I moved in with my boyfriend before lockdown — now I’m questioning everything

Group Chat is In The Know’s weekly advice column, where our editors respond to your questions about dating, friendships, family, social media and beyond. Have a question for the chat? Submit it here anonymously and we’ll do our best to reply.

Hey, Group Chat,

I moved in with my boyfriend in February, one month before our city was completely locked down because of coronavirus. We’d been dating for two years, and, at the time, it seemed like a great idea. But now, two months into quarantine, spending every day with them has me questioning the entire relationship. 

It’s the little stuff more than anything. They’re messier than I realized, and I feel like I’m usually the only one doing dishes or cleaning up. Also, they constantly talk way too loud during work calls while I’m sitting in the room — sometimes just to B.S. with coworkers. All of this is happening while I still have my own calls and a job to worry about. Since quarantine restrictions are easing up in our state, I’m wondering if I should air these frustrations with my partner and bring up one of us moving out. At the same time, I’m worried this might cause a fight so big that we just break up, which I don’t think I want. What should I do?

Sincerely, 😩

Dear 😩,

Kelsey Weekman, quarantining with her husband, says — I actually relate to the villain of this story. I don’t know what is broken inside my brain, but I can’t do the dishes. I just can’t, so I … just don’t. My husband graciously handles that, and I do the laundry every single time, no questions asked. Bargaining like that — and sacrificing for the person you adore — is just part of being life partners. Plus, and this might be hard to believe, messy people are still worthy of love! While there’s no excuse for this kind of “despicable” behavior, sometimes we don’t realize what our bad habits are until someone taps us on the shoulder. Who better to let us down gently than the person we love most in the world?

Your entire lives together will be about compromising little parts of your very different preferences, but each tiny sacrifice will be colored with bursts of love and inexplicable delight. You’re just getting started.

Katie Mather, quarantining with her Aries boyfriend, says — First of all, spending this much time with anyone is deeply insane. On top of that, everyone in the world is acting like a monster because they think this pandemic is only happening to them (when in fact, it is me who is struggling the most). Nobody is behaving like they normally do right now, so your boyfriend’s faults might not be authentic red flags. Take, for example, me eating buttered spaghetti for every single meal: Normally, I would not be acting like that, but right now, all bets are off.

That’s not to imply you shouldn’t say anything. You should absolutely bring up pressing issues so you’re not bottling up your emotions and internally screaming all day. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that moving in together during quarantine implies you are doomed to listen to your boyfriend’s loud work gossip forever.

Alex Lasker, quarantining with her mom, brother and boyfriend, says  — The act of moving in with someone can strain any relationship. And moving in with someone, only to be quarantined with them 24/7 is, unsurprisingly, no exception. Think about the first time you ever shared a room with someone, whether it was your sibling or your roommate in college. Certain issues arise from living in close quarters with another person and getting used to their annoying endearing “quirks.” Now, compound that by the fact that you currently don’t have temporary escapes because the pandemic canceled all of your outside plans. Yikes!

The silver lining here is that you do specifically mention you’re finding the “little stuff” to be the catalyst behind you questioning your entire relationship. As Maren Morris said, “the house don’t fall when the bones are good.” That being said, open and honest communication is a major key — if your partner’s behavior is truly impacting you in a negative way, tell them about it gently and with love. How they respond is an important indicator of how you’ll resolve bigger issues later on.

Dillon Thompson, quarantining with his parents, says — To me, this is a pretty major red flag. If you don’t feel comfortable bringing any of this up with your S.O., then it’s possible you shouldn’t be together. Being able to communicate how you feel — even the things that drive you completely insane — is a huge part of any healthy relationship, especially when it’s serious enough that you’re sharing Netflix passwords and fridge space. Listen, everyone has more than enough excuses to be a little on edge right now, and it’s true that the situation is probably a lot tenser than it would’ve been three months ago. But someday, things are going to start returning to normal and you two will still have to talk through your problems. 

Justin Chan, quarantining alone, says — Speaking as someone who’s not living with anyone right now, I think you have every right to assert your expectations of him. If your partner is not willing to accommodate you or doesn’t understand that every relationship requires both understanding and compromise, then they’re not for you. Your S.O. should be considerate enough to make sure they aren’t a burden on you, and it sounds like this one unfortunately is.

Morgan Greenwald, quarantining with her fiancé, says — Before quarantine, my fiancé and I didn’t fight much, because we never spent too much time in the apartment together. (Between work, the gym and socializing, I usually didn’t get home until 9 p.m. at the earliest!)

Now, though, both of us are in the apartment 24/7, and naturally, we are arguing about everything from who does the dishes to when we each get to use the living room. These are unprecedented times, and it’s normal to be fighting with the people you care most about right now. My advice would be to talk openly about your issues and qualms with your S.O. so they know what they’re doing wrong and have a chance to remedy it. The truth is, if no one points out an “annoying” behavior, the offender will never know it’s an issue.

TL;DR — Make the effort to have a real, sit-down discussion about these issues with your partner before jumping to conclusions about their intentions or your compatibility. Good communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, plus, you certainly deserve to be comfortable and happy in your own home.

If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on the Redditor who asked for advice after their family got in a massive fight over a Netflix password.

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