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Maintaining your relationship in a small space. How to make it work

It’s day eight. Yes, eight straight days of rain where I am. And more rain is in the forecast. Eight days is a long time to be inside the RV. It’s a long time if you’re by yourself. It may feel even longer if you’re sharing the small space with someone else. Even if you dearly love your RV travel buddy, the tight confines of an RV can put a strain on your relationship. Here’s how to work on maintaining your relationship in a small space, like an RV.

Maintaining your relationship, making it work

Living in a small space (like an RV) shouldn’t put your relationship with another in jeopardy. All you need are a few tips or tricks up your sleeve.

Communicate

No matter where you live, clear communication is vital to a relationship. (Hint: Don’t wait until day eight of constant rain to tell your husband that “Law & Order” reruns are making you loony.) Begin by communicating with yourself. That’s right, ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” When you’ve answered that question, tell your travel buddy. Encourage them to answer the question for themselves, too. Then you can work together to meet each other’s needs. If you don’t have a ready answer to “What do I need right now?” discuss your feelings together. Then brainstorm ways in which each person’s needs might be met.

Laugh

Rather than bemoan the small space inside your RV, keep your sense of humor. In order to get into our higher-than-normal RV bed, I use a step stool. My husband performs what I’ve dubbed his “lumbering swan dive.” Sometimes I’ll rank his dive, like in the Olympics. Keeping a good sense of humor will help you both enjoy your small space more.

Alone time

It’s difficult to get alone time when your RV is basically one small, open living space. If you’re fortunate enough to have a separate RV bedroom (with an actual door), you can find time for yourself there. Read a book, take a nap, or make a phone call to a friend. A few minutes to an hour can make a world of difference in how you regard your small space.

No door or separate area? Think outside the RV. Run to the truck or car. You don’t need to drive anywhere. Use the space to play solitaire on your phone, call a friend, or listen to the radio. Bonus: Your travel buddy will have the RV all to themselves during your time in the truck. You both get some precious “alone time.”

Find larger spaces

When the four RV walls begin to close in, head outside. That may mean a heavy winter coat, a rain jacket and umbrella, or a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face from the glaring sun. Go for a walk. Sit on a park bench. Or ride your bike. Riding a bicycle in the rain might seem strange, but it will get you out of the RV and potentially make a memory. There are really no “rules” to living in a small space. Sometimes breaking with the norm is just what you need to maintain your relationship.

Use technology

Feeling confined in a small space sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable. Technology can help me feel better because it offers so many choices. I can FaceTime with a college roommate and relive old times. I can play card games, like canasta, with my sisters who both live far away from our current RV park. (We use this site, but there are many online card game sites to explore.) Technology enables me to stay in touch with friends through Facebook and email, too. Getting “away” from the RV through technology renews my perspective and I’m in a better frame of mind afterwards. (Hint: Headphones are peacekeepers. We use them when the other person doesn’t want to “join in” with the technology. My husband uses headphones to listen to music and I use them for podcasts.)

Schedule

Stop rolling your eyes. I understand that when RVing you want to feel carefree, without rules or schedules. But to keep the peace (and a positive state of mind) you might need at least a little structure. It’s no fun scrabbling over the bathroom sink to brush your teeth. The same goes for using the microwave in the kitchen.

Make your small RV space work for you by following a schedule, of sorts. Perhaps you’ll need to get up a few minutes before your wife so that you can prepare your breakfast before she needs to use that same small kitchen space to make coffee. The same goes for many other activities inside the RV. Like showering. You may need to plan so that neither person runs out of hot water. It’s a matter of consideration, patience, and respect. Most important of all is communication.

That small RV space can work while maintaining your relationship! What successful tips or tricks can you share with us? Let’s get the conversation going. Please comment below.

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David Ciummo
11 days ago

Being in a class b you need to tell the other person, I moving this way to get my shoes from up front. Not using words like can you move!

Canflo
12 days ago

This worries me
whenever comments are asked for, there are many.
some good, some funny , some ?
and here we have only a few?
my life mate and I are taking a 3 week trip in the fall
In a class c – one inside room
and I was interested in how others managed so much time together
Shut up in a small space
so why no comments ?.
is this such a touchy subject?
no advise of what to pack for this critical time that happens to any
RV adventure .
advice?

SUSAN M
13 days ago

Over the years we’ve lived for extended periods in various RVs. The most recent was 4 months this past winter – in a 17′ Casita. It was challenging, but we always try to give each other space, mental & physical.

Tips:
The 1st person out of bed has the right-of-way. He/she gets to get dressed and get organized without interference from the 2nd person. A few minutes later when person #1 is seated, the 2nd person gets up.

The night before prep your clothes for morning. Place them where you can easily put them on without interfering with your partner.

At the breakfast table, no out-loud sharing of news, no sound-on videos. If something must be shared, ask first – “Can I read this to you?”

Use the bed. For us it becomes a luxurious reading nook. We always carry 2 extra bed pillows for back props.

Use your vertical space. I made wall pocket organizers for reading glasses, phones, lip balm & such. We each have one on the wall next to us at the table.

Danno
13 days ago

You’re in an RV, go somewhere else! ;-D

Leslie Peralta
13 days ago

Sharing the same small space is hard for me when the other person is messy. It detracts from the relaxing atmosphere.