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Living in a small space = the right kind of close for a good relationship

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I hear the same thing over and over again from friends and family when we tell them Ryan and I are living in 350 square feet, and are with each other practically 24/7: “And you haven’t killed each other yet??” Ironically, when they come and see the RV, they always say, “That thing is HUGE!”

Ryan doesn’t have a job right now (other than taking care of a lot of our day-to-day stuff and being the best husband ever), and I work at home. We don’t have a car (only bicycles) and we don’t usually live near anyone we know, so that means that we are usually together. We’re at home together, and when we go out it’s usually together.

Even before we left the bay area, we were together a good portion of the time. But when your mate is also your best friend, and not in a cliche type of way at all, it really isn’t a problem. It’s actually a good thing.

We watch YouTube videos of other couples who are full-time travelers, or who both work from home, and some of them talk about getting out of the house or working in a separate room to “get away from each other.” Ryan and I just look at each other and shake our heads.

If people are feeling “too close” to their significant others, it probably doesn’t have anything to do with the size of their home. It sounds to me like that’s about deeper problems. Ryan and I might spend the majority of the day right next to each other, but that doesn’t mean we have to talk the whole time (and we usually don’t). After more than 11 years together, we don’t feel the need to fill in gaps in the silence.

Here are some things that we do to make sure that we’re still separate people, and not melding into a single entity….

  • We will still exercise separately sometimes. Ryan will go out on his road bike while I’m working, or I’ll take a walk after work.
  • Ryan has his hobbies, I have mine and they don’t really overlap. He enjoys video games and I’d rather paint or read. Neither of us minds if the other wants to do something on their own when we’re both free. Since we have all of our stuff with us, it isn’t like we’re bored and stuck watching re-runs on TV like you might be on vacation.
  • While we typically go out together, sometimes one of us will go run errands on our own. Or if there’s something one of us really wants to do that the other one isn’t interested in, we go our separate ways. No big deal.
  • We know that we are not required to be attached at the hip. We have different sleeping schedules and food preferences (even now that we’re both vegan) so we both eat and sleep when we want to.
  • We recognize that even though we don’t do things the same all the time, we are still each other’s first priority when necessary. We’ve both dropped whatever we were doing in emergencies, or just to quickly help each other out.
  • We are a strong team. We have systems in place for our set-up and take down when traveling, taking turns driving, planning trips, even delegating chores. We use each other’s strengths to our best advantage for the good of our family, and share the work as equally as we can.
  • While we don’t share all the same interests or opinions, we have enough in common to agree most of the time. However if we don’t agree, we don’t force each other to do anything that someone truly does not want to do. At the same time, each of us makes compromises to make the other happy. Instead of complaining about it, we find ways to enjoy the situation we are in and try something new. We expand each other’s horizons that way.
  • We are honest with each other. That’s the best way to work out problems. And while we are accepting of each other as-is, there’s nothing wrong with pushing each other to be better–eat better, be more fit, learn new things. We are each other’s “cheerleader” when things get rough.

All in all, I consider myself extremely lucky to have such a wonderful person as my partner on this journey. I hope everyone out there finds the right person to walk with them on their own path, whatever it may be!

One thought on “Living in a small space = the right kind of close for a good relationship

  1. Being a team is key, as well as not forcing the partner to think and/or do the same. You are most fortunate and I’m thrilled that you have each other. Love you both.

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