If you tell someone that you work with your partner, you might receive a grimace or hear “I could never do that!”. A bias exists that if you work and live together then the relationship is going to go up in flames, but does it always have to go that way?
In reality, it depends on the couple and how they navigate the waters of balancing work, social, and romantic roles. Couples can end up living and working together from meeting at the same company or they may want to start their own business together.
There will be ups and downs to living and working together to be sure, but knowing how to prepare for what’s ahead can bring many positives to the relationship.
When people spend more time together then naturally there is more time for conflict. If a relationship already has its fair share of arguing, it’s pretty likely that will continue with spending more time together at work. This may not be about working together, but based on uncharted issues of the couple.
If conflict does come up there may need to be boundary setting on blurring work and home roles. If there is an issue at getting something done at work, then it is not helpful to drag grievances from the homefront into it. Another thing to consider is potential power differentials in the couple. If a partner in the couple does not feel equal at home this will spill into work as well.
It may be beneficial for the couple to discuss what their values are with spending time together. Some couples may prefer to be working independently and value alone time. This could be the opposite for another couple with different needs. It could be helpful to find possibilities to work in different roles or find separate employment if the couple needs more independent pursuits.
Problems in the Office
A challenge could be linked more towards the working environment more than the couple themselves. Some work environments can be ripe with gossip and rumors. This could be an uncomfortable environment for the couple to thrive if they feel overwhelmed with drama. There is also the potential for coworkers to feel like there is favoritism with couples and this needs to be handled delicately. You might be spending more time in HR than you would like!
Owning your own business as a couple also can produce its own difficulties even if you have more freedom to be yourself. When two people are in it together there may be the shared financial strain of managing a business which can cause stress. There also could be one member of the couple who is more invested emotionally in the business which can create an imbalance in the scales. This couple also needs to be aware of how they will proceed if the business fails and have a plan to support one another in that.
There are so many ways that working together can help life feel easier. You and your partner are able to have the same schedule and plan a routine that works well for you. There is also no need to call home to say you’ll be late to work or wonder if they can have lunch with you, they are right there! If it is a busy time in the business your partner is likely to be more understanding and aware of your own schedule needs.
You and your spouse are also able to divide and conquer on the home front and also at work especially if you run your own business. You each have the opportunity to play to your own strengths and split the work between you. With good communication you can become a power duo!
Enhance Personal Growth
When you work and live together, you are able to see your partner in multiple perspectives and see their habits. This can give a greater opportunity to learn from one another. If one person in the couple struggles with procrastination, the other may be able to help build accountability and structure.
With this you both can feel more known by the other and also have the unique opportunity to help each other with self-development and learn from the other. We all have our own unique perspective and taking in the perspective of others helps us grow.
If you work together then you also can be more present for one another. Your partner is there for a smile or wisdom throughout the day. You can also build goals together and share in the mutual success of one another. With this you both have a deeper understanding of one another and can be able to provide love and care to your multiple roles.
Tips for Making it Happen
- Be Flexible
Be cautious about strict boundaries like “No talking about work at home”. These rigid boundaries can be challenges because work is a part of life. If you have something on your mind and can’t say it, that can lead to anxiety or discomfort. Find ways to create a good groove for you both without rigid rules.
- Communicate Needs
One partner could be ready to share a million ideas and the other could in the middle of a brain drain. Find ways to let each other know where you are at and how to navigate when you are at different energies. Your partner cannot respond to your needs if you do not share them.
- Find How You Unwind Together
Develop routines and special activities that feel relaxing for the both of you. Having cornerstones that are enjoyed as a couple can help build breathing room between work and romance.
- Spend Time in Other Relationships
One person cannot be everything for another. Spending time with friends or other family members can allow you to fill your needs. This can be easy to lose sight of when you spend so much time with your partner, but that can put too much pressure on both of you.
- Know Your Vision and Purpose
Remember why you are here in the first place. Are you crafting your dream business, both work at a great company, or trying to pay the bills. Know why you are doing this and encourage one another in your mission. With this it is also helpful to continue to communicate about the role each of you is working to support that purpose and that it is working for you.
Pure Health Center is here to help couples find their own unique rhythm and start the hard conversations. Reach out to ask questions or to schedule an appointment for couples counseling .