Here’s How Your Home Is Helping — Or Hurting — Your Relationship
There’s intimacy, and then there’s quarantine intimacy. Whether you’re cohabitating with a spouse, an SO, or roommates, living together has taken on a whole new meaning this past year. We’re learning a lot about sharing space with people we love — and not all of those lessons are fun.
In their fourth annual “Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America,” the love pros at eharmony asked couples and singles across the country how they were feeling about their personal space. We know what you’re thinking: What personal space? But while there is some room for improvement, there’s also plenty to be happy about at home! In fact, 71% of couples were glad they had someone to be with during quarantine. We took a closer look at the Happiness Index’s findings to see how our homes are affecting our relationships — and how we can make them better places for quality connection.
Spending time together at home has strengthened couples’ relationships.
Most couples (60%) felt that spending time in a shared home improves a relationship, citing peace of mind as a key benefit. (Hey, it’s nice to remember that you’re grateful for the person who keeps leaving their socks on the bathroom floor.) Think about what aspect of sharing space actually serves your relationship, from takeout dinners to cozy reading time, and make more room for it in your schedules. “It’s heartening to learn this challenging year has actually brought many couples closer together,” said Kristen Berry, Director of Communications at eharmony. “Nearly half of respondents learned something positive about their partner during the past year, and 63 percent felt their respect for their partner grow. This shows our human need for real love and meaningful connection always prevails.”
Singles with roommates still have to date, though.
What’s more awkward than a video first date? A video first date while your housemates work out or watch Bridgerton in the next room. A quarter of folks with roommates felt unable to (video) date due to their roommates’ presence. Friends, let’s talk this out. Have a low-key house meeting and brainstorm some simple privacy solutions (hello, headphones). And after all, the best thing about virtual dating is that you can “go” anywhere: Just pick a cute background!
We actually like our homes more.
Despite all the turmoil of 2020, almost twice as many people like their homes more, not less. We don’t think it’s a coincidence that the majority of respondents also spent significant time and energy reorganizing (53%) or redecorating (41%) this year — as with love, you get out of your home what you put into it. Tackling a shared DIY project together might just make you fall in love with your significant other (and your home) all over again.
But we also really need our own space.
We still get on each other’s nerves at home, from leaving lights on to piling dirty dishes in the sink. That’s why solo space is so important. But the Happiness Index found that 43% of Millennials and Gen Z-ers felt unable to have their own private space, and 32% of all women reported wanting space just for them. (Men were likelier to want dedicated exercise or work areas.) If your space is too small for solitary retreats, get creative anywhere you can close a door. Turn the bathtub into a blanket-lined reading nook or light candles in the bedroom for quiet meditation. And in 2021, noise-canceling headphones count as decor.