At the beginning of this year I wrote down a list of resolutions that I would stick to. Normal things like putting $100 a week away into savings and writing in my journal every day. But the biggest one for me, was that I would NOT under any circumstances – ANY circumstances – move in with girlfriend for a minimum of one year of dating.
Kind of a weird one you may be thinking? But I am sure my fellow queers know exactly what must have happened to me. The classic tale of the U-HAUL.
For all those unaware, here’s a quick lesson from your friendly neighbourhood lesbian. In the early 90s, lesbian comedian Lea Delaria joked “What does a lesbian bring to a second date? A U-Haul.” Since then, ‘U-Hauling’ has become a very well-known term in the community for queer women who move in together too early on in a relationship.
As a lesbian, and a fall-hard-fall-quick kinda gal, I am no stranger to the U-Haul experience. Although my previous U-Haul was a bit less intense – my first girlfriend and I started dating long distance, with her moving to Sydney only three months into our relationship. We moved in together as soon as she got here, and we ended up together for two and a half years until we had a very mutual and amicable breakup. We are still best friends and co-parent an adorable cat together.
After we broke up, I had become very accustomed to having a person in your life that was “my” person. I was grossly co-dependent and looking back, SO not ready to date.
BUT I PUT ON MY DUMB BITCH GLASSES AND STARTED DATING STRAIGHT AWAY!
The term “going full Jenna” had been coined within my friendship groups, because I’d date new women and push down my urge-to-merge by telling them “I am so chill and not keen on anything serious as well, it’s actually crazy how chill I am, I’m definitely not wanting to know all your deepest desires and motivations, and no I’m not already planning our first weekend getaway together IT’S OUR FIRST DATE HAHAHA I TOLD YOU I AM SO CHILL!”
Then of course it would all explode in a beautifully tragic array of drunk messages and calls, culminating always in a lengthy text message from this other woman saying “I think we are looking for different things”.
After some real talk from friends and too many hangovers, I thought it might be time to focus on me and quit the dating game. But then, I matched with a new woman on a dating app. We exchanged some fun flirty messages, and a few hours later decided to meet up for a drink. Matching in the morning and already meeting by 5pm? Fast! I loved it.
I showed up to the date with my boss’s dog because I’m adorable, and she showed up with flowers she had picked from gardens on her walk … also adorable. Immediately I was like, she’s amazing! Before immediately realising oh no. I’m in trouble. We spent the entire weekend together, Friday night to Monday morning, and only ended the “date” because we both had to go to work.
I couldn’t believe it, we were both the same level of intense, already joking that we were wives (I know, gross) and talking about when we would get matching tattoos (which we totally did by the way). It was like we were high, everything felt perfect and I couldn’t believe that we had found each other, that we were the same person.
After two weeks of dating when she suggested we move in together, I didn’t hesitate. We had already said we loved each other and had spent every night together since we met. What could go wrong?
In relationships, you naturally present your best possible self at the beginning, before slowly revealing your more honest and vulnerable side further down the track. But I mean, us queer women are known for moving fast and being open and honest with each other from day one. Our two weeks together is like, the equivalent of two years in our community!
So when three months into living together, we broke up, I was shocked. Seriously…I was! I didn’t see it coming, or at least was in denial that things were not going well. In the last month of our relationship, we were both going through big changes in our academic and career paths, and so the house was tense. But I figured once those issues were out of the way, we would be fine. We knew each other so well, things were already so deep with us.
But it turns out, we actually didn’t really know each other as well as we thought we did. We had completely different views on a lot of core values, like quality time vs. alone time. I’m the kind of person that only feels secure in a relationship when we spend quality time together, but in two weeks I realised she was fiercely independent and needed a significant amount of down time by herself. Those two things together, don’t mesh (crazy, I know!).
Sure, I will always question “what if we had waited, would we still be together?” Would we have worked through these differences and developed something great? But I honestly thing moving in together just put our relationship on fast forward. That forced intimacy made us get to know each and every aspect of each other, incredibly quickly.
In all honesty, we probably would have eventually broken up anyway, even if we didn’t move in together straight away. It would have just taken longer to get to the conclusion that we were completely different people.
So would I move in with someone that quickly again? If I am being completely honest? Probably, yes.
I CAN HEAR YOU ALL GROANING FROM HERE, just hear me out! Okay, I maybe wouldn’t sign a legal document saying we would live together in a house for 12 months, because sorting that shit out was stressful. But I would be in denial if I said I wouldn’t consider moving in in some capacity.
I am still going to try my best to wait at least a year, and I am getting better at learning when to ‘put on the brakes’ when dating someone. But I actually don’t regret anything about that three months. It made me realise a lot about who I am as a person and what it is I want from a relationship.
Anyway, it will be different this time! A girl on Hinge just told me she is struggling to find a new house to move to and I need to go send her the details of the room that’s now available in my house…
Jenna Suffern is a Sydney based comedian. You’d be a fool not to follow Jenna in either real life, or online: @jensuffern.