Having Your Own Space in a Shared Apartment Should Be Normalized

When I started thinking about the possibility of moving into my boyfriend’s place in the foreseeable future, I started freaking out. It was always, “I might do it when I graduate!” but it gets real when you’re graduating in a year.

When I thought about it in the past, I envisioned a fun sleepover with my best friend every night — nothing more and nothing less. Something clicked this last time I thought about it, though. I thought about my mom and dad living together for 33 years. I thought about the compromises that were made (or lack thereof in my parents' case, since they’re both stubborn). I thought about having to sacrifice a part of myself, a part of my style, and it made me really upset.

This year, I really found myself through both the struggles and the accomplishments I’ve faced so far, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I found my groove, I now know what I like, and I want to keep it that way or keep it ever-evolving if I choose to. I don’t want to commit to the same outdated furniture for twenty years like my parents. I don’t want to halt my style and stay put as the person I compromised to be. No one should have to compromise a piece of themselves to make someone else happy. woman leaning on door looking out onto the city Photo by Kinga Cichewicz from Unsplash

When I suggested the possibility of having my own room when we live together, I started an argument with my boyfriend. He didn’t understand why I needed my own space; I didn’t really expect him to. The reality of the situation is that neither of us should have to sacrifice the things that we enjoy for a shared space. If we kept our spaces separate, maybe merging them when we’re ready, it gives us time to realize what sort of environment we really want to create. Having two different rooms doesn’t mean we can’t have sleepovers or be in each other’s space. It’s quite the opposite. Switching between rooms is not a bad thing. Being able to rearrange your area without the OK from your partner is freeing. I don’t want to have to ask my boyfriend if he wants to add (insert furniture here) to our space. I want to see something, love it, get it, and keep it in the space I want to be in.

This needs to be normalized. I never really thought that couples sharing the same room was a big deal until things got close to that point for me. Having two rooms means nothing more than having creative freedom over your room, having a place to find your peace of mind, and having your privacy when you need it. It doesn’t matter if your room is a bedroom or an office space, it can be whatever vibe you want to go for. That’s the joy of keeping an area for yourself. Being able to actively search for an apartment with two rooms with your partner is something that can truly make the apartment feel yours, and it shouldn’t be some sort of taboo.