The great TP debate (and other relationship compromises)

This is going to be a controversial post:

Are you a toilet paper goes over the roll person, or a toilet paper goes under the roll person?

This may seem like a frivolous question, but when you start living with someone, it’s little things like these that can literally make or break your relationship. Because they’re little tests of how much you’re willing to compromise, how much you’re willing to let go, and how much you’re willing to laugh at silly little differences instead of letting them get on your nerves until a fight happens.

When The Hubby and I first started living together, I was a born-and-raised under-the-roll girl. It just made sense…under the roll, you could more easily rip the TP off. Over the roll just felt weird.

But, The Hubby had been raised in an over-the-roll household, and after enough silent battles where whoever changed the roll put it on their way, I gave up. The way the TP holder was positioned near the toilet in our first apartment, over-the-roll actually gave me better leverage for ripping. (Does this qualify as “TMI”?) So, I gave in to The Hubby’s ways. It still felt strange for a while, but now, it’s what I’m used to.

Actually, I think it’s become an asset. I’m kind of like someone who’s bilingual…if I find myself in a “foreign” (i.e, under-the-roll) situation, I can understand. It makes perfect sense to my brain. If I find myself in an over-the-roll environment, that, too, makes sense. My horizons (and preferences) have been expanded by being introduced to a new way of thinking.

Learning to Compromise

Yes, this is kind of silly topic to be debating…but so are so many of the things that can get on our nerves when we first start living with someone.

My mom taught me to fold socks by rolling them up into these cute little sock-balls. (Nice and neat, and so handy for chucking at younger siblings.) The Hubby’s mom always folded his socks by just turning over the ends of the cuffs and tucking them, so that the rest of the socks hangs loose. This seemed much less adorable and space saving to me. But, I do the laundry in our household. (My sock-balls win.)

My parents used to put everything possible in the fridge…peanut butter, bread, syrup, baked goods. The first time I came home from grocery shopping with The Hubby and he put the peanut butter in the pantry, I was thoroughly confused. It took me several weeks of reassurance (and eyeing the pb jar warily) before I could accept the notion that maybe it wouldn’t spoil and it might be OK to eat it. Now, I find the concept of cold pb and cold syrup gross, and I wonder how I ever ate it that way. (Hubby’s upbringing wins.)

It’s little things like this that you have to tweak and give in over when you combine two lifestyles into one. The bigger differences, the things that really take some getting used to, can be tough enough at first. There’s no point in getting worked up over silly little differences in the grand scheme of things.

What differences do you and your s.o. have, and how have you overcome them? (Or are you still debating over who “wins”?) 🙂



photo credit:  qBaz


  • hahahahaa, what a lovely post! sitting her laughing by myself. must say, I`m loving the whole bilingual comparison.
    There is something about folding clothes that each person seems to have its own way of doing. especially how to fold or tuck in socks. I dont really get it. and towels. as I`m the one who often folds laundry I just do it my way, but try to fold the socks in the way he prefer because the way I do appears to be ruining the elastic or something… yeah, sure.
    bigger differences is perhaps that I`m a bit more layed back and a bit whimzy, while he`s more “have to fix that broken thing RIGHT NOW” the moment we get home, while I would much rather relax for a while before starting on some project. But, I cant really complain. at least things get done!

    • Thanks! I was pretty proud of that bilingual metaphor when I thought of it. 🙂

      I never really thought about stretching out the elastic on my socks…now I’m paranoid! (But I still love my sock-balls anyway.)

      I know so many couples who are like that in terms of wanting to get the work over with first vs. wanting to relax first. The good thing is that, like you say, things do get done at least. Some of my friends just have silent standoffs with their s.o. over who’s finally going to do that chore that’s been waiting forever. 🙂

  • Em,
    this is so fabulous as we all have these moments in marriage. For Rob and me it’s maple syrup. He’s Canadian and only real Canadian maple syrup will do. But I love nothing better than the disgusting, artificially flavored Mrs. Butterworth’s. Naturally, we stock both in the house but after 15 years of marriage I still roll my eyes a little when I see the two syrups on the shelf.

    Do you and The Hubby share a toothpaste tube? We don’t.

    • That’s too funny! I’ve never had real Canadian maple syrup, so I don’t know where I’d fall in that debate, but I’d probably prefer the stuff I grew up with. (I LOVE instant mashed potatoes so much more than the real thing, I can’t help it.)

      We do not share a toothpaste tube, either. The Hubby loves the “red white and blue” stripes of Aquafresh, while I tend to go for fancier toothpaste with all sorts of whitening and other benefits.

  • Haha…love this! But the sentiment here is key–it’s crucial to have these “silly” conversations while you’re working through the transition of living together. You wouldn’t want these small nuances to become much larger issues down the road!

    • Exactly! They’re silly, but you should still figure out how you’re going to deal with them, so they don’t become big issues later on. (We all have enough of those already!)

  • This is definitely not something I think about nor was it something I concerned myself with when I was growing up – I don’t even know if my family did under or over (I think it was just a miracle when my brother or I put the roll ON the holder). I think there are so many bigger things that come up when cohabitating that I need to pick my battles.

    • I think the photo at the top of this post is for you, then, LOL. 🙂

      You’re so right on the battles, though. Some things are worth discussing and compromising over, others just aren’t worth the effort.

  • We are brand-new newlyweds so we deal with silly things like this ALL the time! It can be frustrating but it is pretty funny, too. We each have our own way of doing things that makes sense to us, and we kind of wonder what the other person is thinking sometimes! I try to remind myself that it’s not (usually) that one way or another is “better” or “right,” but just different.

    For example, he always uses a spatula for stirring food on the stove – the kind of spatula that I would use to scrape out a bowl while baking. I am worried it will melt on the stove! I always use a wooden spoon for that task. It turns out that his mom does the same thing, which is how he learned it. We recently stayed with his parents for a few days and it was really insightful because I could see where he gets a lot of his habits/ways of doing things.

    • I can so relate! Isn’t it funny how many things we pick up from our family and just assume are “normal”? It’s only when we live with other people that we realize we all have our own ways of doing things, and they can seem kind of weird to other people.

      The best part, though? The Hubby and I have been together long enough now that we’re starting to develop our own little habits/rituals and procedures, which I know my friends and family probably wonder about. I can’t wait to pass them on to our own children (who can then wonder why THEIR significant others do things differently, LOL!).

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