Haven’t we all been there? When work gets intertwined within the same space as romantic relationships it becomes very challenging. While working from home has a lot of perks–we don’t have to deal with the daily traffic or pollution, we stay away from office politics, we stress less over meetings with difficult clients, we develop a sense of autonomy and comfort.
No matter how we’ve adjusted to it, working from home has become the new normal.
This becomes quite the challenge when the home you are supposed to share with your significant other suddenly becomes a workspace. The dynamics shift entirely. Changes in your roles as partners become apparent. The shifting of house chores to accommodate one’s working schedule can cause a lot of tension and there now is an occasional lack of mental presence in the relationship which was not there prior to working from home.
Working from home with your significant other places in pressures that are new, specific, and unique. So, we’re here to give you sustainable and practical advice on how you can best manage this challenge.
Set Intentional Time Together. Nothing is more important than scheduling a “we” time apart from your “me” time to help nourish the relationship. This means being 100% present. Turn off your laptops, put down your phones, play whatever playlist that evokes nostalgia and just spend complete uninterrupted time together without mentioning the topic of work. According to the Gottman Institute, couples who set intentional time to connect are happier, have their needs met and are more content versus couples who don’t.
Do small gestures of love often. In this day and age, if it’s not grand, it’s not worth talking about. Relationship experts digress by saying that it isn’t the grand gestures that makes people fall deeply in love with someone. It’s the small consistent gestures of love that lead up to that grand gesture that makes it all the more meaningful. Examples of small gestures can be offered by doing the dishes even if you’re not assigned on that day. It could be cooking their favorite breakfast food just the way they like it. It can also be just taking time to tell them how much you appreciate them. These little things matter.
Have a dedicated workspace. If possible, get a room. It is crucial to set your mind in work-mode at a specific nook in your home. This helps you affiliate work with only that specific area. This strategy programs your mind to leave work in that dedicated room or workspace, focusing more on your significant other when you step out of the room, literally.
Take equal responsibility for house tasks. One of the main reasons why couples argue is because there is an imbalance in the splitting of house chores. Letting go of your responsibilities and having your partner do it all “because you have work” is a recipe for disaster. The goal isn’t to exhaust yourself with chores and
work, the goal is to show up in other ways and carry the load. A good example is if you can’t walk the dog anymore on weekdays offer to do so on weekends. If you can’t cook dinner anymore try to order take out. If you must work undisturbed and can’t really offer a helping hand, wake up early the next day and prepare for them their coffee just the way they like it.
Fight fair. Fighting fair is a skill. It’s a muscle that requires practice to grow. Like almost every relationship that has been, experiencing conflicts is inevitable. The importance is how you manage the conflict. Fighting fair is learning not to be defensive. Fighting fair is not showing contempt or casting blame. Fighting fair is being able to listen when it matters and withdraw when the emotions become too much to bear. Fighting fair acknowledges the unmet needs and tries to find ways to best meet them.
Express Admiration and Appreciation. Research supports that gratitude practiced in intimate relationships increases relationship connection and action the day after it is expressed, both for the giver and receiver. Gratitude is mutually beneficial. You can put gratitude into your routine by either writing an appreciation letter, providing daily expressions on gratitude or having a dinnertime gratitude practice.
At the end of the day, sharing work and managing intimate relationships while at home can be challenging but it is not impossible to manage. This February, Rocket Station put focus on the relationships that surround us and how we can make them better. If these tips work for you feel free to sign up in our newsletter to keep up with more interesting articles.
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