Do you think you could live with someone for 24 hours a day, seven days a week in 240 square feet of space – more or less? It seems a little mad when we put it that way, but people and couples do it everyday, year over year – and happily so.
When you consider, that for many of these couples, one or both have been working and out of the house for years until right before they take off together in their RV, it means just a couple of additional adjustments. Not only do they adjust to living in a tiny space, they are also adjusting to living together constantly. These type of major life adjustments can strain relationships. A little knowledge and planning can make the transition simpler.
Tips for Living Together in an RV
At first, it may seem like you are on vacation. And, you are. This may bring some familiarity to surface that you can draw from. As the days move on, it may feel like you are beginning to work each other’s nerves. So how does one cope? Here are some suggestions from other RVers. We’ve compiled some common themes from full-time RVer couples or partners who dare to live on the road.
First and foremost: you and your spouse must genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Secondly, both of you must really want to live this lifestyle, even if only for a certain period of time.
If you have those two things going for you, the rest can be a work in progress.
Here are 10 techniques you can use:
1. Have your own bit of space, regardless of how tiny. You might stake out a certain place to sit in the evenings or a place to work on hobbies, art or crafts. Claim a cupboard or bin underneath for the things you like to do: read, carve, bead, knit,etc. Do not go into your spouse’s or roommate’s cupboard without permission. Even though you are only a few feet apart, you can still have a sense of separateness, which is very healthy.
2. The bedroom or perhaps a corner can be a “retreat” for whomever is needing a little alone time. Find a spot, but keep in mind that using the bedroom as personal space shouldn’t interfere with the other’s bedtime.
3. Different bedtimes can prove to be an advantage. One spouse may already stay up a little later or wake up earlier – this gives the other a little private or alone time.
4. We’ve heard this can be a marriage saver. If you are watching a particular show on TV or listening to some music, and the other person is not participating, use headphones. The fact that one partner has on headphones gives both a sense of privacy.5. Solo activities: Do some activities by yourself. You may be traveling in close quarters but that doesn’t mean you have to be joined at the hip and do everything together. Walking, biking, walking the dog, shopping, rig maintenance can be done alone. If there is a local theater production, I’ll attend by myself!
6. “Susan day”: Substitute your name for Susan and go off for the day on your own. Go to the library or walk around a mall – something on your own. It doesn’t need to involve spending money, just take some time to get away. Invariably these days can be renewing and you’ll have more to talk about with your fellow road warrior when you get back.
7. If you are staying at an RV park or resort, check to see if there are any activities going on in the park or community that you may interest you. Invite your neighbors over to sit with a cup of coffee or an afternoon drink. If you’ll be there several days, you could organize a get-together to work on a hobby like writing, beading or quilting. I love this and actually do it as often as possible. Honestly, I have made some great friends this way and to this day we still keep in touch via email!
8. Join an RV club or interest group within it so you can have individual friends as well as couples who are friends while on the road. Working or volunteering on the road can give you time doing your own thing plus the chance to interact with other people at the same time.
9. Recognize when you are getting stressed from traveling. Packing up and changing locations every day can be stressful and daunting. Schedule some days to putter around for some good ole R&R.
10.Improve your communication skills. When you have a difference of opinion, state how important it is on a scale of one to ten. Often an item is very important to one and not that important to the other so that makes the decision. If you both have it ranked high, then negotiate. You’ll find that many decisions become non-issues.If you respect each other and recognize your partner’s need – and your own – for personal physical and psychological space now and then, you can create an even better relationship and enjoy this full-time RV lifestyle. Keep in mind that your partner may need more or less space than you do. Each needs to take responsibility for themselves and find ways to meet this need. And, remember, people are people, don’t take the need for space personally!