On the Pleasures of Cohabitation

For the first time in thirteen years, I live with another human being. This is very different from living alone or with one or two pets. For one thing, pets cannot help with the dishes. I am loving the change, actually.

CW and I have always liked cooking together, but now we get to do it a lot more often. We’re also both making an effort to have good food around the house (instead of junk food) and our fridge is stocked with tons of healthy things. The best part, though, is that we’ve got a schedule going on where one of us will do the cooking on days when the other one was in the classroom all day. Today, I’m in the classroom and meetings all day, so tonight he’ll be cooking dinner for me. Yesterday, it was the opposite. I LOVE this system. Coming home at the end of a long work day to find someone making your dinner? So, so nice.

This rooster's name is Little Jerry.Table

In general, I think it’s so lovely just to have another person around so that when something needs to be done, I’m not always the one who does it. In thirteen years of living alone, I got very used to doing absolutely everything for myself. I mean, I suppose that goes without saying. And it goes without complaint, too. I never minded doing everything for myself because, well, why would I mind? It was just a fact of life that simply existed without the need for commentary or even much thought. Sometimes you just do things, as Scott Jurek would say. I did, however, occasionally have these pangs of longing for someone else to be there — so that I could have someone else take out the trash or lift the heavy things or empty the cat box. I was fond of joking, during my happily single years, that what I really wanted in life was not a boyfriend but a butler. I’m sure that sounds terrible. Of course, falling in love with someone changed my mind about that; having a partner is significantly better than having a butler would (I imagine) be. For one thing, he’s not there to get paid. And, bonus: I no longer do everything around the house myself anymore. I do about half of the things and he does about half of the things. Now if only we could agree on whether bowls go on the top or bottom rack of the dishwasher. Heh.

Sharing these things takes away some of our individual burdens, but adds a layer of responsibility, too. It’s not just my own space I’m neglecting if I feel too lazy to keep it neat; it’s also someone else’s space. Or our space, really. There’s a lessening of some kinds of weight, balanced by the (happy) shouldering of other new commitments.

In a sort of unexpected change, I now find, too, that there is so much more music in my life. For someone who sees herself as a Music Person, it’s odd how rarely I actually used to put music on at home to listen to. For the past several years, my primary music-listening times have been in the car, on a run, or walking from the parking deck to my office building and back every day. That’s not a lot of time for the tens of thousands of songs I have in my iTunes library. But CW, on the other hand, puts music on all the time. When we’re cooking or hanging out or having a cocktail at the end of the day, we’re usually listening to music. Good music. And then there’s his guitar — every now and then, guitar notes will drift in from another room and I’ll find myself treated to lovely live music in my own home. And he’s often amenable to requests, such as the Friday night we came home late and I requested a fairly silly song and he obliged me and I thought to myself: I am very lucky.



  1. Lovely. Dinner’s ready when I get home because JG gets home 2 hours before me. Score! But I do all the dishes, so I think it evens out. 🙂


  2. Aw, I love this. I’m so happy for you, and as another person who has lived alone for a long time, you give me hope that cohabitation might turn out to be really, really great. The boyfriend and I are talking about it as a possibility. I’m equal parts scared and excited to no longer live alone…some day 😉


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