Given the current crisis, a lot of us are staying home much more than we would otherwise. And for people living with a significant other, the potentially tiny space and seemingly infinite time together can start to take its toll after a few days. It’s true that 88% of Americans marry for love, but how can you keep that love healthy if you live in a tiny apartment? If you don’t want your tiny apartment to ruin your relationship, consider using the following tips.
Create Alone Time
As much as you might love the person you live with, it’s important to create time and space for yourself every once in a while. If you live in a one-bedroom apartment, set up a time once per week for each of you to sit in the living room or bedroom alone and do something just for yourselves. Some days, this might mean you spend a few hours working on an art project you’ve been meaning to get to. Other days it might mean watching a few episodes of a show you follow that you know your significant other doesn’t. The point is to create time to be alone in a room without feeling like you need to meet someone else’s needs or expectations. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to create the space you both need to be alone, consider:
- Setting up a small workspace separate from your lounging space
- Taking one night per week to sit alone and read
- Taking turns to let each other watch shows or movies alone that the other doesn’t like
- Sit facing away from one another while working from home
- Take turns grocery shopping to give each other some space
Exercise on a Regular Basis
If you have a yoga mat and a laptop, you have all the equipment you need to exercise. Time and time again, studies have proven that exercise relieves stress and anxiety. Sometimes being in the same space as someone else with no breaks can be stressful! Getting your body moving, whether with your partner or alone, can help you feel more relaxed throughout the day. And if you need to get out of the house, consider taking a short walk around the block. If you’re one of the 69% of millennials who consider themselves adventurous, a walk around the block might not be exactly what you need, but odds are it’ll scratch the itch to get moving and help relieve some stress.
Get Enough Sleep Every Night
There are few things more important than getting an adequate amount of sleep every night. And when you’re living with a significant other in a small space, getting enough sleep becomes that much more important. Without enough sleep, you and your partner might be more irritable and confrontational. In a small space, that’s not something you want. When it’s already a challenge to create alone time and space for yourself, being irritable and tired on top of that is a recipe for relationship disaster. So when you know that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, make that a priority. You and your partner will be thanking each other. Having trouble getting enough sleep right now? Here are a few ways to increase your sleep time:
- Set a bedtime and stick to it
- Say goodbye to your screens at least 30 minutes before bed
- Create a bedtime routine you and your partner can do together
- Set rules about screens in bed
- Designate a “no work” zone in your bedroom
- Make your bedroom a place you both like to relax in
Split Chores in a Way that Makes Sense
It might seem most convenient to split all of your household chores down the middle, but more often than not, things get put off when you structure cleaning that way. Instead, consider splitting chores in a way that makes sense for both of you. Play to your strengths. Maybe you hate doing dishes, but you can’t live without a clean shower. On the other hand, your partner could care less about the bathroom floors, but can’t stand the sight of a full sink of dishes. Playing to the activities that you both like to do can help relieve stress and prevent resentment. Of course, there will almost always be things that neither of you enjoys. For example, cleaning the carpets in your home or shaking out your rugs might be the bane of existence for you both. When it comes to those chores, take turns doing them so you’re sharing that equally unappealing load.
Living with a significant other can be a wonderful experience that makes you feel loved and supported. But when you both occupy the same space, it’s important to mold your relationship in that space so you can both live comfortably.