If you’re an independent and free spirit but you meet the love of your life, you may feel quite apprehensive about moving in with them, despite being head over heels in love. Moving in together can initially be an unsettling experience and sometimes you wonder just what it means for you as a person and your carefully carved-out strong, independent identity. How can you get around this and adapt (without losing yourself), and get to that moment when me becomes we?
Many of my friends have struggled with this adjustment at varying times in their lives. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that there is a shift to a more inclusive, ‘we’ mentality, and it’s sometimes even harder to accept if you’ve been used to living independently and only sharing your space with a few flatmates and keeping your things and your routine as something that revolves entirely around you. There does need to be a shift in perception and understanding when you move in with someone, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Here are a few things that show how the change from ‘me’ to ‘we’ could naturally and enjoyably evolve:
Me Becomes We In A Change Of Routines
When you establish the things you both enjoy doing, you can see where your previous ‘getting home from work’, or weekend routines could better fit around the two of you, rather than just suiting you alone. For example, if you used to go out on Saturdays to get the newspaper and a coffee and you spent hours poring over the articles and having a slow start to the day, maybe you can keep to that routine if your boyfriend/girlfriend has their own favorite thing to do, like watching a car show on TV, but if you both share a love of coffee and newspapers then why not make a thing of it? You can take it in turns to go out and get the coffees while the other stays in bed in their pyjamas, or else go out to a favorite cafe that becomes ‘your cafe’.
Developing A List Of ‘Our Things’
As you started out sharing favorite songs, books and films in your early days of dating, so you can continue to build and strengthen these kinds of shared tastes to be able to enjoy a more ‘we’-centred outlook. If you swapped a few mix CDs or iPod playlists back and forth, why not culminate the songs you both love into a whole playlist for long journeys in the car when you travel to see friends or family? This kind of mutual enjoyment will help to bring you closer together into a more ‘us’ mentality. If you find a film you both love, you might want to watch it on anniversaries or Valentine’s Day to help you feel more of a ‘united front’ in amongst your, perhaps busy and otherwise separate, working lives.
The ‘In’ Joke
If you have spent a lot of time together, this will evolve naturally. Your shared experiences will develop into shared understanding about things that others might not know or have seen. For example, if you saw a film you both liked, where a character made a gesture that meant, ‘crazy’ or ‘stupid’, you could adopt a version of this that is a subtle way of showing, while in polite settings with unfamiliar company, when you both think someone is acting crazy or said something utterly bonkers. That secret code, either as a gesture or insider jargon, is the way in to thinking as ‘we’ and not just ‘me’.
I had a friend who loved hippos and her boyfriend, by proxy I suppose, became rather fond of hippos too, so they started a collection of hippo figures and hippo-shaped things. After a while, they needed to buy a proper cabinet to put them in and this meant that everyone soon discovered that they were the ‘hippo’ people, and bought them hippo-related presents at Christmas and on birthdays. By their sharing that fun little idea, they grew to be more of a team, indulging in their little hippo world that they had set up. Another friend used to like books on American cities, and New York in particular, so she and her boyfriend used to buy second hand books on places like Chicago, San Francisco and New York. The collection built up to be ‘their thing’ that people would admire and flick through whenever they visited their house. From this point of view, a ‘we’ mentality is developed by others observing you as a couple, but that in itself, surprisingly makes the inner ‘you’, plural, a greater and stronger, ‘we’.