You might think you love your closet—but until you choose to share it with a man, you probably can’t fully understand how much it means to you. This morning, as I was late for work and trying desperately to find my beloved vintage AC/DC T-shirt to pair with my favorite jeans, I found myself engaged in a real struggle with my recently overstuffed closet. I let out a loud, frustrated growl, to which my boyfriend of more than two years responded, “What’s wrong?” I curtly told him, “Nothing.
But the truth is that it’s not nothing. My boyfriend and I just moved in together—we’re two weeks deep into a major life change that most committed couples will, at one time or another, embark on together. I grew up an only child, which means a lot of things, but foremost among them is that I really like my personal space, and I love being alone. (I’m one of those people who is usually thrilled when friends cancel on her.) So welcoming another person into that space is a really big deal for me—and the biggest deal of all was the decision to share my closet.
My closet is not small—in fact, it’s fairly large. Not only that, but I have three closets in my house, all of which I greatly enjoyed dedicating to me, myself, and I before the arrival of my new roommate. I love all my clothes, shoes, bags, and various accessories, and I take great pride and joy in organizing them in a way that respects them and that makes getting ready everyday as seamless and uncomplicated as possible. And while I took the decision to share my precious closet space very seriously, it’s one of those things you kind of just have to dive into. Because until you experience it, you have no idea what it’s going to be like.
And here’s the God’s honest truth, at least as far as I’m concerned: It’s hard. The main closet that I’ve used to hold my things is now halfway taken up by his things—and it’s bursting at the seams. Large as it may be, the closet is simply not big enough for all two people’s jeans, tops, shoes, and so on. We’re already having conversations about getting an extra wardrobe, as there is a large pile of clothes that should be hung up—coats, dresses, pants, button-up shirts—but which are currently without a proper home. Each time I look at my crumpled dresses, a small part of me dies, and I can’t help but wonder: Did I make the right decision?
Another honesty nugget: I’m really not sure I did. I’m extremely independent, and I have worked very hard to curate a life for myself that I love. That life involves, among other things, not losing clothing items because they’re all mixed up with another person’s. Not engaging in a serious battle with my clothes hangers just to get dressed in the morning. Not sacrificing a ton of clothing storage space so another person can share it.
Some of you might make the counterpoint that having a life partner is way more important than having a decent closet—I wouldn’t disagree with you on that, but as you may have already gathered, this is about way more than just a closet. It’s about everything that closet has represented for me: A space that is entirely my own, and all the implications that come along with that.
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction,” Virginia Woolf once wrote. Of course, when she wrote that, she meant much more—that a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to live freely, happily, and out from under the oppressive reign of the patriarchal society. Woolf wrote those words in 1929, but I think they are just as applicable today as they have always been—and if the gender pay gap is to be believed, then I’m probably right.
So for me, it’s important to not only have a room of my own, but a closet of my own, too. I want a room of my own, a closet of my own, an income of my own—and a partner who will support me in these desires and endeavors. As we speak, said partner is at home trying his best to do just that—organizing our closets in a way that’s fair, logical, and (most importantly) that won’t incite any more rage grunts from me in the mornings. His efforts certainly help me feel more confident in my choice to share my life and my home with him, but only time will tell if that choice was truly the right one for me.
Have you ever lived with a boyfriend? Tell us your story in the comments below.