Quarantine Proof Your Relationship
by: Dana Hall
With so much uncertainty around us and an ever changing landscape; it can put a lot of strain on family and relationships. We rely on connection, autonomy and routine; however, we find those very things are temporarily not present for the majority of us. These unprecedented times can take their toll on our intimate relationships.
How can you ‘quarantine’ proof your relationship? These tips can help.
Discuss Expectations. No one has experienced this new norm before. How do we pull together to make sure our emotional and physical needs are met along with the new household demands? This can put quite a strain on our relationship. Especially when we consider there exists a gender-bias in our role distributions leaving women generally picking up more of the household responsibilities. This is only amplified during our shelter at home/ quarantine restrictions. If you feel your relationship is lacking equity speak up. Sit down together and make a list of responsibilities and discuss as a team how best to accomplish the tasks.
What can each of you bring to the table to ease the responsibilities brought on by the new norm?
Establish Routines. Routines help our emotional health because they establish predictable events. It gives us structure and consistency which can ease anxiety. A routine also helps forge intimacy when couples support the general workings of the household dynamic. When we wake, have a meal together, take a walk together or just have a date night binge watching SVU-routines give us connection and something to look forward to during times of uncertainty.
What would you look forward doing together each day?
Implement Protected Time. Protected time may seem contrary in that it means alone time without your partner; it is not. When we can step away to do some self-care we come back re-charged and ready to re-engage. Some people require more time alone than others and our need for space should be honored as much as our need for connection. Especially when our interaction is limited to our home it is imperative we carve out time to read a book, take a bath, video call a friend or just take a nap. What can you do to honor your need for individual space each day?
Keep Connecting! Feeling isolated can lead to sleep impairments, lower immunity, depression and anxiety. It is important that you check-in with your partner on how they are doing. Schedule a virtual date night if you are not in the same home. If you are physically together why not have a game night? Go for a walk and make sure you make an effort to hold hands, hug, and keep your intimacy alive. Many organizations are offering free viewings of plays, art exhibits, botanical gardens, and many others are offering free classes and/or lessons. There are plenty of creative ways to keep connecting together and with the [virtual] world.
In what ways can I keep our intimate relationship a priority?
There are definitely things that we still have control over. One of those being not only how we choose to respond to our current situation but how we choose to show up in [and for] our relationship. We can use this time to come together and even heal aspects of our relationship that we may have overlooked. How you choose to respond to life’s challenges together can define the future of your relationship and your bond. Remember, after every dark night comes the birth of a new day together.