The Fear of Collaborating Books


I recently moved to Bloomington for a new job, which I love so far, and to live with my boyfriend of 4 years. I was nervous about the move, of course I was. Since our graduation 6 months ago, we had not seen each other much, except for weekends off work when one of us could manage the 3 hour drive. We knew the next step was a move. We knew the only way to be together was a move. And we thought we were ready.

So when we both got job offers in the same city within 24 hours of each offer, we thought that sounded a lot like fate.

My boyfriend and I had to move in together at the same time. We both only had one weekend to get settled before our new jobs started. And we both were kinda freaking out. That’s a lot of change. A new job, a new place, and a gigantic step forward in a relationship. I think we were both scared. And I know I did not understand what that step meant.

As the boxes upon boxes of random shit poured into our apartment, it seemed like it was going to explode (along with my head). Our families were meeting for the first time and chatting as they tried to help us unpack in what ways they could. At the end of it all, our parents left with the apartment looking a bit better than it did when we originally moved all the boxes in.

When we were alone, my boyfriend and I began to unpack the things we felt we needed out right away. Of course, we turned to our books. He began to unpack the books while I was working on something else, and when I turned around, I found him taking his books and my books to arrange them on the shelf.

My mind responded in these ways…


2) Oh god! How will we be able to tell which is mine and which is his?

3)Who puts books on a shelf like that? Doesn’t he know you have to put similar sized books together, the tallest ones on the left and going smaller as you go to the right?

I said nothing. I turned back to the task I was working on with damp palms.

This action signified a lot of things about myself and our relationship. Until that moment, I didn’t really get it. I didn’t understand that we were combining lives. More than that, I didn’t know I was questioning whether I could do that or not.

Yes, we each have things to ourselves. Hobbies, jobs, thoughts, actions. We are independent, and I was thinking we could stay that way, completely, throughout this living together process. That isn’t a reality. That isn’t what moving in together means.

We each have our own books on the shelf, and it is obvious which book is whose based on the genre, author, and condition. When I look at the shelf, I can point out my books and his. But together, they create more stories. Together there is more adventure, advice, wisdom,  and life.

I thought about asking him to put our books on separate shelves. To keep them separated so we could tell who each book belonged to. But I realized our shelves wouldn’t look as full.

They wouldn’t look as loved.

Heart shaped Book

And in case you’re wondering how it is going, so far so good. 🙂

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