How to Help Your Relationship Survive a Renovation

Are you struggling with romance amidst the rubble? 

Renovations may look like a great idea when they are in the draft stage, with all those clean lines and modern spaces, but it's the relationship collateral around it that you have to consider.  

Home renovations cause major stress on relationships, so I spoke to relationship expert and sexologist, Dr Nikki Goldstein, to give us some pointers on how to rebuild your love, and your home, simultaneously.

Dr Nikki flagged hurdles you need to be mindful of in the hope of avoiding, or being more prepared to deal with them when they arise. Similarly, she offered five tips to help you get through the renovation without any major emotional casualities! 

5 Hurdles You May Face: 

  1. Finances: This is perhaps the major cause of stress throughout the time of a renovation, Dr Nikki says. “Renovating can put a couple under financial stress, especially if you have a budget or have gone over budget.”
  2. Conflict: "Renovations are a time when conflict skills need to be in place and communication is paramount," Dr Nikki advises. “It's only natural that you might hit heads with things, but it's how you solve issues and compromise that will help you to the other side and also for your future relationships. If you can negotiate a difference in paint colour then hopefully you can transfer those skills to other areas of your relationship.”
  3. Stress: Renovating can be a stressful time, and you might often take that stress out on the person closest to you - your partner. “If you find you are arguing a lot more, you might need to stop and consider [why],” Dr. Nikki suggests. “Are you arguing about real issues or are you just taking out stress and frustration on each other?”
  4. Doubt: Renovating together might highlight the differences you have, and cause you to question your compatibility, Dr. Nikki points out. “If you feel like you are always at other ends of the scale on decisions this might make you doubt how compatible you are in general.”
  5. Future: If you are in a relatively new relationship, renovating together might bring up some interesting issues for the future, Dr. Nikki notes. “Is this a place you will always have together? Are you planning on making space for a family?  If you have not discussed these things but one person mentions a room potentially being the babies room it could bring up conversation or issues about the future." You may want to be prepared!  

How To Prepare Your Relationship for Renovations

Agree on a Goal: Ask yourself these questions: What is the budget - idealistically and realistically - of the renovation? Why are you doing it? What rooms are a priority and will it be enough space for the long term? Answering these will help ensure you and your partner are on the same page, Dr. Nikki notes.

Delegate Tasks: “Instead of both working on the same thing and potentially either having a difference of opinions or working too closely, it might be good to choose things that you can do separately to meet your end goal,” Dr. Nikki suggests. “Also, consider when doing this each other's strengths, weaknesses, and enjoyments.” Trust is a key ingredient here.

Plan Stalemates:  Before you hit any hurdles (remember all those points above?), discuss how you will deal with them, advises Dr. Nikki. "It might be good to discuss these ahead of time, so there are no surprises."

Be In A Good Place: Not only geographically, but as a couple! “Putting your relationships under the stress of renovations when you are already in a bad place can have more of a negative impact and go against you,” Dr. Nikki cautions. “Are you getting upset because you can't agree on the tiles for the bathroom or because you feel your partner never listens to what you want?”

Have Fun: “Renovating can be a great bonding time and should be seen as an activity you can do together not a burden,” Dr. Nikki advises. Keep the mood light and keep perspective on these often troublesome home ventures!

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