By: Grace Gufler
The shelter in place order has put many relationships to the test and you are not alone if you and your partner are struggling during this time. The coronavirus has limited the number of resources and supports available to us. Social distancing has caused our social network to become very narrow and maybe your partner is the only person you can physically spend time with. Just as our homes have become a multipurpose space and now serve as work, the gym, a restaurant, school and so much more; the role of romantic partner has also been forced to expand. As our social lives have become much simpler; the dynamic of romantic relationships is becoming more complex as we rely on our significant other to fill in the gaps caused by Coronavirus. The lack of connection and accessibility to the outside world has forced our partners to fill the role of a best friend, co-worker, motivational speaker, physical trainer, and so on. As a result, many relationships are struggling to adapt to this new dynamic. This blog post will discuss some tips to help you and your partner establish a new routine and continue to have healthy interactions with each other while staying at home.
- Have Date Nights: as you spend more and more time with your partner it is likely that the quality of time together will diminish because you have too much time to spend together. In other words, time with your partner may not feel as special because you know you have plenty of time to spend with them. As a result, quality time is no longer strived for or cherished and can stop occurring altogether. It is important to still have intentional quality time with your partner. Plan a date night with your partner to happen at least once a week. Make dinner together, play a game, dance, go for a walk, etc. It is important to continue to schedule time that is dedicated to the relationship.
- Me Time: it is important that you are still getting me time, even if you and your partner are always home at the same time. Each person can take turns having access to a room or part of the house that is separate from their partner and allows them to engage in a hobby or activity that they enjoy doing alone. It can be hard to ask for me time during the quarantine. Maybe you feel guilty about leaving your partner alone, awkward asking for some alone time, or feel responsible for entertaining your significant other. Talk to your partner about how you are feeling and check in on their experience with it as well. The increased amount of time spent together and spent at home can be draining and can impact mental health. It is important that you continue to have some enjoyable and relaxing time for yourself during Coronavirus.
- Time With Your Friends: even though you may not be able to physically be with your friends right now, it’s important for you to maintain relationships separate from your partner. I’ve talked to many couples who feel as if they have to include their partner in all of their virtual interactions with their friends right now. Therefore, many people are struggling to have interactions that are separate from their partner. It’s understandable that this would be tricky to navigate given the unique circumstances of social distancing. However, having a social connection outside of your significant other can be helpful right now for many reasons. For one, it is a way to continue to establish and practice independence from the relationship and continue to enjoy the unique dynamics of your friendships. This will also create a sense of normalcy as you continue to engage in parts of your social life that you were active in before the shelter in place.
I hope this blog post helps you and your partner navigate the challenges brought on by the Coronavirus. If you and your partner are struggling to adapt to social distancing and would like to speak to a couple’s counselor, please reach out to one of our therapists!