Ask Stavroula: I Left My Job to Move in with Her and Now She Finds Fault with Everything

Dear Stavroula,

I am 24 years old and have been dating a girl for a year. We didn’t live in the same city but we were relatively close and we went out once a week and every weekend. My girlfriend insisted that she wanted to move in together and I found a job in her city, leaving a very good job that I loved in the city where I lived before. We rented an apartment together and have been living together for four months. We are constantly fighting. Everything I do is wrong: I don’t help out at home enough, I don’t pick up my things, I don’t clean whenever she wants, and she generally grumbles about everything. I can’t figure out what’s going on, she insisted on living together so much and now she starts a fight if I forget a plate on the table. I have tried hard to do whatever she wants, but she constantly finds new issues to complain about. The last time we got into a fight, I told her I couldn’t stand it and wanted to break up. She was not expecting it and we decided to work things out and after that for a few days everything was fine, but then the whining started again. I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to break up, but… is it possible for things to change?

Athanasios

 

Dear Athanasios,

Living together is not an easy thing, usually at first there are conflicts until everyone’s boundaries are clear and you get used to each other. In your case it might even be more difficult because you had a long distance relationship until now. Usually in these cases we choose to display our best selves when we are with each other, either because we miss the other person and are happy just to be together, or because time is limited and we prefer to put aside problems.

I don’t know if you’ve sat down with your girlfriend to discuss what you expect from each other, to clarify what each one’s responsibilities are, and what you must each do in your shared living space. If you haven’t done so yet, you should discuss it immediately. You can create a weekly schedule that sets out what each one will do and when and post it in a spot that you can easily consult. This will make it clear what everyone’s chores are around the house and disputes will be curtailed. You can also write down on a paper the rules you want to apply to your living together, for example where you will leave the dishes when you are finished eating, or the rules concerning the laundry, if this is a cause for quarreling, and committing to adhere to the rules. With a calm and clear discussion, things may improve immediately.

If, however, your disagreements continue or extend to other issues, you may need to consider a few things.

Many times, a long distance relationship becomes our choice because we subconsciously do not want a relationship that will bring us very close to each other. This is why one can choose a “difficult” relationship, such as a relationship with a married partner, or someone who lives far away. These relationships may cover our need for companionship or communication, but at the same time are relationships that do not compromise our subconscious desire not to get too close to someone. So sometimes when the difficulty of the relationship is overcome, for example the married partner gets divorced and we can now live with him or the issue of distance is resolved, problems that we had not considered before come to the surface, not only because we do not know enough about our partner, but also because the intense feeling that was caused by the previous difficulty of the relationship is gone.

In this case, the relationship is likely to survive if the couple redefines their relationship and position on other bases.