My parents are very traditional, and I guess some part of me is, too. Before we got married last September, my husband and I didn’t live together. We both lived with our families at home. Our wedding was on a Saturday; Sunday was the first night we spent together in the condo we rent; and then on Monday, we went to Japan. We had dated for nine years and been on a few trips together—but the longest, two weeks, was our honeymoon.
When we got back, it felt like my life changed overnight. I had been a daughter, a sister, and now I was a wife, which is not a word I love. We were contending with that newlywed stuff: Do we visit your family on the weekend, do we visit my family, and if we visit both, we don’t really have a weekend left. We had three Christmases last year because we didn’t want to upset anyone. I felt like I was trying to be everywhere and there weren’t a lot of boundaries. So, yes, this is a really depressing pandemic, but at least we don’t have to figure out how to split our time with people anymore.
And having time for ourselves has been nice. Before, we’d each commute to work, and we’d miss having breakfast together or waking up and taking the day slowly. Now, we have a routine. He’ll put food for dinner in the slow cooker in the morning. We make coffee and drink it together before going to work, which, for him, is the second bedroom and, for me, is an armchair in the living room with a TV-tray desk I made for myself. During the first weeks of quarantine, I was working all the time. I’ve always been a night worker; but now that we live together, it’s made me feel like I have to work during the day and then turn off because it affects his evening, too.
We used to call each other every night but only see each other once a week; now we’re together 24-7. He sees all my hair on the bathroom floor. I feel like his side of the bed can start to smell like a puppy. Apparently, when I’m asleep, I speak Vietnamese and laugh to myself, which is creepy—and also I kick violently, so there are days where he’s cranky in the morning. We bicker a lot about stuff like that.
But we haven’t got into any major fights, and I feel like that’s because we communicate really well now. I used to hold onto things, keep them in my little mental filing cabinet and use them later as blackmail material. But once the quarantine happened, I knew I’d have to be very clear about what I want. So if I need a quiet space to work, or if the puppy smell takes over the bedroom, I’m not shy about it. I don’t let things sit because I don’t have the patience for it now. People say the first year of marriage is really hard, and I feel if we can get through these months, we can get through anything. But I did tell him that once there’s a vaccine, I want to do a reverse quarantine. I want to spend as little time in this condo as possible.