Couples look forward to so many things when they think about living with one another…being trapped with your partner under quarantine during a global pandemic is NOT one of them. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re living with your partner for the first time during quarantine:
- This is not normal. And because it is not normal it is likely that both of you are not acting normally. You may be reacting more negatively to your partner & vice versa due to loss of coping skills/hobbies, lack of privacy/space, changes at work, etc. Keep this in mind & give yourself, & your partner room for error.
- And again…this is not normal. So for the newly living together couples that are in bliss together despite the quarantine, know that there will be a big adjustment to “real life” post-quarantine. While none of us know what life is going to look like post-quarantine I think it is important to at least have conversations about what will likely change.
- Be gentle but direct in your communication. Make sure to communicate your needs, but do so in a calm & assertive way.
- Continue to celebrate your “firsts.” Even though you are both in quarantine you are still having “firsts”-first dinner in our new house/apartment, first wine night in the bathtub, first spring being able to work on the garden, etc. It is very positive for couples to share these experiences together regardless of quarantine status. Take photos & make happy memories despite the stress.
- Start a “Business of Marriage/Relationship Meeting.” I often suggest to my couples that live together to have a weekly meeting where you review finances, short-term schedules (ex. who is taking the kids where this week, identifying free time for each other), long-term planning (ex. for vacations, house changes/repairs, family planning) & emotionally checking in with each other. If you have a carved out time when you address these issues with your partner weekly, you do not have to bombard each other during the week. Instead you can focus on having a good week together knowing that you will address these issues at the designated time. I do think having a “business of marriage/relationship meeting” is healthy for any couple, and could certainly reduce conflict for couples during quarantine.
- See your friends! Yes, we are restricted, but do not forget about your friends or hobbies that you enjoy without your partner. Make sure to see friends via zoom or talk with them on the phone. And the hobbies that you can still engage in, do so, and do so without your partner. It is healthy to take time and space apart from one another, and you will likely both need more of this during quarantine.