Jeffrey and I are in what Manhattanites consider a long distance relationship; he owns a co-op studio in East Midtown, and I rent with a roommate in West Harlem. It’s only about four miles, but it takes at least forty minutes by public transportation, and it includes a crosstown bus ride. I actually know a couple that broke up because of a commute similar to ours.
When I tell people about our current living situation, they are universally shocked. The boy I babysit for questioned me about it the other day. He asked when we were planning to move in together. I told him I didn’t think we would until after the wedding, and he stuttered, “With the price of rent these days?!” Did I mention he’s ten?
The truth is, I’m ready to be living with him. We spend about six nights a week together. One of the only fights we have is when we’re out together and we can’t agree whose place to go back to (because neither of us likes parting at the end of the night—me especially). Jeffrey keeps urging me to find a subletter and move in with him already. He says he gets embarrassed explaining our living situation because it just seems so odd to everyone we know.
But something is holding me back. I try to explain it to him. I come up with all sorts of logical explanations. His place is too far from school; the kitchen’s too small; it doesn’t get enough light; I hate living next door to Bloomingdales; I’m a West Side girl; I’d miss the culture of my neighborhood…
None of that is true, though. I mean, it’s all true, a little bit, but there’s a huge part of me that wants to move in with him so badly that none of those things matter. I am not someone who needs her alone time. Nor do I need my own space. (Jeffrey and I often end up sharing his side of the bed…) I know that moving in with him is the practical thing to do, and I know that we’ll be perfectly happy living there together once we’re married. I feel super comfortable in his place, and despite my complaints, I actually like it a lot.
But I chose my apartment. My roommate and I searched the city for a place we could afford, painted the walls despite the no painting clause in the lease, and carried Ikea furniture home on the subway in order to furnish it. I planted vegetables in the community garden out back, and I made friends with the man at the corner deli who sells me OJ. My roommate and I started out together completely broke, living four girls to a one bedroom apartment seven years ago. This latest place, with enough space to cook for dinner parties and enough light to keep my plants alive feels like a major accomplishment; it feels like a home.
I am so excited to be Jeffrey’s wife and to build a new home with him. I have no doubt that I want to fall asleep every night with him by my side. But the thought of giving up my own space to move into his is one that I haven’t come to terms with yet. It feels a little bit like giving up a piece of my self, which is not something I plan to do in this marriage. So I’m working on it.