We’ve all had that roommate who keeps strange hours. What can be merely annoying when all you’re sharing is the rent can cause real friction when you’re trying to keep a romantic relationship together. Even the most committed couple can come apart when the real world steps in to make living together a challenge. If one partner pulls the nightshift while the other has to rise at dawn it sometimes takes a lot of patience to make it work for both parties. Sleep is important and no one needs to read one of the many studies on this subject to know it. We feel it each and every day. A sound night’s rest can alleviate the aches and pains of the daily grind whereas hours of restlessness can set us up to have arguments even with the one we love the most. Here are some tips for cohabiting on conflicting schedules.
– Don’t keep your clothes in the room where you both sleep. You may think you’re dressing in silence but it can still disturb your slumbering partner.
– Consider blackout drapes or a white noise machine to make sleeping through a partner’s rising hours easier.
– Negotiate the terms of your co-sleeping. Maybe on certain days it’s just easier for one partner to rest on the couch so the other can prepare for a particularly demanding work shift.
But sleep is only one of the issues in a schedule conflicted relationship and a partner’s absence during waking hours can equally undermining. Small gestures speak for you when you can’t be there to speak for yourself. Something as practical as finishing a load of laundry your partner started can be a reminder that you’re still part of the team.
– Leave your partner a note directing him or her to a special meal you’ve left in the fridge for them.
– Notes on the bathroom mirror that are reminders of your love rather than just a to-do list puts you in the room even when you’re at work or asleep.
– Offer to take some of the household workload off your partner when they’re experiencing a more stressful than usual time in their workplace.
The level of work stress people experience waxes and wanes with the demands of the job. Talk about your partner’s professional deadlines and feel comfortable discussing your own. If a couple communicates it makes living with even the most divergent of sleep/work schedules doable. Then of course be sure to schedule time when you can both be together in person.