Congratulations!! You finally moved past the long distance phase of your relationship into the world of real-life, being together, LIVING together goodness. Life is sweet. But, there are a few challenges still to face, and it may take some adjusting. Here are a few observations on what it’s like living with your partner after long distance.
The Admin Doesn’t Stop
Visas, tax, contracts, moving, more visas, flights… Repeat indefinitely. No one tells you going from long distance to the same country is going to be as hard as it is! The admin almost never stops. If you’re from different countries (like us) you’re especially bogged down with endless forms and governmental processes. It’s tiresome, but now you’re together you can work on it as a team.
Even long before we lived together I had a looming dread of all the forms and planning that awaited us. The whole process of moving to Perth together took a lot of effort, as any move abroad does! But we were so wrong to think it would simply stop there.
Beyond the usual hassles associated with moving and living abroad, we also had a ton of forward-thinking to do. Our next objective would be to apply for partnership visas, which takes a lot of time. You have to prove and document your entire relationship, essentially. Cue yet more admin to make sure we can continue living together in the future!
Combining Your Lives
There’s a lot of adjustments on both sides when living with your partner after long distance. Whether you move into one person’s space or a whole new home – you’re slotting into each other’s routine, habits, and lives.
After being in such separate worlds for the duration of your LDR, it might be a shock at worst or an adjustment at best to fit around each other.
This could be said for any relationship where a couple move in together. But “normal” couples don’t have a whole life apart to cram into one space. You might have cultural differences to adjust to, or schedules that need aligning.
This is especially difficult for post-LDR couples because long distance is all you’ve known. You’ve never had to share space that much, and if so for only short concentrated amounts of time. It’s completely unfamiliar, but in a good way too. It’s an exciting new step in your life together at last.
If, like me, you value independence it might take some conscious effort to work on the “us” instead of the “me” parts of life. Are you going to cook together, if so will you buy the foods you BOTH like? It may sound small, but these changes to your everyday life can take a bit of time to get used to.
Learning More About Each Other
Time spent doing long distance can be super valuable to learn about your partner. But there are simply some things that you might not yet have a chance to know.
Do they take really long showers? Do they make the bed the way you like? All these little things will be revealed in time! And, unfortunately it’s a bit of trial and error as to whether this will have an impact on your relationship. Hopefully not, but you never know what habits grind your gears.
I’m so pleased that Kaz and I have very similar standards, needs, and living styles. Phew! What I did have to adjust was sleep schedules. I do not usually go to sleep that early, but Kaz does. A career that had him up at 4am for many years doesn’t help that routine. But here I am, a (reluctantly) converted early bird.
There’s Going to be a Honeymoon phase
Living together is going to feel like the BEST THING EVER. ALLLLL this free time to hang out! The chance to be all cute and domestic together!
But that dreamy cloud 9 will end.
There will be an argument, probably about something petty, and the bubble will be burst. For a moment. There is no denying that when you’ve spent SO long apart, you will always have a sense of gratitude for making it through that hard time.
For us, there were distinct ups and downs. Living together was and always is amazing – we fit so well into each other’s lives. But living abroad is hard. Finding new friends is tough. It was the factors out of our control that had the biggest impact, and on more than one occasion burst our bubble.
What we are grateful for are the skills learned while apart. Living with your partner after long distance doesn’t remove the communication skills and support system you’ve built together. On the contrary, it enhanced it. We get through the struggles and disagreements as a team. Soon enough, we’re right back to blissful contentment together.
Getting Overly Attached
I get it. You’ve spent all this time apart, the idea of getting separated is unthinkable. Even a night out with friends seems insane because you just want to cuddle up and be together all. the. time.
It’s inevitable that the idea of wanting to spend any time apart when you’ve worked so hard to be together sounds ludicrous. We gave ourselves a good few weeks of uninterrupted daily time together. Nights in became the most comforting, normal thing in the world.
Who’d have thought something as simple as cooking dinner together could be full of so much love and carry so much importance?
But, eventually we got antsy. We (especially I) craved other human interaction. This is partly due to my working from home alone every day while Kaz went to work with ya know, other real people. Eventually I made some awesome local friends who I very much enjoyed hanging out with. But that pang of guilt for leaving Kaz when we could be together never quite lifted.
It was like I was trying desperately to make up for lost time. The YEARS we spent apart were lost, but the present could be reclaimed as ours. Fortunately, we came to our senses a bit and realised not only is it healthy to have some time with our own friends, but we could also go on double dates and hang out as a group!
An evening around Perth’s Northbridge nightlife scene at Holey Moley and a few bars later, me, Kaz, my new best pal, and her partner were a solid little gang. Now, we could diversify our social interactions and not rely on just each other for entertainment.
Final Thoughts on Living With Your Partner After Long Distance
Living with your partner after long distance is real rollercoaster. You’re tackling the usual ups and downs of bringing two lives under one roof, as well as the pure giddiness of finally being with your love. The highs are truly treasured moments, but that’s not to say it’s all plane sailing. There are a few lows too, where you’ll be learning and growing and developing as a couple in this new chapter of your journey.
I can safely say that I’m SO incredibly glad we made it this far to give living together a proper test run. Although we are (temporarily) back on the long distance train, we can’t wait to hop off at the next stop of together-ness in the future. I know that when that comes around we’ll put all our learnings from our wonderful in Perth to good practice.
Have you lived with your partner after long distance? Are there any observations you made that were a surprise? If you’ve ever got any concerns or thoughts about long distance, living with a partner, or living abroad my comments and inbox is always open for a chat. Look after yourselves, guys!
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