We originally wrote this article for our heroes at Escape the City.
Rob is a foot-tapper. A really dedicated one. We’ve been snogging for seven years, an “item” for six, living together for five and married for just over one. But it wasn’t until seven-ish months ago that I realised just how much Rob loves to tap his right foot.
In the interests of balance, apparently I yawn a lot more than the average person.
These revelations came to light back in March, when Rob and I quit our jobs in London and moved to NYC. Our plan was to stay mainly in the city (moving to a new area every few weeks to keep things fresh), and work out how to make money as freelancers – preferably ones who could travel around the world as “digital nomads”.
We took a bunch of courses, attended heaps of events, met loads of people, worked out how to make money and had a blast. We also spent about 22.5 hours of each day in each others’ company. That was unexpected, and the one thing we didn’t plan for.
Not only were we living together (in weeny studios most of the time) and travelling together, we were also networking together and actually working on some of the same projects together. Compared to the “old days”, this was quite a change. Back when we both had jobs and separate social lives, weekends and date nights were sacred times to be together and catch up.
These days, “date nights” seem a bit unnecessary. But we still have them, because now it’s that much easier for us to fall into just being “pals”, “work buddies” and “travel mates” instead of a “loved-up married couple”.
Here are some tips if you’re planning on doing something similar to us in future.
Have date nights
And instead of talking about work, make a deal to only talk about non-work experiences you’ve had (either together or separately) recently.
Try not to focus on planning future experiences: it’s waaay too easy to waste an entire evening planning something, instead of being in the present and appreciating all the cool things you’ve been doing.
Hold dedicated meetings
If you need to discuss work together, make sure it’s in a “meeting” rather than just over dinner or while you’re walking to the supermarket. It helps to keep work separate from everyday life.
Try to have some completely separate projects
Rob and I have a lot of shared projects as copywriters and web project managers, but we make sure we do different things too. I love website copywriting, so I do more of that than Rob. Rob’s really into property investment, so he has a blog all about that.
These separate projects help us prove to ourselves that we can still operate and do good work without relying on the other person! It also means we still get to update each other on “our day”.
Have a break from each other at least once a day
Those 1.5 hours we’re not together? They take place in the morning. Rob goes out and does press-ups and pull-ups and weird exercises he’s read about online, and I go for a run.
Try to become more tolerant
There’s no person more worthy of some extended tolerance than the one you’re madly in love with and spending almost every hour with. It’s worth it – trust me.
If you’re annoyed or angry, bottle it up
Hear me out on this one. What I mean is this: it’s so incredibly easy to get annoyed with someone you’re spending so much time with. And a lot of the time, it’s not their fault or something they can do anything about. So before you say, “Will you QUIT sneezing like that?”, hold it in, wait a while and see if it’s still worth bringing up. THEN say your piece.
Keep some things private
Weeing with the door open will never be OK.
Learn to appreciate the sound of an incessantly tapped foot
I’m trying, I’m trying…