For my boyfriend, the move was a pretty jarring change to his normal routine. He was ready and excited to make this transition, but had never had the responsibility of taking care of his own apartment—nor had he truly experienced what it’s like to live away from his family and to plant roots in a new community.
I’ve been living on my own, away from my family, and providing for myself since I graduated college. So when he arrived, I didn’t expect his new responsibilities—cleaning his apartment, transitioning to a new job environment, and carving out enough quality time for me, to be huge hurdles. But it was a tall order, and often things didn’t play out as I planned.
His to-do lists were rarely completed. And I was often frustrated that he was napping when I wanted to spend time with him—although I knew his work shift usually started at 5 a.m. Needless to say, I wasn’t entirely happy with how things were going. It was a rough couple of weeks and pretty soon things came to a head.
One Friday he was off work, so I took some time off too to help him get settled in his new place. I was trying to tell him something that morning, but before I was done speaking he started to look at his phone.
My hyper-sensitivity kicked in. I inwardly seethed that he was not paying attention to what I had to say. Shortly thereafter, I found myself putting away his laundry, frustrated that he had left me to do his chores.
Before I knew it, I was crying. And when he noticed I was crying, he was upset. I was taken aback because anger is not his normal response to my tears. He looked at me and said, “Morgan, this has to stop.” I didn’t get what he meant at first.
He explained just how challenging this transition had been and how he was struggling to adjust to so many new things all at once. He said my sensitivity to every little thing he did that even slightly bothered me, was beginning to make him feel like a failure and that he couldn’t do anything right.
I was crushed. I hadn’t realize he was struggling so much, and I had no idea how much my behavior was affecting him.
What followed was a tough conversation, but one that I feel ushered in a new era in our relationship. We vowed to start communicating better and to try to help and love each other in ways we both need.
I said I would try to relax a bit and give him the benefit of the doubt. I also promised to express my thoughts and feelings sooner, rather than letting them fester and ruin an entire day. He promised to be more attentive, not to let all the chores fall on me, and to prioritize quality time together.
We definitely had a rough patch, but the last few weeks have been going really well. We’re not perfect and we’re both still figuring out what the other needs, while not neglecting our own emotions and needs. But we’re doing a heck of a lot better than we were.