Advice by Guy Browning
You should live with someone only if you can't live without them. Living together as a couple is a highly unnatural activity. It starts as a desire not to have to go home after sex and ends up as a bulk sock-purchasing policy.
Moving in together is the most fraught time of living together. This is where the man discovers that 90% of women's underpants are large grey freezer bags and the woman discovers that men have only two pairs in total. You also have to start buying things together, and soon realise that there is no area of compromise between Lincoln biscuits and Hobnobs.
In any couple, one person is tidy and the other is an absolute grub. The person who is tidy is grumpy because they think they're doing all the work and if they didn't clear up, the whole house would be neck-deep in filth. The grub is grumpy because they feel under continual pressure to do all sorts of things they would never dream were important, such as keeping towels perpendicular to the rail.
Sometimes you may think you're living with someone but they've actually forgotten you're there. Telltale signs are when they switch off lights in the room where you're sitting, or regularly throw away personal items of yours simply because you're not currently using or wearing them.
Sharing a car is like sharing a house in miniature. For a tidy person, when you turn a corner the only noise is the indicator ticking. For the absolute grub it's a tide of rubbish, slapping from one side of the car to the other. Never share a car with someone who leaves the car in gear, unless you enjoy starting your working day by stalling the car. And never share with someone who rips out the page of the atlas they need for any given trip.
Labour-saving devices in the home can often be relationship-destroying devices. For example, what is the point of having a dishwasher if your partner can't fill it properly? Similarly, the washing machine ought to liberate couples to sip white wine and watch the sunset. In fact, it focuses attention on the fact that your partner doesn't know a bra needs a cool wash or the elastic goes. And if he's going to ruin your bras, watching sunsets is out.
The key to living together in a relationship is the same as it is in the diplomatic world - nothing keeps people together like a common enemy. That's why living together so often leads to children.
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