Apartment living isn’t for everyone, but it’s often a starting place for young couples who are saving up for a house. That’s where my fiancé and I are at this point. While apartments offer a low cost housing option, living in close quarters with your loved one may come at a higher price for the wellbeing of your relationship. Don’t get caught in the crosshairs of an unhealthy living situation and learn how to avoid common mistakes couples make when living together in limited square footage.
- Keep things in their designated space. With space being very limited, it’s easy to feel crowded; physically and mentally. Try to eliminate clutter by giving your items a specific place they can stay comfortably. We decided together to have a places that each of us can do whatever we want without objections such as our own bedside table, sides of the desk, and specific sets of cabinets that we can keep as messy or as clean as desired. It’s vital for both individuals in a home to feel like they can be themselves without oppression.
- Know when to leave each other alone, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. This is applicable when one of you “just needs some alone time” to relax and especially after a fight. I tell you, I never knew how small a 750 sq. ft one bedroom apartment was until we had our first disagreement. It really helped that we made an agreement that one of us would cool down in the bedroom and the other in the living room. I cannot express how important this point really is.
- Collaborate on your decorating style. Sharing any home calls for compromise and collaboration. This is especially true when it comes to creating a space of comfort. We worked together so that each of us could “add our own little touch” to make it a comforting and enjoyable home for both partners. Try hard to share the space as equally as possible – the closet, the bathroom storage space, and any other personal spaces.
- Communicate clearly and effectively when you feel you need space. Don’t expect the love of your life to be a mind reader, because it’s never going to happen like that. If you feel stressed by them or other external factors make a point to say so with out hurting each other’s feelings. Even if you’re not ready to explain it just make a note of it and ask for a little time to yourself in your respective place. I am always sure to use that time to think of the cause, effect, and solution for my stress and how your fiancé fits into the plan so I can effectively communicate the point when I am ready. It’s easier to deal with a problem right off the bat instead of ignoring it and letting it snowball to a point of an all out fight.
- Remember to enjoy the closeness. There is beauty in living with your significant other in such a cozy apartment! For one, you’ll never feel alone and two, because you are constantly in each others company, there are more opportunities for meaningful conversation and shared activities. Just sharing a space while working on your own projects will be able to reinforce your unspoken bond between the two of you. We enjoy working in the same space as each other and are sure to occasionally set down our work and acknowledge each other to stay connected.
Ultimately, it’s up to you how you will work together to preserve the longevity and quality of your romantic relationship, but hopefully keeping these tips will help you to respect each other’s space even when it’s limited. We’ve certainly learned quite a bit of these lessons just by trial and error. Talk things out and make a plan before things heat up…because they will in some form or another and you don’t want to feel stuck in a box with no where to retreat. Above all, enjoy this time and remember to make the most out of the convenient closeness that apartment living has to offer.