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Let's Play House


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Let's Play House

In almost every relationship, there comes a moment when one of the participants decides it's time to play house. In a gay relationship, moving in together may not qualify as a legal marriage, but it comes close in terms of commitment.

Sharing household chores and bills is one of the surest ways to test the strength of a relationship. It's one thing to share a bed to make love. It's quite another to share the same bed when the only thing you want to do is sleep.

Does he hog the covers?

Are his arms flailing away in the night, repeatedly slapping you awake?

Does he control the remote, asking if you prefer Leno to Letterman then pouting if you choose Ted Koppel or Charlie Rose?

Is your bed really big enough to accommodate his dog and yours?

And if you're dead tired but he can't sleep and wakes you to make love, do you welcome the moment or want to kick him out of bed?

For most of us, living with our lover is an ideal that's worth whatever sacrifice it entails. But some of us are not made for co-habitation except, perhaps, with a pet. Sometimes we won't know what kind of arrangement is best until we've experienced the pure bliss, or unmitigated torture, of life with our lover, 24 hours a day. Love can grow stronger, but it can also die a quick death.

It all comes down to temperament, communication, and love.

No matter how democratic a relationship is, one partner is usually a little more dominant than the other. If you take the lead and tend to have the final say in most decisions, that's fine if your partner is basically submissive. He may be happy to have a man who takes charge. If he's a true sub, your dominance may be one of the traits that attracted him in the first place.

Such a man might be happy to forego sleep to satisfy the romantic needs of a restless lover. Even if it means spending the next day in constant struggle with the Sandman, heck, he had some fine lovin' the night before, and sometimes sex is more revitalizing than shuteye, anyway.

But sometimes a man who seems happy to be under your thumb is not submissive but shy, and simply finds it difficult to assert himself. He may avoid confrontation, but he's far from content. If you complain about the coffee stains he leaves on the stove-top, he might wipe them up, but he may resent your criticisms, especially if he has complaints of his own that he can't bring himself to share.

Are you using the bedroom floor as a hamper? Is the electric bill unreasonably high because you have a habit of using the TV as a night light? Maybe you're like the guy I once shared a house with who set the temperature on the fridge to freezing because he liked those chunks of ice in his Pepsi but paid no attention to how it affected my milk. Your partner may seethe so quietly that your only clue to his unhappiness comes when he's moving out.

If there's an Achilles heel in a relationship, it's probably our tendency to see our partner's faults more clearly than our own. The way to avoid disaster is to know each other well before you set up house together. The man with a desire to please often sacrifices his own happiness to accommodate his lover's needs, and may agree to move in despite having serious reservations about doing so. If that's the case, don't pressure him. Let him know that living together is important to you, but give him room to consider the consequences of such a move. Make sure he wants it as much as you do.

Two lovers sharing the same space are less likely to encounter the problems that befall the roommates who are bound together for purely economic reasons. The lovers can always kiss and make up, and the sex that follows may make the arguments worthwhile. But look before you leap. Make sure that the one you want to live with is as ready to take that step as you are.

by Brian W. Fairbanks

Writer for Date.info, the Webzine of Date.com

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