The first time I ever lived with a woman I was 23 years old. She was 21. I was in her car. She’d just picked me up from the airport and I had about 4 beers in me. We were living in Yonkers, NY and were both about to graduate. Neither of us wanted to move. Neither of us had any money. So, I popped the question.
“So, why you don’t you just move in with me?”
In retrospect I was unimaginably glib. It all seemed like some grand adventure to me. I was young and indestructible. My charm was unavoidable. We’d never argue, surely. We were in love. We both loved to drink. What could go wrong?
Flash forward 6 months and things were good but becoming meh. I had a terrible job working for Borders Books and Music which no longer exists. She worked at a wine dealer in Scarsdale and had somehow become a true believer in the place. It had become her calling. We were broke. God were we broke. I was making $7.50 an hour with a graduate degree from a top 20 school. She was making $9 an hour as I recall. We were barely getting by. We covered rent but had nothing left over so we were stuck in the house most of the time. We’d graduated and so had all our friends but they’d moved away. We were isolated and so we drank a lot of the wine samples she got and there were many. We had wine days on Saturdays to create the feeling of an event and that staved off some of the misery.
One Wine Day I laughed at a joke on a King of the Hill rerun (which is a satirical show if you don’t know) that she thought was sexist. King of the Hill did this often, it’s satire. She got mad, we argued. I wouldn’t yield and told her she should know me better. She wouldn’t let me leave the room, physically blocking me. She got in my face and said “I know you want to hit me” and I replied with “no I don’t, you’re fucking crazy” and slid around her against the wall to the left after faking to my right (thank you, high school basketball). And, well, it went to shitsnacks from there in the relationship.
A few months later I got a job offer out of state with a much better salary, a real salary. I wanted to move, she didn’t but said she would. I moved, bought a house I thought she’d like and that I liked and we struggled for a year and she never came.
I still loved her and she still loved me but it fell apart. I have deep scars from that one. They’re scars that will not heal. That was my first time.
The second time I lived with someone I was older, old enough to know better, 30, and she was young, young enough not to know better, 21. We met in my hometown during a Democratic Party rally, extremely boring, and entertained one another. She tried to say things to shock me, things that might have shocked someone who wasn’t me. We hit it off. She was an amazing flirter and had an incredible ass. She was living out in Utah and me in the DC area. We exchanged numbers.
Over the next few months we talked on the phone a lot, sent each other songs via youtube clips, got to know each other pretty well and decided she would come visit me on Halloween. She bought the ticket, made me chicken and steamed vegetables for dinner one night and we ate on the floor because my house was being remodeled. This was the house I’d bought thinking the first girl would move into it with me.
It was wonderful. It was joy and familiarity and light. I’d never seen someone so happy and I felt the same way. We carved jack o lanterns together and took photos with them and she eventually told me about some abuse she’d experienced as a child. I know that she didn’t want to get any closer without me knowing this. I was fine. I do not judge the victimization of others.
It would be fine, sure. I was me. I could handle anything.
Six months later we were living together. She did nothing all day for the most part and at first that was fine. Moving away from all her friends in Utah had made her extremely lonely and I worked long hours and my commute was an hour and a half to two hours roundtrip. When I got home I was tired and she was depressed. At first I was fine. She’d make friends eventually, I believed. She’d find a job that would get her out of the house during the day. Eventually she got one at Planned Parenthood and was very happy about it. I was happy for her. One month later, she quit because she couldn’t handle all the unhappy people there. The place was dirty, she said. She was disillusioned, she said.
Fine, find another job. She didn’t. She was always depressed. I begged her to get into therapy. She had abuse flashbacks during sex and would cry. I held her every time but it was no good. In my awesomeness, I could in no way fix this. I mitigated for her. I did everything I could think of. Eventually our sex life fell apart and then we fell apart. 9 months into living together and I was a wreck, always tired, always dreading going home. In the 10th month I told her I couldn’t do it anymore and gave her enough money so that she could move back to Utah and have rent for a couple of months.
This wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t her fault. A new love can only take so much. That was my second time.
Even more years later.
I met a girl on OkCupid and we went on a date. Then we went hiking the next weekend. She was hot, so hot, so I tried to sleep with her. She said no and I figured that we wouldn’t be seeing each other anymore. A couple of days passed and she called and ask if I wanted to see a movie. We went and saw that movie. I can’t recall what it was. I tried to sleep with her again. She said no, again.
Frustration and confusion.
She said she wanted to but she wanted to wait. “Wait for what,” I thought. We continued to see each other, three days at a stretch sometimes. She would stay over but no sex, no heavy petting, no oral, no nothing. Lots of spooning and kissing and raging erections for me. Two months in, she asked “are we dating?”
I hadn’t thought about it in that way. I hadn’t lived that way since I was in my Freshman year of college. I’d just gone out with people or made out with them and hit it off. Sex happened, relationship sometimes happened, and then whatever else happened would happen. Sometimes living together happened.
“Yes, I think we are.”
“Do you want to be dating,” she asked.
I thought about it, “yes, yes I do.”
So then we were dating and sex and more staying over and laughter and late nights and early mornings at work.
Months later, she asked “do you see a future with me?”
I thought about that very hard and I did but I was uncomfortable with it. A future? How do you live what you see in your mind? I’d never seen a future with anyone before. It had always just been this present now now now with no endgame, no plan.
“Yes,” I said. “Do you think we should move in together?”
“No,” she said. “I see a future with you too.”