Thursday, May 19, 2005

Roommates vs. Coupledom

Being roommates is a whole lot easier than being a couple. Why? Well it's understood that if you are roommates you share everything equally. There shouldn't be a discussion about who should pay for what or how things are going to be paid for: you pay your half and I pay my half. I've had a lot of roommates and for that very reason, I wanted to live by myself and I had for the last 9 years of so. Some of my experiences living with roommates have been great and some have been terrible. I found out what worked best for me was that everyone bought their own food. I was once in a situation where everyone shared in the expense of groceries but that would mean if you cooked something, you'd have to cook for everyone. After a while, people would get upset because when they wanted to eat something, it would be gone before they had any of it. There was no equally eating of the groceries and there usually never is. The other expenses, well, that would entail taking turns to buy stuff like toilet paper, etc. But the basic premise of being roommates was that everything was divided equally.

In the world of coupledom, it's a little different as it should be. My own experiences being in coupledom were nil until now. So the closest example I know is my parents and they were already married. Since my mom did not work at all, my dad was the one that brought home the "bacon" and essentially handed it over to my mom who paid all the bills and bought all the necessities for the home. I understand things are different now (as in this day and age) and I am completely fine with it. But as of late, I feel that I am supporting this home of ours. I pay my due when I need to (e.g. rent) and have tried to contribute more both in chores and in finances as I am not technically working but still getting "paid" from my previous job. And I know our lifestyles were different before we became one household: I enjoyed going out to eat with friends while he enjoys staying home. Somehow we haven't quite made it to the happy medium in my opinion. Many times I try to even things out by paying for half but somehow I feel my half becomes more like 2/3's. And when it comes to reaching for who pays for the restaurant check, I've paid for a lot of it because as soon as I pay for it, there is no trying to get it back. What I mean is that I grew up with the notion that I do my part as much as possible. When I go out with friends, if they pay one time, I try to pay the next time. We try to be as fair as possible. This is probably more in the realm of roommies rather than coupledom. But everything works out in the end.

I guess I am a little frustrated right now and it was bound to happen. Much of this is brought on by that notorious time of the month I think. I also hate to dwell on things but I thought one of the seemingly interesting things that happened was Mother's Day. I got my mom her gifts and he got his mom her gifts and I also got her something on the side as well. We also took his mom out to brunch which was shared among the kids (he, his brother, me and his sis-in-law). Since we all paid in cash for the brunch and I had cash and he didn't, I put it in. Later on the drive home, he figured out how much we spent between our moms and what would equate to half. Normally I wouldn't really care but in making that calculation, he figured he owed me money. Frankly I would have rather just leave what we paid for our gifts alone and just split the cost of the meal.

None of this means the end of the world. I know I will get over it and I just have to learn to be better at this couple thing. I know from watching my parents that it doesn't magically get easier one day. We come from two different ways of doing things and I haven't exactly stuck with the way my parents do things but find a way that suits me. The fiance, I feel, envisions our way of doing things his parents way. I'm not so sure about that way but I'm willing to try it. Truthfully, I'd rather we find our own way.