A while ago, shortly after arriving to Nashville in a 14-hour caravan from Dallas, I wrote about how overwhelmingly happy John and I were to be here and be moved in together. We were, and we are, but now several weeks in, the sparkly newness of it has dulled some. What I’m saying is, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies and Music City honky-tonks day in and day out over here. Duh.
There are tough parts about moving with your significant other to a brand new city, going from separate apartments to the same home, and settling into a different version of life from here on out. It is a bizarre experience, one that I am still sorting through and will be, I’m certain, for a while.
Not writing about this sorting-through period would be the easier choice, for sure, but I have been vocal about wanting to share both the highs and lows of this transitional period, and one thing I am not is a liar. There’s not a ton of preparation material out there for this situation, so it’s a lot of learn-as-you-go—my favorite…
Something I have certainly learned, and been smacked over the head with, during this transition is that John and I have different communication styles. Like, way different. You would think I’d have already known that from dating him for two years, which, in hindsight, I sort of did, but there’s a new level of daily interaction we now have by sharing a home.
I grew up super close with my mom and sister, so, as you can imagine, as three close female family members, we did a lot of in-depth talking about important life topics, asked questions, listened intently, and offered kind feedback and advice ever since I was a kid. This sort of intense, honed-in communication is what I’m used to and crave in any and all of my relationships (#needy), where as John is more stoic, thoughtful, and reserved in conversation. (This is what I get for going for the shy, good guy. JK love you, babe.)
Before we lived together, we’d see each other a couple days a week and text the rest of the time, which was honestly way, way easier. In texting, I knew I had his full attention since it was a clear back-and-forth, written-out conversation. Now, we obviously see each other every morning and night and often in between, and with all the distractions of technology and busy schedules, sometimes I find myself repeating things more than once. Or, I’ll say something and he’ll have no response for me right away.
His lack of immediate response or support right after I tell him something, I’ve learned, makes me feel as though he’s not listening, which sends me into a tailspin, when, in fact, he’s usually just processing what I said and thinking about his response. See? Ve-ry different channels over here. (Although, sometimes he really is not listening, so, you know, we’re working on that.) Something that I think is a positive, though, is we are both super willing to talk through these sorts of differences; neither of us likes to sit on our feelings and stew.
Plus, I’m obviously no saint and have caught myself not listening well when he’s speaking or not offering very engaging feedback, either, so it definitely ain’t a one-way street.
I think, as far as new obstacles from living together, the communication thing is our biggest, which is hilarious, since I was certain my OCD about cleanliness would be the major fight waiting to happen. I must’ve prepped him enough before the move, though, because this guy is suddenly a pro at putting his dishes away and helping me with the house.
Something else I’ve been struggling with, unrelated to my relationship, is not having a solid crew here in Nashville, or any crew for that matter. I live with John and our dog, Piper; I work for an amazingly sweet family watching their six-month-old during the week; I do freelance writing and editing work on a remote basis; and I have one close friend who lives here. My boyfriend, my dog, a baby, some email contacts, and one friend don’t exactly make for a killer happy hour group. I mean, I suppose they could, but that would be quite the motley mix.
It’s weird making friends as a post-grad adult. I still feel young and slightly cool (although writing this in a public space makes me feel less so), yet what’s a homebody, Netflix-loving, new-to-town gal to do to make a friend or two? Friends (who don’t live here) have suggested meetup.com, fitness classes, and friends of friends of friends who they’re “pretty sure live in Nashville,’’ and my mom would like for me to leave a note on every one of my neighbor’s doors inviting them to a game night.
First of all, a game night at our place would leave me with zero friends, and if you’ve ever played Scrabble or Hearts or any other game with John, you understand why. *cough* COMPETITIVE IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. *cough* Secondly, if I wouldn’t look like the creepiest neighbor on the block with that mass-invite and people actually came, then I’d be terrified THEY might be creepy for accepting an invite to game night from a random girl they’d never met. I would probably need to move. I watch too many scary movies for that anxiety. Do you see the dilemma here? I know I’ve lived here hardly a month, but it’s a struggle out there.
I think my next plan will be to simply hijack all of John’s and my one other friend’s friends and make them my own. See, guys? Moving is so fun!