After months of working from home in a pandemic my partner and I realised this is going to be a permanent set up. Our self employment experiment worked; we didn’t have to get jobs outside the house. That also meant that working together in the same office made us really understand why couples need separate spaces.
Why Couples Need Separate Spaces
Being in a relationship means sharing everything. Most couples share a bedroom and then most of the house is joint as well. If you have the space, though, it’s super important to carve out some extra room for each of you. It’s amazing how far a little bit can go… And it will help solve so many disparagement between you and your partner.
In our house we each have our own home office. Mine is upstairs, and my partner’s is two floors down in the basement. Before that we were working in the same room – which meant every inch of our house was shared.
Here’s some of the things that separate spaces did for our relationship:
A Place for all our Stuff
We both have a different approach to how we handle material objects. I’m more of a minimalist while my partner tends to hold on to things for a lot longer. He’s also prone to cluttering up his belongings and not organizing them the same way I like mine organized.
By having our own spaces we each have places for all of our things. Anything that doesn’t belong in common areas get sent to our respective offices where we have to deal with storing or displaying them in our own space.
Now there’s never a debate about what we have in our house.
Different Spaces, Our Own Aesthetics
Our house is decorated nicely in a way that reflects both of us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have individual style too. We use our offices to display the art/posters we love, things we’ve bought, and anything else we want to show off. It’s a space that’s just our own for decorating.
It’s pretty cathartic to be able to make a space look exactly how you’d like without any feedback from someone else.
No More Mess-Stress
I can’t work or relax in a messy environment but my partner has a different tolerance to mess. Things that bother me (obvious trash in the room, visual clutter) don’t bug him nearly as much. When we shared an office this meant that I would be on him about his mess and very frustrated.
Now that we have our own space we each handle the care and cleaning of our rooms. No more arguments!
This is also great for families with kids. There’s nothing better than having a space that’s only for you that the kids aren’t allowed to play in or mess up.
A Place to Get Away
Since we run a business together from home we are very rarely apart. Most of the time this isn’t a bad thing! But we do, from time to time, like to spend some time alone. By having our own spaces to go to we can “take a break” from spending time together and get some “alone” time.
I can go hide in my office and play video games or get some writing done and no one bothers me. It’s really nice to have that place to escape to sometimes that’s all my own.
It’s All Yours
When you share everything it’s nice to have something that’s just yours. Whether it’s a small nook or an entire room, having your own space means more than just a place to put physical things. You don’t have to worry about anyone else when it comes to your space, and no one else should be allowed to invade that space you’ve created.
Tips for Couples to Set up Their Separate Spaces
When couples set up their separate spaces there’s a few things you they can do to make it work out great. Here’s my tips:
- Keep things fair (or as fair as possible) – My SO has a bigger room, I have a window. We consider this fair.
- Buy new furniture if you can – Or at least a couple pieces to really make the space your own.
- Mini fridges are a great way to have your own snacks and drinks in your home office, craft room, or relaxation space.
- Set rules about your space for your family to follow – Especially around respecting your space and things.
- Stay on the same page when it comes to alone time so no one feels like they’re being ignored.
Want some ideas on what you can do with your home office? Here’s How to Make Money as a Stay at Home Mom and Jobs You Can do as a Digital Nomad.
Remember: Your Spouse’s Space is THEIR Space
I’ll be honest with you, I try and avoid spending time in my SO’s office. The mess stresses me out and I don’t like the way he has it set up. But that’s my problem, not his. When you have separate spaces, regardless of it being a whole room or just one closet, it’s really important to respect that space as your partner’s. Even if you don’t agree with how it’s being used.