Navigating Relationship Issues During Coronavirus
While being stranded on a private island with your spouse may sound romantic, being quarantined in your home with your spouse for months brings that fantasy into a warped reality quickly. Many of us are trying to navigate a relationship that up until a few months ago had a working routine, healthy time apart, and snuggling on the couch to watch a movie was a treat.
More recently, we have found ourselves trying to speak over our spouse who is in the other room also on a conference call and missing the “me” time that made coming back together at the end of the day more welcomed.
Here are some tips for navigating close quarters with your loved one:
- Set aside individual time daily where you can think and relax apart from your significant other. A car ride listening to music, a walk around the neighborhood, or even a trip to the grocery store can provide the distance and personal time needed.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Each person is coping with Coronavirus impacts differently and it’s a good bet not just you, but your significant other, is also experiencing some amount of new or amplified stress during this time. When we are home around each other all day, it’s easy to tune into the things that are really annoying that you never noticed or that weren’t so bothersome before. Make sure you don’t dwell on the little things like who used the last roll of toilet paper (yikes!) or who didn’t put the dishes in the sink. Instead, try to identify in your head 3 positive qualities for every annoying thing your significant other does.
- Check in with each other often. When we are running from work to after school activities to errands, life is often so busy we don’t have time to reflect or worry at the same level that we have found ourselves experiencing these past couple of months. Sitting around the home with little to nowhere to go, can often bring to the surface new feelings of helplessness, self-reflection, or worry. Use the extra time together to really check-in with each other. If you are used to asking your significant other “how did your day go?” when they return home from work, make a point to ask them this same question even if they have been next to you on the couch all day. Staying in tune with each other is crucial during this time.
- Create a “new normal” for your routine. Work together to manage newfound stressors inside the home. This could mean coming up with a new daily schedule together, designating certain spaces for each of you to work from home during the day, or re-distributing chore responsibilities.
- Use this extra time together to do nice things for each other. Has it been a while since you bought your spouse flowers? Could your significant other benefit from a love note or encouraging words? Make an effort to go out of your way to build love and kindness in your relationship, especially during a time where it may not come naturally due to stress and worry.
- Reach out to others for support. Individual or couple’s counseling can be extremely beneficial, particularly in a time like this. Don’t hesitate to locate mental health professionals in your community who can provide support and guidance for both of you during this challenging time. There is no shame in caring about yourself and your loved one enough to take extra steps for a strong and supportive relationship.
If you feel you are in danger or are in a domestic violence
situation, please get help immediately.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Texas Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400