So you had this grand dream of traveling the country with the person you love the most. The two of you have captured pictures of sunsets together, hiked in national parks all over the country, and loved the flexibility the RV life has given you.
However, now you’re feeling disconnected, you seem to get angrier with each other more easily, and you’re starting to get bored. RV living might be harming your relationship, and here’s what you can do to get that fire and excitement back.
RV Life Isn’t for the Faint of Heart
First, let’s establish that RV life isn’t easy. Living in close quarters with another person or other people is difficult.
Not having privacy or personal space can be irritating. Dealing with maintenance and repairs can be exhausting and expensive.
So if you’re feeling tired and frustrated, you’re not alone. Many RVers experience this. But there may be more to your frustration than just the surface stuff.
5 Signs That RV Life Is Ruining Your Relationship
Let’s look at five signs that the RV life is not just hard but damaging your relationship. These are warning signs you want to take seriously; they could spiral out of control.
But also take heart that if you notice any of these warning signs, hope is not lost for your traveling lifestyle. There are just some changes that you need to make or steps you need to take to get your relationship back on track.
#1. You’re Always Irritated With Each Other
Why This Happens: This is very common among traveling couples. Because you live in a small space, it’s easy to get irritated with each other. You’re always stepping over someone’s shoes, or you’re constantly moving work stuff from the table so you can eat.
If you haven’t carved out personal time to be alone regularly, then you probably don’t feel like you have any privacy. You’re working, sleeping, eating, cleaning, and doing life constantly together.
How to Move Forward: One way to combat this irritation is to carve out more alone time. Another way to address this common problem is to have open communication. If this is something you struggle to do in your relationship, the frustration and anger will continue to grow.
No matter how uncomfortable it is, you must talk with each other about what’s going on. This is true for any relationship anywhere you live, not just in an RV. But when you live so closely together in a confined space, it’s even more important.
Listening to each other during this dialogue is key. Don’t be defensive. Hear each other out to help make the living situation better.
If your wife is frustrated with always washing the dishes, offer to help more often. If your husband is irritated that you don’t clean up the loose hair in the shower, start doing it.
Most of the time, you don’t know what’s irritating each other if you don’t share it. Having constant communication will help improve your situation, and you’ll know what changes both of you need to make.
#2. You Don’t Have Your Own Space
Why This Happens: You’re living in 300-400 sq ft. You have one bathroom. You might not have a dedicated workspace. Just like getting irritated with each other, feeling like you don’t have any personal space is very common among RVers.
How to Move Forward: Making time for personal space is important. Having “me time” can help alleviate frustration, anger, and stress. It can also prevent these feelings.
And open communication is key. Sit down and talk about how you can accomplish this. It might be a morning walk alone. It might be a cup of coffee at the picnic table alone. This looks different for different people. Ask each other what you both need to feel like you have personal space. Then schedule it into your routine.
Be respectful of each other’s alone time, also. If your husband likes to take a morning run by himself, don’t offer to go with him. Give him that space to start his day. If your wife likes to read a chapter at night alone by the fire, don’t grab a book and sit down beside her. Give her that space to end her day.
#3. You’re Bored
Why This Happens: You’ve been traveling for a while, and this idea that you’ve done it all begins to creep in. You really haven’t done it all, but it feels like you have.
The sights and experiences begin feeling the same. One national park starts to feel like the last national park. The adventure is waning because you’ve done so much.
How to Move Forward: It may be time for less planning and more spontaneity. If your trips are always planned three months in advance, take a break from that routine. For Type A personalities, this might be uncomfortable, but getting out of your comfort zone is exactly what you need to combat boredom.
When your check-out date is coming up, discuss where you’d like to go and just head out. Don’t make reservations, don’t buy tickets ahead of time, just go. You don’t want to pick a heavily-trafficked destination when you’re being spontaneous, but there are plenty of small towns and local parks that are great places to visit.
If the idea of spontaneity terrifies you, consider just changing up your plans. Choose a location you wouldn’t normally visit. If you’re normally a national park visitor, go to a big city the next time you move. If you love camping in the woods, book a campground on the beach next time.
Another suggestion is to have the other person plan something. If your partner usually makes the travel plans, switch it up. Turn over the next leg of your adventure to the other person.
Again, if this terrifies the Type A planner in the relationship, make a small change. Ask the other person to plan the next week. When a new set of eyes and a new mind is thinking about what to do next, the typical routine is bound to change.
#4. You Don’t Have Any Other Friends
Why This Happens: Traveling can be lonely. Especially if you like off-grid locations or boondocking, it can be difficult to meet people on the road.
And when you do meet another couple or family, one of you is leaving soon. If you want to meet up with some friends during the next leg of your trip and no one comes to mind, it’s a warning sign that RV living might be harming your relationship.
How to Move Forward: This struggle isn’t as easy to overcome. It’s not simply a conversation or specific changes you need to make. It’s not a quick fix. This is one reason many RVers get off the road. They’re lonely. But there are some things you can do to find friendships with other RVers.
One good idea is to join a group of travelers. Groups like Escapees or Fulltime Families are great because they offer hang-outs and meet-ups across the country during the year. You know that you’ll be meeting other like-minded travelers when you attend these events. The yearly membership fee is inexpensive, and the benefits far outweigh the cost.
Another good idea is to travel where your friends live. If you went to college with someone who lives in San Francisco, take a trip there and spend a few weeks exploring the area while also hanging out with others. If you have a cousin you haven’t seen in a few years, take a trip to visit them.
Your traveling lifestyle can be an asset. Use it to your advantage!
#5. You Can’t Find New Things to Talk About
Why This Happens: Similar to the previous red flags, the last warning sign is talking about the same things. This can happen because you don’t visit different places. This can also happen because you don’t have friends to share conversations with. Doing the same routine with the same person repeatedly will result in boredom.
How to Move Forward: By following the previous suggestions, you’ll start to have new conversations. Traveling to different new types of places and joining a club will help foster enliven the discussion.
But another way to combat this monotony is to pick up a new hobby. You may have to try a few things before something sticks, but since you’re traveling around, there are endless possibilities.
Sign up for a couples cooking class in the area. Take a short online class together. Instead of hiking, try rock climbing or birdwatching. Even if you absolutely hate the activity and never want to do it again, you’ll have unique conversations with your partner.
RV Living Comes With Challenges
RV living isn’t for everyone. And it usually isn’t forever. Your dream of traveling the country may be coming to an end if you spot these warning signs in your relationship.
Or, it may be time to change things up. Relationship challenges happen no matter where or how you live. RV living just brings unique struggles. Begin that conversation today with your spouse or partner.
Are there any changes you both need to make to create a better traveling experience?
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