Is HGTV What Happens After Netflix And Chill?

November 8th 2015

Laura Donovan

Many people know about the "Netflix and Chill" hookup meme for singles. But what comes after you've started dating exclusively and you've moved in together?

Do you upgrade to HGTV and Chill, which Twitter user Andrew Roseboro proposed over the summer?

"HGTV and Chill" might mark that new stage in life.

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For the uninitiated, HGTV is a channel that airs how-to programs dealing with house remodeling, home improvement, and gardening.


A photo posted by @hgtv on

These home improvement topics are popular among married and cohabiting couples: For them, buying something new and creating a home can provide a rush.

The all-consuming pleasure behind renovation drives some couples to keep remodeling and looking for more ways to improve their homes, Ronald Doctor, a psychology professor at Cal State Northridge, told the Los Angeles Times in 2005.

"Obsessions are irrational worried thoughts, and compulsions are efforts to undo those worries," he said. "This is more pleasurable and enjoyable, and creating and building and making something happen reinforces the pleasure."

Popular sites such as Houzz also allow people to get carried away with the possibilities of home decoration and improvement.

Purchasing stuff for the home can be an important milestone for a couple building a life together. Having bought a couch with my boyfriend for our place recently, I can attest that it makes you feel closer and more settled as a pair.

But can putting too much energy into renovation and home design hurt your relationship?

Twelve percent of participants in a 2013 Houzz survey reported that their home renovation projects made them consider breaking up or divorce.

Disagreements over household aesthetics can be a bigger problem than you might think: Such feelings "sit there festering and trickle out into the rest of the marriage," marriage counselor Julie Schwartz Gottman told the Wall Street Journal.

Conflict over home decor can also result from a deeper problem in a relationship. Some people turn to renovations as a last-ditch effort to save a marriage and stay connected as a couple, Marley Oakes, a New York-based clinical psychologist, told the Observer last year. When renovations expose financial and personal problems, they can ultimately be the nail in the coffin for the couple.

"[W]hen people envision their dream marriage and their dream home, they don’t envision all the mundane details, and in the renovation process, many of them realize that they don’t want to be so intertwined with that person," Oakes said.

Fights over furniture and decorations can have "all sorts of metaphoric meanings about whose space it is," psychology professor and marriage therapist Jay Lebow told the Wall Street Journal. "The person who was living there all along feels hurt every time something is moved or changed," he added. "And the person who moved in feels like they've lost their voice."

So how do you renovate the home without ruining your relationship?

Maxwell Ryan from Apartment Therapy suggests coming to an agreement with your partner that each of you gets a room to decorate. It's also important to be considerate and to compromise with your partner. Most of all, you have to prioritize the relationship itself over the living space's appearance.

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