‘I moved in with my husband after 21 years – it ruined our relationship’
A woman who moved in with her husband after 21 years together said that it ruined their relationship – as she felt like his cleaner. Claire Burke, 55, lived apart from her husband, 49-year-old David, for 20 years, even though the pair had a child together.
She said the distance created a spark and even though they lived in separate houses, their marriage thrived and they recently celebrated their emerald anniversary. But now they have finally moved into the same house and Claire hates it, saying it has completely ruined their romance.
The couple has now split their home in two – and are once again, living in harmony.
Claire, from Wetherby, West Yorks, said: “I went from running my own home and keeping it tidy, to all of a sudden feeling like nothing but a cleaner.
“I got so stressed about leaving dirty clothes laying wherever he’d taken them off, leaving stuff on the dining room table, black rings around the bath, toothpaste in the sink and leaving his gym equipment around the garden.
“It caused lots of tension and we had stern words about it on several occasions, but after a while, I have decided to accept this is just the way he is.”
Claire and David finally relented and bought a house together last year – but struggled with living under the same roof.
They have now agreed to split their shared house in two – and have gone back to having separate bedrooms so they don’t have to share a bed and they even watch TV in different locations in their home as they could never agree on what to watch.
She continued: “Although we attempted sharing a room and sleeping in the same bed, that just didn’t work for us.
“We also tried sitting in the lounge every evening and watching TV together, but it wasn’t comfortable and we could never agree on what to watch on TV.
“I like my soaps and romcoms and he loves Marvel.
“Before deciding we would just spend our evenings apart, we made a rule that if we’d decided to watch something, we had to give it ten minutes and if one of us wasn’t enjoying it, then we had to let the other know.
“We just discovered we didn’t have anything in common when it came to that and found it was better if we just had different places in the house where we could unwind and watch TV.”
After 20 years of living in different houses, Claire just couldn’t get used to having to share her space with David.
She says that she struggled to share the double wardrobe in the master bedroom that they were due to share.
Claire added: “It was very hard trying to reduce the number of clothes I had to be able to share the wardrobe with David.
“When we did attempt it, he probably only had about one-eighth of the space. He hardly had room to look through his shirts.
“At least now he has a wardrobe and a set of drawers in his own bedroom and I can spread all my clothes within the double wardrobe.
“David isn’t bothered about what his room looks like, but I like to make sure that all the rooms in the house look good.
“So I go into his room, make his bed for him, fluff his pillows, and keep it nice.
“His room at his old house was like a proper bachelor pad, the furniture was broken and it just didn’t look great.
“We have found a way of making living together as a family work for us.”
The couple still has their separate lives and times, while living under one roof with their son, Jay, now 13.
Claire said: “It’s like we have the best of both worlds now.
“We can have all the family time we like, especially at dinner times, as we can sit down and enjoy a meal together.
“We also have 15 minutes each night after Jay goes to bed, where we have a little chat and catch up before he goes off to watch TV.
“I was scared stiff that when we moved in together we would lose our spark because when we lived apart I would get giddy about seeing him and my stomach would do flips when I saw him walking up the driveway.
“But we are still very much in love and even decided to renew our vows last year as we had been together for 21 years.
“Our living arrangements may not be conventional but they were for us and we have been so happy since adapting how to live under the same roof.”