I Moved in with My Boyfriend for the First Time During Coronavirus
By Elyse Notarianni

Elyse and her boyfriend John didn’t plan to move in together until July 1. Then coronavirus happened.

Day 11 of social distancing. John, my boyfriend of 6 years, looked at me from his makeshift work-from-home setup on the kitchen table and said, “You know, I haven’t seen you wash your hands in a while.” I had washed my hands 2 hours earlier, thank you very much. But these are different times with different rules, and he was keeping track.

Since we haven’t been more than 7 feet apart at any given time in 11 days (but who’s counting?), he is always within earshot. Two weeks ago, when we were living separate lives in separate homes, this comment on my cleanliness probably wouldn’t have annoyed me. But now we’re never more than 7 feet apart at any given time, and things have changed – to say the least.

Just months ago, when I pictured finally moving in with John, I imagined a cute, one-bedroom apartment with a cozy living room to stay in and watch “Tiger King” on Netflix. There would be bars within walking distance to meet friends. What I didn’t imagine was moving into the house he shared with two of his high school buddies (who are riding out the virus at their parents’ homes) with only a handful of bags during a pandemic.

I moved in when New Jersey announced a stay-at-home order. I knew I didn’t want to be alone in my one-bedroom Cherry Hill apartment. This rented house in Manayunk is big but has a shocking lack of basic living necessities. How do they take their frozen pizza out of the oven without oven mitts, you ask? Beats me.

Elyse and John are living in John’s apartment with Elyse’s dog, Thatcher.

John is easy going. He didn’t get upset when I took over his bathroom cabinets, and his kitchen, and his closet. But there are some hiccups. He’s appalled by how early I get up in the mornings while he rolls out of bed at 8:59 am, and I’m not thrilled about the beard hair all over the bathroom sink. But he loves that I actually enjoy cooking dinner, and I love that he always gets me a glass of wine for our 5 pm at-home happy hours.

So far, it seems decently normal, except I wear the same clothes on 3-day rotations, we haven’t seen anyone else but each other in 11 days, and we’re apparently keeping tabs on how often the other washes their hands. I ask him a million times a day if he still loves me even though I didn’t clean the dog’s paws when I let him inside and now there are muddy paw prints all over his bed. He says he does, but I ask anyway.

I guess we can call this an extreme test run. Unless our relationship takes a drastic turn during the course of this quarantine (and I don’t think it will), we’ll still be packing up and officially moving in together when our leases are up on July 1. But this time, the kitchen will be fully stocked and we’ll invite everyone we know over for a non-social-distancing housewarming party.

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