Following a two-week ‘firebreak’ in Wales, a five-tier approach in Scotland and just having had a four-week lockdown in England – it seems we will be getting very familiar with those we live with again.
The age-old saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ can be applied to many Brits, it appears.
A survey by jewellers F.Hinds found that 75% of couples had at least one major argument per week during lockdown in the spring and summer.
So, what has driven us up the wall, while confined to our homes? And how can we avoid getting into spats during future lockdowns?
What’s causing the strife?
According to the survey, the top five reasons behind arguments were.
- Tidying the house (or lack of it, perhaps)
- Cleaning the house
- Food shopping
- Use of the TV
- Spending too much money online
Other bugbears included who is going to do the cooking and washing up, as well as gardening and being too loud.
Of course, a major part of the grief may be based on the fact that so many of us are working from home now or will be once again, with guidance to ditch the office.
Keeping the personal and professional separate is tricky enough anyway, but it becomes even harder when clutter, noise and distractions get in the way.
Look out for each other
It seems that those who have been in a relationship for longer are generally better at coping while stuck under each other’s feet. Generally, the shorter the relationship, the more arguments per week, the survey found.
Those who had only been together 1-2 months reported having five bust-ups per week – more than any other group.
It’s hard enough getting to know someone, but if you’re suddenly stuck with them long-term, there’s no way to cool things off like before.
No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship, or if you’re in a relationship at all with your housemate, being considerate of your living partner is crucial.
Does their work involve odd hours? Do they need to talk on video meetings a lot? It might mean that you have to step up and get things done, like the cleaning or cooking.
The key is communication. Especially if your relationship is still fledging, you won’t have developed the routines that more seasoned couples are relying on in these times.
Home harmony checklist
So how to keep the rows at bay? Hopefully these steps will help you keep the peace.
- Plan your days one at a time. When are you working, eating or exercising?
- Who will be free to prepare your meals? Agree beforehand, and see if the other can do the cleaning as a form of payback.
- Take a little and often approach to cleaning. Don’t let things build up and give you bigger jobs down the line.
- If something bugs you, take a breath! Remember this situation isn’t easy for everyone.
- Find something to do together to unwind. A favourite film, a board game, a Netflix binge – whatever it is, make time to be ‘you’ still!