Are you stuck at home with your significant other, wondering how to keep your relationship strong during coronavirus isolation? Good for you for being proactive.
Coronavirus has changed, at least temporarily, the everyday life that we Americans have lived for so long. Instead of going to work and school, the grocery store and the movies, we are stuck at home. And if there is nothing that Americans suck at more, it’s staying at home.
One of the first relationship that get frayed during crisis and isolation is often our romantic one. As time, fear and boredom take over, the instinct to take it out on your partner is not small.
There are ways to get through these scary times with your relationship intact, and maybe even stronger. Let me suggest how.
#1 – Respect each other’s fears.
In our house, my boyfriends and my way of dealing with everything that is going on is quite different. I have been obsessed with watching the news and learning everything that I can about what is going on (without getting hysterical). For my partner, he has been keeping up on the news peripherally but generally going about his life.
To his credit, he is happy to sit there and listen to me while I spout out whatever information I might have just learned. What occurred to me yesterday, when I was sharing ‘just one more thing,’ was that I might be driving him crazy and stressing him out by interrupting him all time and sharing whatever tidbit I had discovered.
If your partner is like me and you are more like my partner, are you being supportive and listening? If your partner is lackadaisical and you are stressed out, are you respecting their need to be that way and not insisting that they listen to everything that you have to say?
If you and your partner are reacting differently to this health scare know that, to keep your relationship strong, having a talk about the differences and making an effort to respect those difference will help keep your relationship strong.
#2 – Respect each other’s space.
Weekends are lovely at home but, more often than not, when Monday rolls around my guy and I are ready to get back to work and have some space. Not because we don’t love each other madly but because sometimes too much togetherness isn’t necessarily a good thing.
It is important that, to keep your relationship strong during this time where you and your partner might be stuck at home together, you respect each other’s space. That no matter the anxiety, or the boredom, that might be consuming you both, give your partner the time to step back and take care of themselves.
What does that look like at our house? My boyfriend is, as we speak, in the garage working on a car project that he hasn’t been able to get to because he has been working so hard. I am inside, on the couch with my kitty by my side, writing my blog. When I am done, I will make lunch for both of us and then he will go back to the garage and I will do some yoga. Later on, we will take a walk.
Not being in the same space 24/7 is going to be a key part of us getting through all of this together time intact. You can do it too. Because none of us wants to be alone during this time, and no one wants to be even more stressed out because their partner is driving them crazy.
#3 – Respect each other’s needs.
Everybody has needs that help calm them during stressful times. It is important that, right now, we try to identify, respect and meet each other’s needs.
For me, right now I need to be able to putter around my house. Keeping it orderly makes me calmer. I need to be able to cook comfort food, even if it isn’t healthy. Having my feet rubbed during our evening TV makes me happy too.
For my partner, shockingly, it seems to be sex that he needs. I tried to postpone indulging last night and was met with a frown and a pouty face. I indulged him and he was happy. He also finds peace working on any car – solving problems and finding a cure.
Try to figure out what your partner needs during this stressful time. If you can’t identify what they need, ask them. A key part of living together in peace will be by giving each other what you each need.
#4 – Respect your time together.
If there is one thing that couples in America don’t have enough of its time together.
Our crazy work and parenting schedules make it so, at times, couples barely say more than a few words to each other over the course of a day other than ‘good morning’ and ‘good night.’ We are accustomed to this being the way things are but the way things are are rarely good for any relationship.
A wonderful way to take advantage of this time that you and your partner have together, and to keep your relationship strong, is to do things together. Take walks, binge watch “Better Call Saul,” have backgammon marathons, fool around. You have nothing but time right now so make the best of it!
Using this time of coronavirus isolation for good can be just the thing that saves a relationship that is struggling and making stronger one that is intact.
#5 – Respect yourself.
It is important, during this time of crisis, that you respect and care for yourself.
Men and women, both, have a tendency to go into overdrive with care giving and crisis management when confronted with something unknown and scary like the coronavirus. And when we do that, we can suck ourselves completely dry.
Make an effort to take care of yourself. Take baths, take walks, exercise (outdoors), watch cute cat videos on YouTube, play with your kids. Whatever it is that gives you pleasure, even in the short term.
If you find yourself wearing out and getting crabby, think about what they tell us on airplanes – ‘put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.’ That’s what we need to do right now. Even if you are working hard to keep your children feeling safe (and not bored) or dealing with a crabby partner who hates sitting still, make a conscious effort to step back, if only for a bit, and take care of yourself!
Knowing how to keep your relationship strong during coronavirus isolation is a key part of getting through the crisis intact.
Don’t belittle your partner’s emotions, share what you both need to get through this, make the most of your time together and take care of yourself!
I know it feels like everything has changed and will never be the same but we will get through this as a nation and our relationship can survive and, even thrive, in spite of it all.
If you have made this far you must really be going a little crazy with isolation.
Let me help you get there, NOW, before you get crazier.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here, and let’s get started.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.