My partner and I are with each other 24/7 – we wouldn't have it any other way

My husband Christian, 41, and I share a 140cm desk for up to eight hours a day – elbows in a constant dance of near-collision.

When our work is finished, we retreat to a micro couch for the evening before climbing galley-style stairs to a double bed.

All day, every day, there is barely a moment when our personal space or voices don’t overlap – and I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.

Next year will mark our 20 year anniversary of being in a relationship.

Far from seeking more space, we have just downsized from a three-bedroomed house with a converted loft and garage to a two-bed terrace.

We co-run our own businessfrom home in the spare bedroom, and share a single TV – compromising on viewing schedules.

For us, it is a full-circle moment.

We met in 2003, working side by side in our local newsroom. Within nine months of dating, we moved into our first home together – a smallconverted attic.

Only the bathroom had a door, but we were as comfortable as the starlings that nested in the eaves behind our tiny portable TV.

In the intervening years, we have occasionally lived in more spacious accommodation but, time and again, we have returned to tiny living situations, enjoying more of each other’s company.

Work and our respective friendship groups were initially used to maintaina sense ofindependence from one another, but both combined as we approached our forties.

I initially founded a business in March 2015, and invited Christian to come on board as a co-director two years later. 

As the founder of the business, Istruggled in the beginning with a slight loss of control.

That led to heated discussions, which felt personal. It seemed to me that Christian was poking holes – overreaching in his bid to make his own mark – though that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

We knew there was potential for a relationship and business crisis – so on Valentine’s Day 2018, weagreed on a set of ‘commandments’ – cast-iron rules around how we would behave towards each other.

From that day forward,the ship was steadied.

We still occasionally have crossed wires and have found ourselveson a Zoom call together with clients mereminutes after having a disagreement.

We have had to get exceptionally good at saying why we are upset, apologising and moving on very quickly – not least because our small workspace doesn’t allow much breathing room from each other. 

It’s not easy, it can be as aggravating as hell for both of us, but it stops us from becoming unstuck.

People always say to us: ‘I could never work with my partner. We’d kill each other!’ or ‘Don’t you run out of things to talk about?’. That might be true for them, but Christian is the person I most enjoy spending time with and speaking to.

We eat lunch together and finish work at the same time – often going for a walk to discuss the day’s events.

We have moved 14 times over the years and have always adapted very quickly because our marriage itself is ‘home’.

For anyone wondering how we stay happy despite spending so much time together at such close quarters, I put it down to two things –compromise and transparency.

So whilewe each have a personal bank account and a shared one for bills, we both have full access to all three accounts. Money has never been a secret between us, and we agree on every single spend.

That might make a spontaneous gift impossible, but it means we are on the same team when it comes to managing our finances.

I think another thing that helps is our clearly defined roles.

I take charge of settling bills, cooking and driving – Christian leads on laundry, hoovering and other cleaning tasks.

Knowing what each other’s expectations are of who will do what, means we co-exist more happily. 

At times, outside of work, we choose to be in different rooms to decompress, play with our cat or scroll through our phones. I like to read and Christian plays guitar, so we will enjoy time apart to pursue those hobbies.

Typically, however, we gravitate back to each other after an hour or two – even if it is to sit in companionable silence.

We still do things separately,I attend a book club once a month (mostly as an excuse to eat cheese and watch 90s R ‘n’ B videos on YouTube), whileChristian will go to gigs and watch football.  

But whenever Christian is out of the house, I always look forward to seeing him again.

Lockdown did not send the same shockwave through our relationship that it did for others who struggled living in their partner’s pocket – for us that was just normal.

The longest we have ever been apart is three days – typically when we have gone on long weekends with our respective friends.

I am always happy and present on these trips, but I feel very lucky to have a partner I look forward to going home to.

For other people, I know thattime apart, no matter how long, can be the thing that revitalises their relationship.

But for Christian and I, it’s always beena case of being better together. The risk of bruised elbows is a small price to pay. 

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