy person. But whereas grime and filth is my trigger, he's more likely to be aware of clutter than when the floors need cleaning.
Men are often surprised at the mysterious debris women often leave lying around. Where, for example, are all these hair accessories coming from? "I have never observed by wife put a bobby pin in her hair," wrote raddlesnake. And yet, he added, "I have found thousands of bobby pins in our house."
He isn't the only man attesting to this phenomenon. Darnitol1 joked, "I built a sunroom out of bobby pins and elastic hair bands. The new extra carport is coming along nicely."
Many men are also surprised by the amount of hair their girlfriends and wives shed, a fact they probably wouldn't learn if they didn't share a bathroom. "I once pulled Chewbacca out of the bathroom sink," said brownlawn.
Others described finding tons of hair stuck to the shower walls, which is definitely disturbing if you aren't expecting it. Many longer-haired folks attempt to prevent those Wookiee-sized clogs by combing through our hair as we shower and sticking the shed hair to the wall. Now, the intention is always to collect that hair at the end of the shower and dispose of it in the wastebasket. But sometimes we forget, leaving a disturbing amount of hair for our partners to find.
Oh, and that hair isn't confined to the bathroom, either, as DrDisastor discovered living with his wife who has, "really long, beautiful hair." As much as he clearly admires this trait in her, the consequence of all that hair is that it tends to get everywhere. I mean everywhere. "I was not prepared to find that all in my butt and crotch regions as often as I do," he mused.
Cohabitation can also shed light on how forgetful or absentminded your partner is. You might think they're totally organized and together when you keep separate residences, only to discover it's actually a true wonder they are able to function on their own. JohnyUtah_ said he hadn't realized "how often I'd be helping her find her car keys." Eventually, he said he hung a hook by the door for her. They have since split and he added it actually made him a little emotional when she texted a few weeks after the breakup to say, "I miss being able to find my keys."
Men are particularly surprised by women's affinity for decorative pillows. "Everything has a decorative pillow on it," said Ganglebot. "They are too small to be used for anything, and I'm not allowed to throw them on the floor or pile them all on one chair."
The pillows are seriously a major bone of contention among so many opposite-sex couples. "Where did these come from? Why do we need them? If they're just in the way, can we put them in storage? No? OK, babe — whatever you want."
Look, men, the answer is that they are pretty. And you can't put them on the floor because then they won't stay pretty. Just deal with it.
Just as men seem to be baffled by all the pillows and plants and knick-knacks women stereotypically like to decorate living spaces with, women are bemused by the starkness of men's homes, and there can be a definite adjustment period when they first co-mingle their households. "We haven’t moved in together, and my boyfriend has his own place," said SexySwedishSpy. "It’s sterile: it only has the furniture he needs and nothing else. I bought him a little plant, but it gets lost in the vast emptiness."
This one will resonate particularly with the introverts reading. OperativePiGuy explained living with his significant other made him realize he needed a lot more time alone than he thought. "I wasn't unhappy in the slightest and moving in was natural. But over time I felt myself becoming irritable and it turned out that I tend to get that way when I don't have time to myself, because I went from being alone in my room after work in my parents' house to being around my SO pretty much every minute i'm not as work or driving," he wrote.
Thankfully, once he realized what he needed, he was able to explain it to his partner, whose willingness to make space for him when he felt crowded actually helped him need less space. Funny how that works, huh?
A lot of women found themselves baffled by their male partners' ability to just sit and do nothing. "He can lay on the couch and state at the ceiling and do nothing and think nothing, and he enjoys it," wrote Flamingonotgone. As another user points out, this is often the start of an interrogation. "What are you thinking? Why are you so quiet? Are you upset? What's wrong?"
But the truth is, often they're really just thinking about nothing, or at least nothing very consequential. "Generally, when men do this we are thinking of something, but it’s just a really stupid train of thought," said Samtastic33. "And as soon as we stop thinking of something, it just zips out of our memory, like a dream."
Sounds fake to me but OK.
Sometimes the surprises come fairly late in living together, as waineofark found four years into living with her partner. "I opened a drawer of 'his' dresser... And it was empty. All of it. Apparently he thought it was my extra dresser," she said. It gets weirder. Apparently, instead of using the empty dresser, he keeps his clothes in a "clean clothes" hamper, except for socks and underwear, which he keeps in his nightstand. Reader, this man's system stresses me out to a degree I didn't think was possible to feel for a stranger's laundry habits. But here we are.
Many men also remarked on how surprised they were to learn just how much more toilet paper women consume than they do. "It got tot he point, I'd just grab a pack of TP whenever I went to the store for any reason" wrote NoahtheRed. Turns out it was a good move on his part. "We may not be out at home, but we will be soon I reckoned, and I was never wrong about that."
I've lived with my partner for nine years now, and I think he still doesn't quite realize how much I need. The other day he said, "Well, we have three rolls in the bathroom, so we should be good until next shopping trip" and I looked at him like, "Are you drunk?"
And speaking of the bathroom, women certainly have their share of realizations about the bathroom habits the men in their lives keep. Like, first of all, that they take forever for some of those No. 2 visits. "The true shock for me was the sheer amount of time my husband spends in the lavatory," said spindlemaker_magpie. Seriously, these guys need to introduce some more fiber into their diets.
However, as many men pointed out, most of that time on the commode is not spent doing the activity for which it is designed. They're catching up on their reading or having a nice long think. All I can say to that is there must be a more comfortable place in the house to do that. Whether you keep your pants around your ankles when you do is up to you, but for god's sake, free up the bathroom for someone else, man!
Living together with somebody also opens your eyes to some communication problems you never realized would be an issue. For example, Hbmc1123 was surprised to learn "how specific I have to be when giving instructions for something." It isn't enough to tell her husband "wash the sheets." She must also tell him to wash the sheets and the pillowcases, and she must also explicitly ask him to dry them after they're washed and to remake the bed with clean sheets and pillowcases. If she didn't, she'd end up with a washer full of wet sheets and an unmade bed festooned with pillows still sheathed in dirty pillowcases. The mind boggles.
Sleeping regularly with your partner can also bring some surprises when it comes to differing body temperatures. Some folks run super hot at night while others are constantly complaining about cold feet. It's baffling how two people can experience the same room as having completely different climates. As Katzimir_Malevich observed, "in every relationship there's a 'furnace' and an 'ice cube,' no matter the gender."
Thankfully, not all the observations were gripes and annoyances. A lot of people shared the pleasant surprises that came with living with their partner. For example, okidog12 said he feels "spoiled" by all the home-cooking he gets with his significant other. "I'd eat ramen and canned foods all the time when I was living alone," he says, and "the best part is she's been teaching me to cook. I love our cooking school sessions after work." And now_we_return gushed about, "how good she looks in the morning light when she makes toast, leans against the counter, and just craunches into it." I don't know what craunching is, but that's very sweet.