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Get tips on how to work and live together

May 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
With the changing economy meaning more unemployment, delayed retirement, and telecommuting - couples are likely to spend more time together.Jodi and Larry Ehret used to have traditional 9 to 5 jobs outside their home. Now, they work together at home.

"It was kind of on the fly," said Larry. "I surprised her with it at dinner one night. 'Hey, look what I found.'"

Larry found a franchise business. Jodi was already home a few days a week, and with two children and three dogs she wasn't sold at first.

"I like security, so the idea of it being just us - was a little scary," says Jodi.

The shifting economy has a growing number of couples working together. Fifteen million Americans are unemployed. Twenty million Americans are now self-employed, up five million from over a decade ago.

Every year, millions of baby boomers reach the retirement age, meaning that those couples are also finding themselves with more quality time.

While that can be good, too much one-on-one time can cause issues.

To cope with all that time together, psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD says couples should schedule time apart and agree on a regular activity together that they both enjoy.

"Keep dating," says Lombardo. "I don't care if you're together five or 50 years. Keep dating. Spend positive time together."

It's also a good idea for couples working together to set boundaries, treat each other like colleagues and agree when it's time to quit for the day.

"I would say if you didn't have a good relationship, it would take a toll on you," said Larry. "Fortunately, we have a good relationship, and we are very able to work through the difficult situations."

Experts also recommend setting a specific time every day when work is not discussed, and also designate a specific room in the house as a work-free zone.


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