NYC relationship killer: Studio apartments

By Michelle Castillo  | May 20, 2010 - 7:51AM

Moving in with your significant other is a big step. But moving into a microscopic New York City apartment might be the last thing you do together.

One pair of Manhattan couples’ counselors tells BrickUnderground that it's a case of proximity-breeds-hostility:  About 20 percent of the couples they see begin therapy after moving into studio apartments together.

“Living in a small space amplifies problems that are already there,” explains Dr. Paul Moschetta.

Another Manhattan psychotherapist, Charley Wininger, has also seen a fair number of cases in which couples’ problems metastasize after they squeeze into cardboard-box-sized digs.

“Two compatible people in too small a space can become incompatible,” he says.

Herewith, some suggestions for small-space coupling:

  • Slum it Sometimes getting a larger apartment in a so-so neighborhood is better than getting a tiny apartment in an amazing neighborhood. That little extra space can make all the difference between come hither and Get Away.
  • Take preventative measures Be clear with your partner what you need before you move in. For example, if you’re an early morning person who likes to make coffee and watch CNN while your partner likes to sleep in, that will get annoying – especially in a studio. Try to negotiate.
  • Decorate communally Don’t overstuff your apartment with objets from your unpaired life. Being surrounded by too much of one person’s belongings can make the other feel like they can’t call their place their own.
  • Deal with it Minor problems blow up into major ones in a small room. Bring it up before it’s a big deal, and remember that storming around your apartment while your significant other watches won’t help.
  • Get. Out. Couch potatoes take up too much room. Walk the dog and go out to eat once in awhile to ease the friction of brushing elbows every time you go to the bathroom.
  • Fake a larger place Being neat can actually make the place look bigger. Make your bed and put away the dishes – you might find that studio space isn’t as small as it seems.

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