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The good and bad of come-we-stay relationships

 Photo: Courtesy

The good and bad of come-we-stay relationships

By Joy Carole (www.joycarole.com)

When I met the man I’m presently in a relationship with, the first decision we made was living together. After months of friendship, it was the last thing we expected to do and in all honesty, I have never shocked myself to that extent.

The whole encounter was off the wall, with a bittersweet kick off that became the best decision I have ever made. This was so because it was hard to blend our different personalities, dissimilar opinions and varied views on everything. It was a risk we took not knowing how far we will go with creating something worthwhile out of our attraction; and at the same time be housemates.

Through it all, I came to appreciate come-we-stay relationships which are the latest obsession in the dating world; and a thing the society considers depraved. Given that I have been there and done that, I deemed it insightful for you to know its good and bad sides if you will want to try it out.

The good side...

1. You will know a lot about each other

Staying together gives you the time and circumstances which will help you learn each other's strengths, weaknesses and reaction to situations. The frequent arguments serve as an opportunity for you to know who you are settling for because you will be familiar with the good, the bad, the annoying, the shocking; the hypocritical, the disgusting, the overwhelming and in the long run, you will come to know if you are compatible or not.

2. Both you and your relationship will constantly grow

Due to the continuous interaction, you will have the basis to correct each other, share ideas, set goals, pick each other when you fall; exchange advice hence become better people. As this happens, so will your relationship grow because you will always come face to face with problems that need to be fixed so that you relate better, move up and have a functional team.

3. It nurtures team work

When you stay together, you will stop being individualistic and start opening up to the fact that you are with someone else who you care about and want to be with; therefore your thoughts, actions and repercussions will be determined by this. You'll view your partner as the other member of a team which has to work and you will make it your duty to see to it that he or she is comfortable being part of your team.

4. It fosters certain attributes

This type of relationship changes a lot about you, your perceptions, ideas and view of life. It instills patience because you will have to be tolerant enough to understand and stay with someone very different from you. It will also make you more responsible (accountable) about yourself, your partner, what you say or do and how you handle the different situations you will come across.

Staying with your partner will also make you care more and teach you how to constantly serve and be there for another person other than you, your family, friends, employer or colleagues. In the end, you will also learn how to compromise and forgive because before you thoroughly understand each other, you will have to comb through lots of issues to find the middle ground where you can meet half way and still be happy.

5. It makes you work

The moment you are in a live in relationship, you will have to relentlessly work hard to make it functional. For instance, you will have to come up with mutually interesting activities that you will do when you are in the house, you will have to stay attractive almost every time and if you are having sex, you will have to find ways of keeping it interesting. There will be room for mistakes but at the same time, you will have to pick yourself up, learn from it and forge ahead. It is a journey that never stops; and if it does, that is the day it ends.

Now to burst your bubble ...

The bad side...

1. The arguments will be in plenty

After the first few months of laughter and living your fantasy, there comes a season of arguing. You will disagree a lot, you will find it hard to stay with someone different, you will quarrel over the slightest of things, you will walk out during the arguments, you will feel like packing your belongings and leave; and yes, it will all seem like someone just reenacted a part of World War 2 in your house.

If both of you are serious about being with each other, then always find solutions to your problems. Keep talking, don't nitpick, never judge, sit through the annoying arguments; change what is negatively affecting your relationship, only fight over what will make your relationship better, never try the silent treatment or blame game and do not point fingers until you have all the facts right. Trust me, it will pass and when it does, you will have learnt a lot more about your partner, yourself and relationship.

2. The 'world' will judge you

Expect certain people to have a problem with your choice of relationship. At the end of it all, if you feel it is okay with your beliefs, it’s right for you, you are serious about each other and the people who matter are comfortable with your choice of relation, then do what makes your heart fonder and ignore anything else that doesn't.

3. Pregnancy scares

To the women, if you are sexually active and you are not using any type of birth control, then you can get pregnant. Unfortunately, a pregnancy always complicates relationships especially if it was not planned for. So, if you have not talked about having a baby, go for a pregnancy prevention measure before moving in with your partner. This will help you be at peace, give you time to map out your goals and work towards achieving them.

4. You may become bored

It may reach a time when you will feel tired, bored or not in the mood for anything. For you not to get to this point, have your life too. Keep your friends, continue creating time to do what makes you happy, stick to your hobbies, chase after your dreams and do not stop working on becoming a better person. Living together does not mean your world has to stop or rotate around your partner. Never forget yourself because once you do, you will never be the true you in your relationship.

It has been three years and 24 days since I opted for a live in relationship and hell yes, it has been fun. I have been able to create memories that I never had and never thought I would ever have. Out of all this, I have learnt that love is what you create. You can choose to create love that hurts by cheating, lying, demeaning each other, picking unnecessary fights, having ego wars; or opt for love that cherishes, forgives, cares, empathizes, endures all, is understanding, respects and knows that it takes two willing people to make it possible.

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