I’m going say the most overused phrase but… a lot has changed in these last few weeks all around the world. Many of us are staying home and “quarantine life” is the new normal. We can all agree, (I hope) that there’s a lot more soap and hand sanitizer involved, more home cooked meals and more binge watching shows and movies. But there’s something else that has been affected by all of this that we’re reluctant to talk about—-our relationships. Quarantine is affecting marriages and relationships. If you’ve noticed a change in your relationship with your partner, you’re not alone. If things are a little strained right now, know that it doesn’t necessarily mean you two are not meant for each other or that there’s something wrong that’s irreversible. This may be the “new normal” but things feel far from normal. I’ve gathered some tips from some experts as well as things that work for me personally. Here are 10 ways to get through quarantine with your partner.
1. Give each other space.
I know this sounds ridiculous. Space?! You guys are pretty much stuck together, literally. But it’s important to remember that you both spent time apart before this happened between work, errands, friends, family etc. Whenever possible, try to do things separately like exercising, taking a long shower or bath, reading or whatever makes you feel better. I know with kids this might be more difficult, but being in close quarters 24/7 without any personal time or space can make anyone frustrated or irritable.
2. Make a schedule.
My husband and I were pretty much winging it the first few weeks because we didn’t expect this to last this long. But now we make a schedule every night for the next day. The list includes things I want to get done, things he wants to get done, family activities, chores, errands and it breaks down what we’re responsible for. Since we have a 4-year-old, this helps a lot. We take turns doing lessons, bath time and various activities with our daughter. We make sure we fit in time for us to accomplish the things we want to and also have some alone time and space to unwind. That way, no one feels overwhelmed or stressed and we’re all able to have a more enjoyable day.
3. Get some fresh air.
Even though we can’t dine at our favorite restaurants or go to the movies, fresh air isn’t canceled. It’s so important to get some fresh air and sunlight. As long as you’re following CDC recommendations and practicing social distancing, get out for a walk or sit in your back yard.
4. Limit exposure to news.
We all need to stay informed but watching the news all day or constantly checking for updates isn’t necessary or good for your mental health. Choose a time to watch the news and then turn it off. You can feel helpless or on edge which can lead to more stress and anxiety.
5. Be silly.
When was the last time you got to unwind? Or do something that made you laugh? Try watching a comedy together or play some games. Blast some music and dance. Do something out of your normal routine that’s fun and light.
6. Take a trip down memory lane.
Think about some of the things you two enjoyed in the beginning of your relationship and try your best to recreate those moments. My husband and I bonded over horror flicks when we first started dating so we’ve been watching a ton of movies lately. You could also use this time to organize photos or create projects together with photos that you already have around.
7. Learn something new.
This would be a great time to teach each other something or learn a new skill together. Or you both can pick up a new hobby. Perhaps learning to cook, playing a game or sport, painting, yoga, or redecorating.
If things seem tense, pause. Take a little extra time when discussing issues, venting, or during an argument. Things might blow up because we’re all stressed out and on edge. I’m not saying not to have discussions or speak up, but be mindful that a lot is going on for you and your partner, chose your battles wisely.
9. Work on communication.
Now would be the perfect time to work on communication. Especially since, well, we’re all stuck together with a lot of time to talk. Make sure you are listening, really listening. Not just to respond. Make a plan before things get out of hand during a disagreement: have a safe word, decide that it’s okay to walk away and discuss something when both of you have had a chance to cool off, work on not interrupting each other.
10. Keep in touch with friends and family.
It’s so important to keep in contact with the people that are important to you other than your partner like your coworkers, friends and family members. Set up video chats or phone calls. Before all of this, we were able to have conversations during our commute to and from work, at work, and social gatherings. It’s important to maintain relationships outside of our romantic ones.
How are you dealing with “quarantine life”? Let us know! Below are some helpful articles if you want some further information.