Coronavirus quarantine has got many people questioning, “who is this person I am living with?”. If you are feeling that too with your partner (with or without kids), your relationship must be going through a test.
We are spending more time with our partners/significant others than before due to this pandemic and the resulting quarantine. It’s new for us to figure out how to parent, work, and get along as we move from the living room to the bedroom all day long. Even those who thought their relationship was stable can see it deteriorate.
You are trapped in the house under a real amount of financial and emotional and mental stress and so is your partner. Wondering how to keep your relationship sane? Here are some pearls of wisdom gathered from experts to navigate through the tough times and come out stronger than ever:
1: Work from Separate Rooms
This is extremely important. Your partner may be in sales and has to take calls all the time. You, on the other hand, could be a writer who needs silence to concentrate. It’s best to create separate workspaces and make sure you don’t share each other’s essentials.
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2: Whenever You Get Annoyed, Talk About It
When the tension is high, the habits you used to ignore before starting to boil you up. Don’t like it when your boyfriend leaves the dirty cups all over the place? Let them know.
When you don’t communicate, annoyance can turn into anger. Also, some anxious habits are simply coping mechanics. So don’t be surprised if you find your partner biting nails or tapping their foot more than ever. Address this Invitingly. Tell them that you have observed they are doing this and this. Ask if there’s something they would like to talk about.
3: Give Each Other Space
Let’s face it, we aren’t accustomed to being around our partners all the time. Why not keep it that way? Find a designated space in the house where you can be on your own. Give yourself and your partner space. Use this time for a hobby.
This is harder if you live in a small space but not impossible. Use the garage or go to your balcony (if you have one) to clear your head.
4: Take Turns with Child Care
For partners with kids; one parent alone can’t manage everything. The constant demands of kids can add to the stress. Set times during the day where you and partner switch turns with child duty. Work with your S.O. to create a schedule that works best for the two of you.
5: Practice Self-Care Alone and Together
We all have self-care rituals which we prefer doing solo. You might be great at self-care but your partner, not so much. In that case, doing self-care together is important for sanity.
Find nourishing activities to do together. Sipping tea, going on an afternoon walking or meditating are some examples. Doing things together builds a connection. The added benefit is that it’s a healthy way of coping with stress.
6: Be More Conscious Than Ever
Each person reacts differently to stressful situations. Some want more attention (cuddles, words of affirmations, and hugs) and others want to support (communication and listening). Then come those who prefer distance. Figure out how your partner reacts and then provide them with what they need.
Since a relationship is a two-way street, let your partner know how you react when you are in stress (in case they don’t know). This way, both of you would be able to comfort each other.
7: Communicate as Much as You Can
Every day in the lockdown is not the same. And this is not the right time to stop communicating. In fact, you need to communicate more than ever.
Start your day by reviewing what’s on your to-do list in terms of kid’s activities, work commitments, personal and partner time. Share what’s working well and what’s causing stress. Early communication can reduce the chances of frustration.
Relationship experts suggest don’t focus your communication on the current news. Instead, inject some curiosity into your relationship. Listening is also a part of communication. Be all ears to the worries and woes of your partner. Never talk to just fill the space.
8: Be Empathic and Kind
Everyone’s dealing with the lockdown differently. No one is in their best headspace right now. Some of us can be overly emotional on little things. When your partner is being too emotional, show all your empathy.
Cut each other some slack. Be kind and compassionate towards each other. Again, productively talk about things and choose the right time.
9: You and Your Partner May be More Different than You Ever Thought
Quarantine has proven to be a time of some shocking revelations. You may not share the same interest in movies. You like to watch news early in the morning but your partner prefers silence. They are loud when it comes to taking work calls while you are the customer service expert when it comes to talking politely. And the list goes on.
Relax, use these differences to add excitement to your relationship. The only thing that matters is that the two of you share the same core value. And if you don’t know their core values, now is the time to talk about them.
10: Plan Out Fun Time Together
Laughter is the best medicine and it’s what we all need right now. Plan out some fun activities to do together on the weekends. You may also involve the kids. Here are some ideas:
- Play board games together
- Watch a comedy movie every Friday
- Bake something with the kids
- Challenge your partner to play “Never Have I Ever Have”
- Sing karaoke together
- It could be anything that helps you relax and appreciate your partner once again
11: Go on a Date (At Home)
Bring back the spark in your relationship again. Invite your partner on a date and cook a delicious dinner for them. Reminisce the first day you met or your very first date. You might have to wait until the kids go to sleep to be alone. Follow these tips to reduce the distractions:
- Pick the time and date and set boundaries with your family
- Be creative and search for ideas on the internet
- Focus on gratitude
- Have a plan B ready in case the original plan doesn’t work out
12: Get Some Fresh Air
Provided that everyone practices social distance, leaving home for essential tasks like running errands or getting groceries is allowed. Take advantage of this. Leave the house whenever you get the chance.
This change of scenery and getting fresh air works wonders. You will be all set to interact with your partner again with a clear head.
13: Make Time for Your Friends and Family
Establishing a life outside your relationship is the key to survival. Of course, we are a bit disconnected from our family and friends but technology has still created plenty of opportunities to interact.
Schedule a video call with your parents once a week. Create a zoom session for virtual game nights with family or watch a movie together with your friend. For your partner, this could a gaming session with their buddies. Nevertheless, find out what works best for you.
Keep in touch with your loved ones even if they are far, share your feelings, and make plans for the day you will finally meet. This is great therapy!
14: Don’t Keep Scores
All couples have divided house chores, kid’s time, pet care, and other activities. This division of labor is going to be full of imbalances. Don’t try to evenly dive the chores and responsibilities. Your partner may not have a flexible work schedule like you. Each one of you is probably doing their best. There is just too much on your plates right now. Therefore, don’t keep scores. Be grateful for each other’s contributions.
15: Don’t Bring Up Long-Standing Conflicts
This is not the right time to dig major relationship problems that existed prior to quarantine. Just because you are stuck together, doesn’t mean this is a perfect opportunity to talk.
For some couples, bringing past troubles have turned out worse. If things are out of hand, don’t hesitate to get professional help. Online therapy is available.
It’s best to discuss problems right now, but if there are smaller grievances that you really need to vent, bring them up. Don’t criticize your partner or attack their character. Make a small request for change and don’t forget to be polite.
No doubt these are not ideal times and we all wish there was a Coronavirus guide for relationship survival. With a little effort, the right mindset, and healthy communication, you can navigate your problems and come out stronger than ever. Try to work things out as a team. Be kind and forgiving to each other more than ever. In case conflicts are at their peak, seek professional help immediately to save your relationship boat from sinking.