Knowing that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone is different from wanting to be quarantined together for three months. Let’s be honest; the pandemic has put a strain on all of us in different ways—financially, emotionally, and physically. Even if you know that your significant other is the one, being quarantined together for months, working from home, and being separated from friends and family can put a strain on even the most solid relationships. To help get you through the final stages of the pandemic’s safer at home mandate in your area, here are five tips for couples to remain #strongertogether.
Enjoy Structured, Coordinated Alone Time
Everyone needs me time, no matter how much they love their partner. Finding some personal space for yourself may be more difficult if you live in an 800 square foot apartment compared to a 2000 square foot house with a backyard. Regardless of what your physical space looks like, agree with your partner that you will give yourselves an hour of alone time several days a week. How you each want to spend that time—reading, watching sports reruns from the 90s, yoga, meditation, journaling—is up to you. What matters is that you use it to relax and reset.
Give Yourselves Grace
No one has written the definitive book on how to survive a pandemic (yet). Be forgiving of yourselves and each other. You will feel stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration. You will have days where you can’t agree on where to get takeout, what to watch on Netflix, or how to celebrate your quarantined anniversary. When these moments occur, take a deep breath and remember that you love each other and that this too shall pass. Then keep calm and carry on.
Before Getting Angry, Pause, and Ask a Question
Little things can easily trigger an argument when you are together 24-7. On top of the stress of the pandemic itself, it may be easy to feel hot-tempered when you think your partner isn’t pulling his/her weight in taking care of the house, homeschooling the kids, or helping to plan a date night. Instead of flying into anger, try to be rational and ask a question first instead. For example, if you feel like your partner is distracted at the dinner table, and not actively participating in your conversation, ask if he/she is worried or stressed about something that happened at work. You may be surprised by what you learn, and the conversation may benefit both of you in unexpected ways.
Stay Active Together
Physical fitness can help reduce stress and anxiety and boost feel-good hormones. Even if you can’t get to your favorite cross-fit class, you can still get outside and get active. Make it part of your routine to take time together to go for a walk or run, practice yoga, participate in a living room fitness routine, or even learn to tango together by watching videos on YouTube. The goal is to stay active and to participate in feel-good activities together.
Accept if You Need to Seek Professional Support
If one or both of you is struggling with fear, is reeling after losing their job, or if your relationship feels strained and you don’t know how to fix it, consider talking to a counselor. Many doctors and therapists are seeing patients via telemedicine, which makes it easy for you to receive care from the safety of your home.
COVID-19 is stealing lives and jobs from Americans across the country. Don’t let it irreparably damage your relationship. Stay healthy together and work through the challenging times calmly, openly, and with a candid conversation. We are all in this together. If you’re lucky enough to be with the one that you love in quarantine, be kind and supportive of one another—now and always.