Back when stay at home orders were first starting to be issued, the inconvenience and pain of being separated from friends and relatives was immediately evident. What wasn’t so obvious right away was the impact that isolation could have on couples living together.
As weeks of isolation have gone on, reporting about the effects on relationships have increased. Higher instances of arguments and domestic abuse, greater divorce rates, and more have cropped up, in the U.S. and worldwide. But such negative effects don’t have to be inevitable.
In fact, you can use this time stuck together to actually try and improve your relationship. How?
Understand You’re Both in the Same Boat
Everyone is stressed, these days. Everyone feels irritated at times, and a bit stir-crazy in isolation. Much of this has nothing to do with your relationship. However, people tend to take out their frustrations on the person closest to them.
Resist this temptation. Taking things out on your partner will not make you feel better. In fact, the guilt you feel from doing so will likely only make you feel worse.
You two are in this together. Whenever you start to feel the walls closing in, recognize things for what they are. Instead of lashing out, count to ten and redirect your negative feelings toward something else.
Try and Be Creative
These are unusual times, indeed. In your own rarefied situation, try to approach things with a sense of playfulness and creativity. If you do end up getting snappy with each, lightly punish yourselves with deposits into the “bad mood” jar. Such a tool can quickly break any tension; and you can use the money to treat yourselves to something later.
Distract yourselves from negativity by taking up a craft. If you have room, take an online dance class. Cook together. By keeping your hands busy and focusing your mind on the task at hand, you at least temporarily give yourselves a break from the reality of things.
If this new activity is something you can do with your spouse or significant other, that’s great. But you don’t have to in order to see positive changes to your relationship. Doing things separately can actually give you the space you sometimes need away from each other.
Give Each Other the Space You Need (as Much as Possible)
No matter how much you love your partner, it’s still imperative to have at least a little alone time to relax and emotionally reset. If you live on a ranch with lots of land, getting out and away for a time isn’t too difficult. However, in a small apartment, this becomes more of a challenge.
Even in smaller spaces, you can give yourself the sense of aloneness you need by creating visual and auditory blocks. Set aside a half hour just to pamper yourself in the bathroom. Hang a bed sheet to create a faux wall, and listen to your favorite podcast. Sit outside by yourself with a favorite book, or call an old friend to check how they’re doing.
Having kids represents yet another challenge in regards to solitude. But if you work together with your partner, you both can get the space and breathing room you need.
Talk to Each Other
Communicate! Both of you should feel safe and comfortable talking to each other about your worries and frustrations, even if they’re about the other person. The important thing to remember here is to try and avoid blame.
Instead of, “You never wash the dishes!”, try “I feel I’m the one always washing the dishes.” Make your communication about how you feel, not about how it’s the other person’s fault. Then, you can work together to resolve the issue.
In the vein of trying to keep things light, it’s important to laugh. This situation we’re all in feels, let’s face it, a bit ludicrous. If you and your partner can laugh about things, that’s a great sign that your relationship will succeed through isolation…and whatever other challenges the world may throw at it.
For more ways about how to keep your relationship happy and strong, be sure to read more in the PeopleFinders blog.
Image attribution: G-Stock Studio – www.shutterstock.com