1 in 3 Men Have Done This Behind Their Partner's Back, Data Shows
They're more likely than women to lie about this.
Even in the most stable, mutually respectful relationships, one partner may crave a bit more independence. This can mean going ahead and doing something without telling the other partner first. And no, we're not talking about infidelity or some other big betrayal. A new study reveals that men are far more likely than women to do one particular thing behind their partner's back. Read on to find out what that is and why experts think it's such a touchy subject.
A third of men say they've done a home improvement project without telling their partner.
As the pandemic forced people indoors over the last 18 months, many turned to home improvement projects to create better environments for working, working out, homeschooling, or simply relaxing in comfort. With this major uptick in home renovations and repair came more spending—$420 billion, according to HomeAdvisor.
The company, which connects homeowners to service providers for home projects, recently surveyed 975 homeowners who've done some sort of home improvement project with their partner. The answers reveal that couples aren't always being upfront with each other about those projects. Among the respondents, 30 percent admitted to making a project-related decision without telling their partner. And the study found that men were the biggest culprits: 33 percent of men reported doing this, compared with 25 percent of women.
Most people say home improvement projects are "a great relationship test."
If you want to see how you and your partner really deal with stress, try taking on a renovation. Seven in 10 couples said that a project was "a great relationship test." But only one in five described the process as "tense." Three of five, meanwhile, said that taking on a project together was "satisfying."
Still, there are conflicts. Agreeing to or staying on a budget was an issue for 80 percent of couples, while 43 percent said that they disagreed on style or taste.
In the HomeAdvisor study, 39 percent of respondents say they regretted working on a project with a partner. And two in five have actually separated or divorced because of it. Nearly half (46 percent) said they've brought in a professional to help guide the process.
Interestingly, both men and women claim that they are the primary decision-maker when it comes to home improvement projects: 65 percent of women say they make most of the decisions, while 63 percent of men say the same. And this can lead to locked horns too. Compromise is key to a successful project—and a successful relationship. But only 51 percent of women say they are more likely to compromise on their preferences, compared with 71 percent of men.
One-quarter of respondents admit to throwing out an item behind their partner's back.
One partner's treasure may be another's eyesore. More than half of respondents said they've fought over a difference in decor style, and 58 percent said there's at least one item in their house that they hate—but that their partner won't let them throw away.
Still, that didn't stop some of the respondents from doing it anyway. More than one in four said they've thrown things away without telling their partner. Examples included a statue one person broke "on purpose" before throwing it away, "several word sign messages," and "an ugly vase that his mom gave him."
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Most couples say that their project brought them closer together.
Over two-thirds of people surveyed—67 percent—reported that their home improvement project or projects have "made them happier or closer to their partner." And some even offered advice to any couples looking to embark on an addition or renovation of their own.
"Just say yes to everything, and it will go smoother," one respondent said. "Let your husband have some input but gently guide him toward your own visions!!" another advised.
HomeAdvisor notes that it's best to go into a project with "eyes open," knowing how you and your partner are likely to handle any conflict that may arise. They also recommend lots of planning to avoid surprises and professional input to avoid amateur mistakes.