What makes relationships tick? 3. – Work

Missed the first 4 tips? Read here.

Strive for a similar work – free time balance

This is something you can definitely influence. Although I wouldn’t advise changing your line of work just to help your relationship.

Me and the boyfriend are both freelancers, with jobs that don’t have strict deadlines and we can both decide when to put in our work hours. This doesn’t do much in terms or work related stress that we might accidentally take out on each other. Our biggest challenge is actually making ourselves put in the work 🙂

In the past, I’ve dated guys who worked odd hours and also way more hours than I did. It can be especially straining on a relationship is your work pace and attitude to work is very different. For example one of you likes to work 12 hours straight while the other one needs breaks every couple of hours.

Word of caution: although most romantic movies will make you believe that giving up your job for the sake of your loved ones is hopelessly romantic (I just watched Kate & Leopold last night) – 1. It shouldn’t be an either-or decision. 2. If you do quit your job solely to spend more time with your Sweetheart, be sure to have something to do besides spending time together. Centering your life around a relationship puts too much pressure on it. Recipe for disaster.

Be aware of your levels of cleanliness – housework distribution

Do any of you watch Sex and the City? Remember the episode where Charlotte moves in with Harry and is endlessly frustrated by him leaving used tea bags around the flat?

Establishing what level of cleanliness you’re comfortable with when living together is key. Are you okay with the dishes being done only when the sink is full or do you do it right away? Are you okay with the table being full of stuff or do you put back things right away? Either way, talk to your partner about it. Don’t bottle up the inkling of resentment you feel every time you see a dirty sock lying around. It will burst out as rage later and make you say things you’ll regret.

The boyfriend travels a lot, so when we live together, he lives out of his bag. After a week or so, his pile of stuff starts to crawl and take up more and more space. When it gets to a point that bothers me, I ask him “Honey could you arrange your stuff a bit to take up less space?” He can just stuff it back into his bag for all I care 😛

Another good solution for us when we traveled together was that I suggested we collect our dirty clothes in a big bag and wash them when the bag is full. This way it was easier to avoid all our stuff sprawling all over the place.

The bottom line as always is compromise – the boyfriend likes to do the dishes so if it has to be done, I’d rather ask him to do it, and wash the clothes instead. Incidentally, it also helps that he regularly asks “Honey should I be helping with something?”

Why is asking if you can help important? If you haven’t yet read about French comic artist Emma’s illustrations on the concept of the ‘mental load’ of chores, check it out here.

(Source of the picture.)

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