Married couple 'split house in two' to cope with living together after 20 years apart

·Lifestyle Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·5-min read
(Pictured: Couple Claire Burke, 54, and husband, David, 48, at their new home in Wetherby, Yorks.) A woman who finally moved into the same house as her husband after 20 years living apart has admitted the move caused nothing but tensions for them - after she felt like she had become his cleaner. Claire Burke, 55, and her husband, David, 49, were married and shared a child  together, but spent 20 years living in separate houses to keep the spark in their marriage alive. They finally relented and bought a house together last year - but now admit they have struggled with living under the same roof with Claire saying she felt more like her husband's cleaner than his wife - after she was landed with cleaning up his dirty clothes left lying around the house, toothpaste in the sink and his gym equipment, left scattered all over the garden, 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.  SEE CATERS COPY
Couple Claire and David Burke at their new home in Wetherby, Yorkshire. (Caters)

A couple have decided to split their shared house together in two to help adjust to finally living together after spending 20 years in separate homes.

Claire Burke, 55, and David, 49, are married and share a child, but only recently moved in under the same roof after finally agreeing to give it a go.

But it's caused nothing but "tension", with Claire in particular saying she had started to feel more like her husband's cleaner than his wife, finding herself always having to tidy up his mess.

They have now agreed to divide the space in the house they bought together last year in half, meaning they have reverted to having separate bedrooms so they don't have to share a bed and watching TV in different locations as they could never agree on what to watch.

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(Pictured: Claire Burke, 54, and husband, David, 48, at their new home in Wetherby, Yorks.) A woman who finally moved into the same house as her husband after 20 years living apart has admitted the move caused nothing but tensions for them - after she felt like she had become his cleaner. Claire Burke, 55, and her husband, David, 49, were married and shared a child  together, but spent 20 years living in separate houses to keep the spark in their marriage alive. They finally relented and bought a house together last year - but now admit they have struggled with living under the same roof with Claire saying she felt more like her husband's cleaner than his wife - after she was landed with cleaning up his dirty clothes left lying around the house, toothpaste in the sink and his gym equipment, left scattered all over the garden, 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.  SEE CATERS COPY
The pair have agreed to split their new home in two, sleeping in separate bedrooms. (Caters)

Claire, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, explained, "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."

She said it "caused lots of tension" and they "had stern words about it on several occasions". However, after fighting it, Claire has now decided to accept her husband is just the way he is.

"Although we attempted sharing a room and sleeping in the same bed, that just didn't work for us," she explained.

Couples sleeping in different rooms isn't entirely uncommon, with around one in four of us generally thought to live this way. And research earlier this year from Mattress Online even found that more than half (51%) of Brits sleep in a different bed or room to get a better night's sleep.

"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," Claire added.

"I like my soaps and romcoms and he loves Marvel."

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(Pictured: Claire Burke, 54, and husband, David, 48, at their new home in Wetherby, Yorks.) A woman who finally moved into the same house as her husband after 20 years living apart has admitted the move caused nothing but tensions for them - after she felt like she had become his cleaner. Claire Burke, 55, and her husband, David, 49, were married and shared a child  together, but spent 20 years living in separate houses to keep the spark in their marriage alive. They finally relented and bought a house together last year - but now admit they have struggled with living under the same roof with Claire saying she felt more like her husband's cleaner than his wife - after she was landed with cleaning up his dirty clothes left lying around the house, toothpaste in the sink and his gym equipment, left scattered all over the garden, 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.  SEE CATERS COPY
Claire and David didn't find spending their whole evening together 'comfortable' after 20 years living apart. (Caters)

Claire said that before they eventually chose to spend their evenings apart, they made a rule that if they watched something together, they had to give it ten minutes and if one of them wasn't enjoying it, they would let the other know.

"We just discovered we didn't have anything in common when it came to that and found it was spent if we just had different places in the house where we could unwind and watch TV," she said.

