Surprisingly few people will tell you the truth about living with a guy. This may be because saying the following out loud means admitting some ugly truths. Most surprising of all are the things your own mother may fail to mention about shacking up with your man. Depending on what side of the “living in sin” fence she’s on, this is because mom either wants to teach you a lesson, or genuinely doesn’t remember that far back.
1. You’ll get fatter.
Truer words have never been sung than those of the Barenaked Ladies: ‘She’s like a baby, I’m like a cat; When we are happy, we both get fat.’ Who wants to leave the new apartment to go to the gym, or buy groceries, or do menial chores like cooking, when you can just order in? Sure, carrying his disgusting futon to the curb will burn a few calories, as will the ensuing celebration on the new queen-size Posturepedic, but beware: Too much time on the couch + too convenient takeout is a dangerous combination for your favourite jeans and your self esteem.
Also beware the guy who wants to show off his Top Chef skills every night, especially if he insists on “plating” it himself. You can guarantee double the portion size you’re used to. Even if it’s the best quality locally sourced fare, eating the same size meals as your man means inching (literally) closer to wearing the same size clothes.
2. You’ll become incapable of operating a television remote control and spend more on cable than you would on beauty products each month.
NASA control panels are surely easier to manoeuvre than the intricate electronic system requirements for a big-screen TV, receiver, surround-sound tweeters and woofers, a Blu-ray player and a PVR. Try not to be overwhelmed by the five separate remotes, because if you complain, he’ll buy one giant universal remote and then you’re really in trouble: fewer buttons performing multiple functions!
Try not to focus on the days when you had your own place, with one simple remote, and 30 manageable channels. This will only interfere with your ability to concentrate while he explains for the hundredth time the elaborate sequence of commands that will give you sound + picture.
Never think about the fact that you pay for 600 channels and only ever watch the six that are in High Definition. And if you have to ask “Is this HD?” – it probably is, but by not being able to tell the difference, you just insinuated that his TV, and therefore he, is not good enough. Yikes.
3. You’ll be begging him to have a guy’s night out just so you can stay home and tweeze.
Those glorious non-date nights spent with your depilatory cream, pore magnifying mirror, deep-conditioning hair masques, tweezers and zit spot treatment are going to be few and far between now that you live together. Expect to get creative with your reasons to stay home from his (insert sport here) games unless you want to expose your guy to your warts and spots right away. Too-frequent sick days for home spa sessions might cause alarm at your workplace, so try to score an hour here or there when your guy won’t be knocking on the bathroom door wondering whether you’ve drowned in there.
There will be products in your shared bathroom cabinet that he may never have seen before, so try to ease him into it. Example: Foot powder is fine out in the open, but maybe keep the intensive anti-cellulite treatment in a special place. Of course he thinks you are beautiful no matter what, but you’re still entitled to keep your personal rituals personal.
4. You’ll become an odour-elimination specialist.
Assuming your love nest is an average sized apartment, you will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make it smell good. You’ll wonder how two such well put-together people can have such an embarrassing abode. Maybe: Everything he cooks uses a garlic bulb whose pungent scent wafts into every room, or
the clever shoe organizer hangs where every guest who enters the place gets a sniff of sweaty sneaker, or the storage room is taken up with the “odour reducing” kitty litter for the cat you insisted on, or the ripe hockey equipment is stored under the dining room table because of aforementioned kitty litter…
You will come to appreciate the features and benefits, strengths and limitations, of every single air freshener, smelly candle, plug-in, scented disk, scented oil, and fabric refresher spray on the market. It’s either that or never have anyone over. Ever.
5. You’ll learn that love is compromise.
Whether you were an only child or one of a dozen, you will learn more about sharing (‘How was I supposed to know that was the last of the chocolates your cousin sent from France?!’), and compromising (‘If my NHL duvet cover goes, so do your Anne Geddes prints!’) than any number of sleepovers, road trips or exotic vacations together.
Co-habitation will either bring you closer together, or bring you to the speedy realization that this not the guy you want to share a toothpaste tube with for life.
Either way, you never know until you try!