Since Covid-19, Americans have experienced many changes; one being that most couples are around each other a lot more often. Is this good or bad? Well, it depends on the relationship and the people in it. Some are sharing that the change of pace is nice. Less time in traffic and at work, means less stress and more quality time at home. Some clients have shared that although this is a difficult and uncertain time, they appreciate being able to focus on their relationships. Others have noticed that with less distractions and difficulty in bypassing interactions, challenges that were avoided in the past are now resurfacing. So let’s discuss the quarantine masters versus the quarantine disasters. What is it that some couples are doing to maintain positivity, connection, and support and how can other couples get there?
1. Understanding Boundaries: Couples that mimic “pre-Covid-19” apart time at home, are more likely to enjoy and appreciate together time when the work day is over. Boundaries mean that we each claim a work space and respect each other’s space. It can be tempting to interrupt your partner as they are working and possibly difficult to remember that they are technically still in the office (especially if they are in sweatpants); but, interruptions will only increase stress and discomfort, making it less pleasant to spend time together once you are done.
2. Sharing Daily Schedules: This is especially important if you are working in a smaller space, an open space, or if you have children or pets. Many of us who work from home have work calls or video conferences scheduled. By sharing your daily schedule ahead of time, you can work together and count on each other to maintain a quiet, stress-free environment.
3. Maintaining Autonomy and Self-Care: Although you are around each other more often, it is healthy to have your individual daily rituals. Self-care is anything you do for yourself that is self-soothing, brings happiness, and decreases stress. Taking time away from your partner to exercise, take a walk, meditate, or take a long bath are some ideas. Find what works for you if you haven’t already and try to make it a ritual. Making time for self-care allows you to be more emotionally present in the relationship because it promotes a happier you.
4. Open Conversations: Couples who communicate transparently on a vulnerable level are more likely to experience a higher level of trust and emotional connection in their relationships compared to those who don’t. This is always a necessary concept to practice but it is especially essential to your relationship today. Couples are going through all kinds of life changes and stress. Anxiety levels are high due to all of the unknown factors and moving parts. Opening up to your other half about what you are experiencing emotionally and mentally can bond you, fostering a deeper understanding and a feeling of companionship.
5. Date Nights: Being in the same space frequently does not constitute as quality time. It is crucial that you are intentional about your time together. Schedule some time for conversations or one on one activities without interruptions or distractions (no phones, television, children, or pets). You might feel restricted being in the house but there is SO much you can do…get creative! Some ideas are:
● Have dinner delivered to the house and dress up as you would if you were out at a fancy restaurant
● Take turns giving each other a massage
● Take an online class together
● Take a walk down memory lane by going through old videos and photos and talk about your favorite memories
● Learn to cook something new together
● Discover each other’s fantasies and incorporate that in lovemaking
● Take a bath together
● Go for a walk or exercise together
Finally, if you are having a difficult time communicating in order to achieve any of these points, schedule a couples therapy appointment to work on enhancing the areas of your relationship that need to be improved.
Written by Yasman Karimi, MA, LMFT, CST-Candidate
Disclaimer: this is not meant to act as or replace therapy in any way.
To schedule a therapy session, please call Houston Relationship Therapy at 1-800-913-9613.