Jeff: June 4, 2006

Jeff RothenbachThis morning over breakfast, Rolf proposed the idea of both of us documenting the “cohabitation dance” that we will be performing this year. While it has the possibility of arguments playing out over the internet, it also has the exciting prospect of two people exploring new territory and learning a little about themselves and each other, while the world watches. But first, I should go back and bring everyone up to speed.

We have been happily dating since October, and recently have discussed the idea of moving in together. This is quite the “Romeo and Julian” story, as I live in the Valley and Rolf lives in West Hollywood. For those of you that are not familiar with the Los Angeles area, the Valley is like a John Hughes movie suburbia with more crime, while West Hollywood is like a porno movie with less sex (although, ironically, the Valley is the porn capital of the US). It only took a small amount of negotiating to decide that our new apartment together would be in West Hollywood. We browse listings and walk through available apartments together once in a while, but we are in no rush to move yet. With a couple of trips scheduled for July and August, we are aiming for a move in the fall. Our intention is to keep regular journals over the next few months to chronicle this event.

I guess I should start with a little background about myself. I am at the stage in life that I like to call my twen-teens (after twenty-nine comes twenty-ten, then twenty-eleven, you get the picture). I will be starting the final year of my twen-teens next month. I haven’t decided what happens next year. Maybe when I turn “the magic f-word” I won’t be so vain about my age. But I have gotten off the subject here—we were supposed to be talking about moving in together.

Back when I was twenty-one, I lived with a guy for about seven months. I realized it was a mistake after a couple of months, but tried to make it work, because I didn’t want to admit that I had rushed into such a bad decision. That relationship left such a sour taste, that I wouldn’t even consider the possibility of sharing a place with someone for over ten years. I talked (very reluctantly) about my ex- moving in with me in 2001. He was mad that I was so hesitant, but in the end, he moved out of state and I dodged that bullet.

My next boyfriend never brought up the subject of living together. Boy, was I relieved! The one after that (which is the one before Rolf) talked about me moving in with him—a lot. One conversation involved getting a shed from Home Depot to store all my stuff in the backyard. In a moment of clarity, I realized that was a horrible way to start off our life together. Needless to say, my belongings never found their way into a big tin box, and dumping him left me available to date Rolf.

Which brings me to the present day. Rolf and I knew each other for two or three years before we started dating. I feel like I know him pretty well and I trust him. And while my rational mind knows this, I still get a little anxious about this move. Am I giving up too much of my freedom and independence? Will I lose a piece of my own identity? Does he leave the cap off the toothpaste? All these questions, and others yet to be asked, will need to be answered between now and Fall.

This is considered one of the biggest changes a person can make in his life. So I take this step a little slowly, watching where I put my foot. I just hope that over the next few months I don’t plant it squarely in my mouth.


This series of posts was first published in 2006 and 2007. Jeff and Rolf are now happily living together. For those of you who have missed it the first time around and for everyone who’d like to read it again, here is the full story line in an updated format.

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