How did you move in with your SO when you worked opposing schedules?
June 29, 2014 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I work days, he works nights. We both like to sleep. And now we want to move in together. How do we make this work?

My boyfriend and I are at the point where we kind of want to move in together, but we're not sure if it will work with our schedules. He works 7:30 pm to 7:30 am 3-4 nights per week (some weekend nights as well). I'll be working more 7 am to 5 or 6 pm, with probably some weekend days and some evenings. I would be moving into his house, which is in a great neighborhood but a tiny 2 bedroom/1 bath with NO soundproofing. Even living alone, he really struggles to get enough sleep. I'm quiet, but not, like, a totally silent ninja. He may get promoted to days at some unknown point in the future, but nothing is definite.

So far we have thought of building a little freestanding structure in the yard to use as a quiet getaway for the person who needs to sleep (not sure how getting a permit from the city would go in that case), or even buying an RV and using that. The RV has the advantage of being resalable and in my name while the house is owned by my boyfriend. PLus, we could use it to go on vacation. We both have well paying jobs but are definitely not interested in buying another house together because we're not wanting that level of financial codependency- at least not before we know we can share the same space.

Any other creative solutions I'm not thinking of? How have other couples done this? Am I crazy for thinking about dropping $50k on an RV to park in my boyfriend's yard?
posted by genmonster to Human Relations (13 answers total)
If you're thinking about $50K for an RV, $50K worth of renovations to soundproof the bedroom could go a really long way.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:57 AM on June 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

As a former night shift worker I dont know if an RV would be a great option for sleeping. Most of the really obnoxious day noise is also outside noise. Lawn mowing, dogs barking, trucks, snow shoveling/plowing.

Would it be an option that the RV is a hangout for the awake person?
posted by MadMadam at 12:05 PM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah I was assuming the RV is for the awake person, but they'd still have to come inside to use the bathroom, kitchen, or anything else involving water unless you're hooking up water & sewer hoses, which may not be allowed in your municipality. (Alternatively, you could fill up/dump the tanks at a campground but that sounds like a PITA to me.)
posted by desjardins at 12:16 PM on June 29, 2014

You may be way overthinking this. The situation you're describing has you at work before he even gets home, and at work for the entire time he'll be asleep after a shift. He'll be alone in the house those days whether you live there or not!

Your challenge will be what to do on the weekend days that he needs to sleep and you'll be home and awake. Even if he works every other weekend for both days of the weekend, that's only four days a month. It hardly seems worthwhile to make a major purchase like an RV for so few days.

Since money doesn't seem to be a big obstacle, you could make those four days the times that you splurge on yourself. After having breakfast with him when he gets home, tuck him into bed and then enjoy haircuts, manicures, pedicures, massages, brunches with friends, visits with parents, adult ed classes, trips to museums that aren't of mutual interest, movie matinees that he likewise wouldn't want to see, leisurely bookstore browsing trips, hiking, exercise, wine tastings.... Really, anything you like a lot that he could take or leave can be done on those days. He can text you when he wakes up and you can head home with coffee and pastries and you two can plan your evening.
posted by jesourie at 12:41 PM on June 29, 2014 [8 favorites]

I'd be tempted to call someone like these guys (just found through google - no personal recommendation) and see what they could do for $4500 or less to soundproof one of the bedrooms and make it the sleeping/quiet room. Then I'd spend $50 on a white noise machine and $120 on a sunrise alarm clock to help with the room always being pitch black because of the noise reducing curtains.

Finally, in a bit of free social engineering, I'd try to work out some sort of notice or schedule, so the awake partner can try to be quiet/out of the house while the sleepy partner was falling asleep. For me, at least, the level of noise I can sleep through is higher than the level that annoys me while I'm falling asleep.
posted by mercredi at 12:42 PM on June 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

My lovely bride and I have opposite schedules. She works nights and I work days. Our house is 3 bedrooms with 2 baths, but all on one floor, with wood floors throughout. So it's not very soundproof either. During the work week I am gone while she is sleeping, but I get home a couple hours before she is ready to get up. I don't work weekends, but she does.

