Anshul and I had been dating for just six months when we decided to move in together. Now a typically orthodox Indian mind would react to a live-in relationship with a “Haawwwww.” Trust me, even I was a bit skeptical about the idea. But Anshul had a point - we were in the same college, we ate meals together, studied together and spent almost every waking minute with each other. Since, we were living in a different city from our parents, there wasn’t much issue in moving in together.
A part of me was super excited - I would get to spend so much more time with my boyfriend! We would do things together like cooking, doing the dishes, and of course sleeping together cozily cuddled up each night. And every time he behaved like a typical boy, I would get to yell, “Boys will be boys!” Plus, the thrill of doing something not-so acceptable in our society, was a challenge I was totally up for. However, all the responsibilities that come with running a house on your own kind of scared me.
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What actually happened after we moved in was quite different. I mean of course we had all those romantic moments and crazy sex, as I had wanted. What surprised me was Anshul’s amazing skills at running a house…single-handedly. I never had to move a finger and everything was done. From cooking to laundry to managing payments for electricity and all. He took care of it all, leaving just the “doing the dishes” bit for me. It made me realize how gender roles have really blurred in this age and time.
When I was living on my own, I could barely make a sandwich and my laundry would pile up for days. And, I saw how Anshul was managing home and life in general efficiently. He was an ardent student and a man who knew his way around the house. Witnessing this side of him, made me respect him but I also felt inadequate at times.
On days when he was too caught up with assignments my poor skills to handle household chores led to terrible fights. It’s not like I wasn’t willing to share the responsibilities, it was just that I actually struggled to do simple things like cooking a decent meal. We started fighting often, little habits of each other started irritating us. The academic pressure also added to our already stressed situation. All these were unanticipated part of living together and neither of us were prepared to deal with these. Yet we maintained our calm (well, on most days).
Over time, I learnt some household chores, while Anshul learnt the patience to teach me things that I did not know. I started helping him with his projects. With each month, we came to know how to actually live with each other. We shared chores and responsibilities, and we even set aside punishments (some naughty ones too) if one of us didn’t take care of our chores.
The number of fights and arguments gradually came down. We understood that when you live together, you will have disagreements and misunderstandings. Sometimes you will even fight over the most trivial issues, like taking too long to dress up or misplacing the remote control. While some days will be fine there will be those days when you need to work on your relationship.
This experience helped me to become more independent and responsible. I learnt that love is so much more than date nights and hooking up - it is about keeping your differences aside every night before going to bed. It is about sharing a life together and growing, with each other, like two pieces of a puzzle fitting better with each passing day.
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Over the time, I developed an indomitable faith and trust in Anshul that led me to know for sure that he was the man I wanted to spend my life with. To put it simply, living with Anshul made me fall in love with him.
Our decision to live together made us test the strength of our relationship and I am proud to say we came out strong.
* Names changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Sep 17, 2016