Smart Home Etiquette for Couples: An Expert Guide
Smart home technology is changing millions of couples' lives for the better. But will it change the way we interact with our significant others? Only in a positive way, we say—although it does come with some interesting etiquette dilemmas. To help you and your partner navigate them smoothly, we asked relationship expert Rachel DeAlto for some tips on how to be caring, sharing and considerate with your new smart home technology. Here's what she suggests. 1: Adjust your notification settings before a date. Smart home security keeps you aware of important events at home via smartphone – but how much is too much when you're on a date? Rachel says: "You never want to miss a notification about an emergency like a break-in, and your date will understand that. However, it's not okay to be to be focused on your phone. "So, customize your alert settings so that you'll see an important one, but not the ordinary things like a friend showing up at your place. You can check up on the everyday stuff when your date goes to the bathroom." 2: No user code sharing until it's serious. Four-digit user codes are replacing door keys. When should you give one to your significant other? Rachel says: "Giving someone access to your home is a very significant step in your relationship. Just because it's easy to set up or delete a user code, that doesn't make it any less meaningful than a physical door key. "The time it takes to share a user code depends on your relationship. I've worked with people who were in a serious committed relationship after two weeks and were ready for that level of intimacy. Other people don't feel comfortable enough after a year and a half, and that's okay too. There's no magic number like six months."
3: Ask before adjusting the smart thermostat… unless you can't sleep. If you're too hot or cold at home, you can adjust your smart thermostat from your phone in seconds. But should you wait and ask your partner first? Rachel says: "Just because it's easy to do, it doesn't mean that you should do it. Temperature affects other people's comfort, so it requires communication and often a compromise. "It's a bit like watching TV together – you don't just commandeer the remote control and expect your partner to accept what you choose. "However, we can make an exception for people who absolutely cannot sleep at night if they're too cold or warm. Sleep is very important to your well-being, so changing the temperature without asking is more understandable than in the daytime, when you can take off or put on a sweatshirt out of consideration for your partner's comfort." 4: If you're not sure the house is secure at night, take your phone out.
When a smart home security system lets you lock up for the night with a tap on your phone, does this change whose responsibility it is? Rachel says: "Traditionally, there's one person in the relationship whose job it is to wander around in the dark and secure the house. Couples tend to put the man in charge of it, because they think it's his job, like a valiant knight. Which is great – but if you're the other partner, and you're not sure the door is locked, and you can just do it with your phone—you can step up on occasion now. "However, if your guy takes pride in doing this job, as part of their position in the home, be considerate and let them take care of you. Even though it's easy now, don't take that feeling of doing their job away from them."
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