The Daily Illini

Leave judgment at the doormat


Let’s be honest. There seems to be a certain kind of taboo surrounding college couples that decide to live together. Not only could your relationship spontaneously combust the moment you sign the lease, but many students would also agree that your time would have been better spent getting to know your peers. I was once even asked by a concerned sorority girl if I was “scared of the judgment?” To which I responded, “The judgment?”

My answer to any of these questions is simple: If the time is right, you won’t think twice or worry about “the judgment” when considering cohabiting with your college companion. But, just like any roomie relationship, there will be good times and bad times. And it’s how you handle them that matters the most. With a little give and take, open and honest communication, and a whole lot of laughs (and wine), living with your significant other can be a whole lot of fun.

For me, the decision to move in with my boyfriend of three years was a no brainer. After meeting freshman year in the dorms, we spent every free minute together thereafter. However, by the time senior year rolled around, we were both so involved in extracurriculars and devoted to our schoolwork that our only interaction on a typical weekday involved a quick “Hey, how’s it going?” text. As a result, those five extra minutes spent together before class and in the evening make all the difference for us.

While living together isn’t always easy, it’s definitely been worth it. We’ve found that practicing reciprocity plays a huge part in our day-to-day lives, especially when the stresses of college really start to set in. These acts of give and take involve anything from basic things, like helping to clean up around the apartment, to being aware of what the other person is going through on a daily basis and being sensitive to those times when the other person is feeling the pressure academically. That way, you won’t be surprised or upset when your significant other neglects to do the dishes for days on end or seems to be acting distant on a given week that’s packed with exams.

In any functional, mature relationship, open and honest communication is essential. When living together, keeping an open line of communication becomes even more important. This is because living together and sharing your entire lives with one another means getting to know each other on a more personal level; consequently, you can also expect the “honeymoon stage” of your relationship to pass at an accelerated rate — which isn’t always a bad thing as long as you continue to make an effort in other ways. This not only means resolving conflict through conversation, avoiding passive aggression or letting pride dictate your behavior, but also making time for the “little things” that are often forgotten, such as saying you are sorry, giving compliments and offering encouragement.

Finally, living with your boyfriend or girlfriend should be fun — and, for the most part, stress-free. College is meant to be a time of self-discovery and the real focus should be on bettering yourself. After all, it is often said that college is the one time in your life when you are allowed to be selfish and completely self-absorbed. Be sure to take this into account as you contemplate your future living arrangements and always think about what will be best for you and your partner in the long run.

Anna is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]

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