Home and Away's Sophie Dillman on living and working with a partner: 'Can be tough'

EXCLUSIVE: Sophie Dillman and her partner Patrick O’Connor were the golden couple of Summer Bay.

Sophie Dillman is Yahoo Lifestyle Australia's brand new columnist. Sophie will be bringing insider insights into everything from her time on Home and Away to what it's like being in the public eye and falling in love in the workplace.

Sophie Dillman wearing a pink suit
Sophie Dillman gets real about living and working with a partner. Photo: Instagram/Sophie Dillman

No relationship is perfect. Everyone comes home to occasional dishes in the sink, forgotten wet washing, or the empty packet of double coat Tim Tams (Spoiler: I am in fact ALWAYS the Tim Tam thief). Now let's amplify those little frustrations x1000 because those dirty dishes have turned into stolen work pens, messy dressing rooms, and arguments in front of colleagues (Does this sound like it’s getting personal?).

Living with a partner can be tough. Living and working with a partner can be a nightmare.


I am happy to report that Patrick and I not only survived living and working together, but we are stronger than ever. I am so lucky to have had him on this crazy journey, however, it was definitely a journey and there were a lot of lessons learnt along the way.

Sophie Dillman and Patrick O Connor dressed up
Sophie Dillman and her partner Patrick O’Connor were the golden couple of Summer Bay. Photo: Instagram/Sophie Dillman

To start with, we were colleagues and friends first, and I actually believe this has been the key to our success. Can you imagine falling for prince charming and then finding out they steal food from the work fridge?! Heartbreaking. (NB: Paddy did not steal any food from the work fridge to my knowledge).

Paddy and I found our working relationship effortless. From the beginning we had a great respect for each other's determination and passion. Fast forward to many months and hours spent on set together and we started dating, and the worlds started colliding.

One of the biggest challenges I had was separating the work fights from the home fights. If we argued at home and then had to play happy and in love at work, that was tough. On the flip side, if we had a fight at home and then had to argue at work it was very handy haha.

Patrick is a lot better at moving on after a spat, so if we disagreed about something at work he would be fine at the dinner table whereas I would be eating in silence.

Sophie Dillman and Patrick O' Connor as Ziggy and Dean
The couple played Ziggy and Dean on-screen. Photo: Instagram/Sophie Dillman

I also realised that there is a difference between quality and quantity time. You can be around someone all day and not actually have a meaningful conversation. There were definitely times that Paddy and I could have prioritised our private relationship over our work.

Don’t get me wrong, having someone fully understand what you do every day is so important. It helps you to feel seen and heard. It also means you have someone to run lines with and bounce ideas off of at the dinner table, and not feel judged if you need to go to bed at 7pm.

If I could impart a little bit of wisdom to anyone considering kissing Kenny the copy guy (#Friendsreference), it would be this:

Communication is key

Every thought and feeling needs to be discussed the moment it happens. You spend too much time with your partner for them to not notice you are upset AND you haven’t got a lot of time apart to decompress. If it’s not communicated, there will be an explosion.

Sophie Dillman and Patrick O' Connor
Sophie and Patrick are 'stronger than ever' after finding love on set. Photo: Instagram/Sophie Dillman

Separate work and home

Set some boundaries that you are both comfortable with. You can't maintain a healthy work/life balance if you take work home with you, or take home with you to work every morning. Make sure you have time at home to be yourselves doing life things, and remember you are people and partners outside of the office.


It can be tough remembering who you are as an individual in a couple. I have made it a big priority to spend time doing the things I love both alone and with friends. You can't put your best foot forward in a relationship or at work if you are neglecting yourself.

It takes compromise, respect, communication, patience, and a whooooooooole lot of love to live and work with your partner. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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