After two decades living apart, Claire couldn't get used to a whole host of things when it came to sharing her space again.

(Pictured: Claire Burke outside her old home in 2017.) A woman who finally moved into the same house as her husband after 20 years living apart has admitted the move caused nothing but tensions for them - after she felt like she had become his cleaner. Claire Burke, 55, and her husband, David, 49, were married and shared a child  together, but spent 20 years living in separate houses to keep the spark in their marriage alive. They finally relented and bought a house together last year - but now admit they have struggled with living under the same roof with Claire saying she felt more like her husband's cleaner than his wife - after she was landed with cleaning up his dirty clothes left lying around the house, toothpaste in the sink and his gym equipment, left scattered all over the garden, 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.  SEE CATERS COPY
Claire Burke outside her old home in 2017. (Caters)

"It was very hard trying to reduce the number of clothes I had to be able to share the wardrobe with David," she added.

"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."

And while David isn't fussed about the appearance of his room, Claire still likes to make sure all the rooms in the house look good, so still lovingly "makes his bed for him, fluffs his pillows and keeps 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," she recalled.

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(Pictured: David Burke outside his old home in 2017.) A woman who finally moved into the same house as her husband after 20 years living apart has admitted the move caused nothing but tensions for them - after she felt like she had become his cleaner. Claire Burke, 55, and her husband, David, 49, were married and shared a child  together, but spent 20 years living in separate houses to keep the spark in their marriage alive. They finally relented and bought a house together last year - but now admit they have struggled with living under the same roof with Claire saying she felt more like her husband's cleaner than his wife - after she was landed with cleaning up his dirty clothes left lying around the house, toothpaste in the sink and his gym equipment, left scattered all over the garden, 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.  SEE CATERS COPY
David Burke outside his old home in 2017. (Caters)

The couple, who share son Jay, 13, manage to (partly) live separate lives while under one roof.

"We have found a way of making living together as a family work for us," said Claire.

However, this doesn't mean they spend no time together, or that the love isn't there.

"It's like we have the best of both worlds now," she added.

"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."

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(Pictured: Claire, David and Jay Burke in Claire's old home in 2017.) A woman who finally moved into the same house as her husband after 20 years living apart has admitted the move caused nothing but tensions for them - after she felt like she had become his cleaner. Claire Burke, 55, and her husband, David, 49, were married and shared a child  together, but spent 20 years living in separate houses to keep the spark in their marriage alive. They finally relented and bought a house together last year - but now admit they have struggled with living under the same roof with Claire saying she felt more like her husband's cleaner than his wife - after she was landed with cleaning up his dirty clothes left lying around the house, toothpaste in the sink and his gym equipment, left scattered all over the garden, 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.  SEE CATERS COPY
Claire, David and their son Jay Burke in Claire's old home in 2017. (Caters)

As they were used to having to visit one other's homes if they wanted to see each other before, Claire was worried she might lose the element of excitement she got from that.

"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," she explained.

But, she added, "we are still very much in love and even decided to renew our vows last year as we had been together for 21 years".

It seems more and more couples are becoming braver to live the way they want to, and start speaking about it publicly too.

"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," said Claire.

Additional reporting Caters.

(Pictured: Claire and David Burke on their wedding day in 2013) A woman who finally moved into the same house as her husband after 20 years living apart has admitted the move caused nothing but tensions for them - after she felt like she had become his cleaner. Claire Burke, 55, and her husband, David, 49, were married and shared a child  together, but spent 20 years living in separate houses to keep the spark in their marriage alive. They finally relented and bought a house together last year - but now admit they have struggled with living under the same roof with Claire saying she felt more like her husband's cleaner than his wife - after she was landed with cleaning up his dirty clothes left lying around the house, toothpaste in the sink and his gym equipment, left scattered all over the garden, 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.  SEE CATERS COPY
Claire and David Burke on their wedding day in 2013. (Caters)