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Relationships During Quarantine




By Margarita Nahapetyan

How is your relationship going during the quarantine? Does too much togetherness make you feel comfortable or is it driving you crazy?

Now that all of us have been in a longer-term quarantine for the past few months, you are probably seeing how this situation is affecting your relationship. The sadness, irritability, anxiety, and even anger at times, feel intensified because you and your partner have to stay home most of the time. None of us was prepared for any of this. Those in difficult relationships or marriages reported that they feel trapped, struggle with the stress of uncertainty about the future, are climbing the walls with boredom, and feeling very lonely.

Yet, in fact, some relationships may improve when couples use this unexpected and compelled quality time as an opportunity to strengthen and mend their troublesome relationship. Introverts may feel comfortable with a quieter lifestyle and enjoy more time at home. Some people have reported that now they have more time to take long walks, read, enjoy listen to online concerts and performances, or take online art classes. Extroverts, on the other hand, may suffer from a lack of face-to-face interactions and contact with other people. They take most pleasure in setting up Zoom meetings so that they could stay connected with friends and colleagues in a virtual mode.

No matter which category you associate yourself with, here are some ideas to help you cope with quarantine stress:

It is critical to start with creating a schedule, where you will include work and non-work hours. It is important to keep in mind your own routine and stick with your routine and not let your partner's or spouse's needs force you to forget about it. If you typically used to run or workout early in the morning, then schedule some time for exercise and continue with your usual routine. If you are arguing or fighting with your partner on a regular basis, create a schedule that minimizes your contact with each other. You can take turns spending time with the kids, tutoring them or cooking dinner.

Give each other some space. People isolating with their partner are probably not used to the amount of time they are now spending together. As people's romantic lives, work lives, and domestic lives begin to pile on top of each other, the importance of finding space from each other is critical. Even if your relationship with your partner is pretty good and you are getting along well, still try to create separate personal spaces for each of you. From time to time everyone needs some time alone. And if you are in constant arguments and conflict, having privacy and personal space is even more important.

One of the most important things relationship experts want partners to remember during this stressful time is to show empathy to each other. Now that you have this compelled "quality time" together, find ways to reconnect and rekindle your relationship. Whether or not you and your partner went on romantic dates before quarantine, this is the perfect time to ask your partner if they want to have a date night with you, and have a proposition for what you can do together. It can range from having a Netflix Party, including just the two of you, to some activities, such as board games, or even doing puzzles. All this can bring in some fun and fresh energy to your relationship.

Other ideas to help you cope may include making something, such as baking, gardening, painting. Get organized, clean your closets, garage or the basement, organize your photo albums. Try to get outside more, take walks, alone or together with your partner. Stay connected with fiends and family through Zoom, Facetime or Skype, plan virtual dinners or parties with close and loved ones. And it would be especially great if you could reach out to those who live alone. And lastly, limit your exposure to the news. Obsessively checking the news statistics every half an hour might keep you up to date with the current events, but it is not so good for your mental well-being.



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