I am not having fun in work mode. I don’t like distractions when I write. I like that people show up to meetings at the right time. And I’m embarrassed to take calls with people. I also vary my lunch times and drink 7 cups of tea a day. “Work Me” is a straightforward, serious version of me on leave, and it’s been kept safe in an office with people like that, so it’s easy to mingle – until now.
I wondered how my husband was going to get there while I was working from home. He’s known me for almost a decade, so he’s experienced a bunch of different releases and reboots firsthand. Kurta-salwar me, from our oppressive Bangalore University, sneakers and oversized shirt from our masters, and awkward, pencil skirt from my first gig in a women’s magazine. But none of them were a patch on my current work – put in their own way, and an inflexible touch.
As I prepared to reconcile my professional and personal issues as best I could, I began to notice little things about my partner that I didn’t have before. How at peace he was reading for his thesis, but extremely irritable when he had papers to jot down. How he ate lunch at exactly 12:30 p.m. everyday. Like he was so indulgent with the cats when we hung out on weekends, but not cool with them curling up on his desk while he worked. He too had a way of working.
It made me wonder how many other things we never really recognize about our partners and relationships because we’ve always had a busy life outside of the home. The first was obvious:
Your partner is different at work
If they are relaxing at home, that doesn’t necessarily translate. If they’re already anxious about things, they could really turn up the volume to the max. My newly married cousin is not a fan of her husband’s professional voice. “He has that ridiculous accent when he talks to his American customers,” she said, disdainfully on our Zoom call.
You could get sick of each other
Whether it’s a young sweetheart or you’ve been together since the days of dial-up Internet access, loved ones are likely to touch you. Space helps, and right now you don’t have it, so don’t be dismayed if you need a break. Damn, I love my husband a lot as a human being, but there were moments that made me dream of dropping a wardrobe on its foot. A small one, but whatever.
You will fight
Don’t put soft qualifiers here – it will happen. It can happen with who put an empty peanut butter jar back in the fridge, or it can happen with how you always felt like their mom hated you. But you both have a lot of anxious energy and very little space to put it, so at some point a screaming match will seem like the right place.
You will find out how equal your relationship is
With the housekeeping help removed and the daily chores to be done, you will get a reality of how much your partner will be pulling their weight. In my case, it’s easier because my husband is happy to share the housework, but an Instagram acquaintance is not so blessed. She works from home and does all the cooking, cleaning and laundry on her own.
You will have more sex …
All the couples I know who live alone seem to have sex more, sometimes they normally wouldn’t – and even experiment more with what they love in bed. “On slower days we even try to grab a quickie at lunchtime,” says my cousin who hates the accent. “It’s a fantastic break from work.”
… or less sex
A friend living with his wife and toddlers [twins, 5] is too tired at the end of his day to even think about it. Another, who lives with her in-laws (who usually spends a lot of time at the Gymkhana club), feels too crowded to be comfortable. “They’re still at home, and it scares me as I think my mother-in-law is still listening to them, ”she shivers.
Your attention will be tested
You are around you 24/7, which means that your exposure to each other has now increased tenfold. Now you are going to know exactly how much the other person pays attention to the most details. purposes. Listening to your partner’s moods, knowing their preferences, feeling when they need space or help – and vice versa – will suddenly be in the spotlight.
Your schedules will conflict
“At 8 am, I’m usually at the gym so it never bothered me that my wife was doing her yoga in the living room,” a friend from college told me. “I do HIIT workouts that can only be done in the living room, so I always have to wait until she finishes. It delays my whole day, ”he said in a cradle. I nod in sympathy because I have my own examples. That your activities collide with theirs seems inevitable.
While there seems to be a sense of gloom about it, I think articulating it is important. As I write this I have realized how many of these things it is helpful to just recognize. We don’t usually come across our partner’s working voices, yoga at home, or laziness about housework, and maybe that’s what kept us sane all the time. Sadly, definitive, agonizing aunt-style advice seems both too specific and personal to distribute. But at least you can, as Scar from The Lion King sings into his badass baritone, “Be prepared.”