Here's what we do:

-White noise in the bedroom helps a lot. A fan is on all year long (even if it's pointed away from the bed) and a window air conditioner is on most of the year. There are other white noise solutions if these don't work for you.

-I keep noise to a minimum when I'm home. That means TV on low, with subtitles on if available. I don't do any loud yard work or household tasks while she is sleeping. I try to run any errands during her sleeping time. I also do my weekend bike rides in the mornings after she has gone to bed.

-I use her sleeping time for my quiet activities: reading, writing, editing photos, etc.

-I make sure I plan ahead to take anything from the bedroom I might need (change of clothing, toiletries, etc.)

-I have a "no soliciting" sign on the front door. For some reason, my neighborhood is a beacon for every sales force, politician, evangelist, and fund raiser in our city. The sign helps prevent extra daytime disturbances.

Honestly, the biggest problem is not noise I make inside the house, but the noise made by daytime activities in the neighborhood. Mowing, tree-trimming, roof repair, leaf raking, snow-blowing, and snow shoveling are bigger disturbances than anything I do, and are totally out of our control.
posted by The Deej at 12:58 PM on June 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Can you have separate bedrooms, so that each person's sleeping room also serves as a sort of "den" they can hang out in when the other person is sleeping?

Your clothes and personal belongings would be in your bedroom, so you wouldn't ever have to risk disturbing your partner by trying to sneak into the room where he's asleep to rummage around for that shirt you forgot to grab out of there. And you could spend most of your only-person-awake time in your bedroom watching TV quietly, listening to music or podcasts through headphones, reading, doing yoga, or whatever.

And spend a few bucks soundproofing the other room so that you can eat and go to the bathroom like a normal person without waking up your partner. We use a year-round fan in the bedroom as white noise, and even with our thin apartment walls I can sleep through any normal noise my husband makes in the next room.

Oh, and don't get all bent out of shape over the idea that having separate rooms means you won't have a sex life. As my grandma used to say, "You can visit!"
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:43 PM on June 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

I honestly don't understand the issue. Won't you be at work most of the times that he is home sleeping?

On the weekend days that he's sleeping, can't he wear earplugs or use a white noise machine? And maybe you could try to run errands or do other things outside the house for those morning/early afternoons (when my husband works until 7 am, he sleeps til 1 pm; YMMV). If you're a late sleeper on the weekend, then the time he's sleeping and you're awake may only be a few hours.
posted by amro at 5:53 PM on June 29, 2014

My husband and I work rotating shifts and used to live in a 400 sq ft apartment in the middle of a noisy city. We used blackout blinds and earplugs. It was fine. Buying an RV seems like some serious overkill.
posted by makonan at 8:38 PM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

As someone who has lived in an RV, they have even less soundproofing than any house I've ever been in. Don't get an RV with the intention of getting good sleep in it unless you've parked it at a quiet campground in the middle of the woods far from traffic.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:19 PM on June 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm in a similar situation.

blue tack aluminium foil to the bedroom windows. Buy ear plugs in bulk from a hardware store. Fans are a cheap white noise machines. Invest in wireless headphones.

I think just being understanding and communicating about the issues goes a long way. Ie My partner never realised until I told her that even if I'm sleeping with ear plugs in, when she spray deodorant in the bedroom, the smell will most probably wake me up.
posted by Burgatron at 11:08 AM on June 30, 2014

Whether you need a permit or not for a small shed depends on local laws (Example, counterexample). But if an outbuilding sounds like a good idea to you, you could definitely do that more cheaply than an RV. Possible concerns: sheds aren't designed to be soundproof or particularly climate-controlled, and so might be uncomfortable for sleeping.
posted by aimedwander at 12:28 PM on June 30, 2014

Fans are a cheap white noise machines.

My kids' white noise machines cost less than my fan, but YMMV. But cheapest of all (if you have a smart phone) is a free white noise app.
posted by amro at 4:14 AM on July 1, 2014

« Older Duck Wars: Is there anything humans can do?   |   Having a messy house is the least of my worries Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.