Have you heard of the tiny divorce rate? If not, we’re going to explain why it’s an issue for tiny house owners, and how you can avoid it.
So, you and your partner have decided (or are in the process of deciding) to move into a tiny house. It’s an exciting prospect, and there’s going to be a lot of planning and logistics ahead. Many couples who are about to make the move to tiny house living spend a lot of time thinking about how they’ll live within the space. As in, how they’ll maximize storage use, how they’ll arrange and design furniture to best use the space, and so on and so on.
But what a lot of couples don’t think about, it how they’ll live with each other. Ironically, moving into a tiny house is a bigger commitment than moving into a regular home or apartment. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in a confined space. And as a result, you’re likely to find yourselves living on top of each other.
What Is The Tiny House Divorce Rate, And Why Does It Exist?
Some studies have shown that in recent years, the divorce rate for couples who live in tiny houses has soared, with nearly 50% of tiny house owners separating within a few years of moving into their new homes.
With so many people turning to tiny house living these days, it’s a legitimate concern to have if you or your partner have no prior experience with minimal living. While there’s no data to tell us exactly why this is the case, we can assume that the tiny house divorce rate is likely due to the added strain of living with someone in a restricted space. The lack of personal space can truly test a relationship. If you and your partner are already experiencing relationship tension, this can make those tensions worse.
To co-exist in small spaces means exercising clear communication as much as possible. It means being as respectful of your partner’s personal space as you can. This can be difficult for people who are already on edge but failing to do this can have disastrous effects.
Tips On How To Avoid It
But don’t despair. Moving into a tiny house does not mean you’re about to become another statistic in the tiny house divorce rate. In truth, many of these broken relationships were likely caused by a) problems that were already present in the relationship before the move, and b) not being aware of the difficulties of tiny house living, and how they can be overcome.
Here are our tips on how you can best minimize the chance of relationship issues caused by your new living situation.
Design Your House to Maximise Space
If you are designing and building your own tiny house, this is an excellent chance to make the living transition smooth. Anyone building a tiny house will take this into account, as it’s one of the most important design aspects. But it can be especially important if you’re living with a partner.
Loft beds are often key to maximizing space. They allow you to use all available floor space for the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Dual-purpose furniture (such as chairs and loft staircases that have built-in storage) is another obvious way to do it. For more great ideas, check out Buzzfeed’s list of Tiny House Hacks to Maximize Your Space.
Whether buying or building your space, you can also consider buying a slightly bigger home. The average tiny house is around 150-200 square meters but can go up to as much as 500. Those extra square meters of space really can make a difference if you’re worried about how the limited space may affect your relationship.
Try To Separate Some of Your Living Spaces
Living in an open-plan space can be wonderful, and it can often make a space feel bigger. But separating some of your living spaces can help to minimize the feeling that you and your partner are living on top of each other. It’s hard to feel like you’re having any alone time
As mentioned above, loft beds are a great way of maximizing floor space. But you can also partition them off with a wall or half wall instead of leaving the loft open. That way, you can still maintain that open space while having an area that feels separated from the rest of it. When one of you feels like they need some alone time, but perhaps it’s too cold to go outside, spending some time in a walled-off loft bed can make you feel like you’ve got your own space to decompress.
Build An Outdoor Area
Whether you’re building or buying your tiny house, you should set aside a furnished outdoor area. This is somewhere both you and your partner can spend time outside of the home. It allows you to have some extra space and spend time alone without having to go too much effort.
This could be a simple patio with tables and chairs or a large lawn area with a garden and multiple places to sit. Some people build tiny houses so they can maximize green spaces on their property. This ensures that you still have plenty of space even if your indoor living area is small.
Of course, this will be difficult to do if you live in a very cold or snowy climate. But in these cases, you could also consider building a small cabin or partially enclosed space where you can still spend time in the colder months.
Your mileage may also vary depending on the land you have access to, but even a small outdoor seating area can make a difference. If you are travelling with a tiny house on wheels, try to choose new locations that are close to parks and recreation areas, and consider taking camping chairs or foldout tables (with an optional marquee) with you so you can set up a small private outdoor area wherever you go.
Keep Up With Outside Activities
One vital tip for avoiding the tiny house divorce rate is to make sure you get out of the house as much as possible. When you’re spending a couple of hours a day in the outdoors you’re spending much less time in super close proximity. This will ease some potential stress you might have.
There are a lot of options for extending your life outside of the home. For example:
- dining out
- going for walks/hikes
- visiting friends and family nearby
- Making day trips on the weekend
- Joining sports and athleisure groups
- Joining night classes or clubs
Anything that gets you out of the house during leisure time is a big plus.
This is especially important if one or both of you work remotely – spending all day inside one tiny space is likely to make you stir-crazy, putting you more on edge and adding more stress to the relationship. Maximizing outdoor activities might just be a lifesaver when you’re living in a tiny house.
Give Them Space
Some people believe that when you really love someone, you should be able to be around them 24/7. But for most people, this simply isn’t true. You and your partner are going to have to think a lot more about how you spend time. Perhaps try co-ordinating things so that one person can spend alone time in the house. It’s a small way of feeling like you can both own the space and not feel constantly on top of one another.
Considering doing things like designated shopping, where one person picks up groceries while the other stays home. It may seem like a minor adjustment. But it will contribute overall to allowing you and your partner to claim your living space on your own terms.
Consider If It’s The Right Option For Your Relationship
This will likely be the hardest piece of advice to take from this list. Because if you’re reading this, you are probably thinking very seriously about moving into a tiny house. Maybe you’ve even started the process already.
Whether you’re choosing the tiny house lifestyle for financial, ethical, or aesthetic reasons, you also have to consider if it’s a good choice for your relationship. Tiny house life is wonderful, but it isn’t for everyone. Some people simply will not thrive in a confined living space. You and your partner need to feel 100% confident that this kind of move will work before you commit.
This is especially true if you have not been in a relationship together for very long. Or, if you have never lived together at all. As we’ve established, tiny house living can put relationships under strain. It ‘ better for you and your partner to have a long track record of peaceful cohabitation.
A means of testing this might be by choosing to rent a very small apartment first. If there are no issues, you’ll probably be fine living together in a tiny house. You could even rent a campervan and try living on the road together for a few weeks. Whatever you choose, if you’re unsure that living in a tiny house is the right choice for you and your partner, you should find a way to test it before you take the plunge. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
People often paint a picture of tiny living as an idyllic life for people who prefer minimalism and a sustainable lifestyle. You rarely see the downsides depicted. It can be a shock for people who make the move to tiny living without considering what can go wrong.
If you’re a couple who are dead set on moving into a tiny house together, keep the above tips in mind while you’re planning your move. even in the most stable relationship, you need to consider possible pitfalls and things that can go wrong. Being prepared for the discomfort and tension that can arise through tiny house living is key.
But don’t let these ideas get you down. Living in a tiny house can truly be a wonderful option for many people. And it can ease enough financial burdens that it may even make your relationship stronger in the long run. As long as you take precautions and maintain clear and open lines of communication with your loved one, you are very likely to beat the tiny house divorce rate or avoid a messy breakup. Good luck on your tiny house journey!