The majority of the world right now is experiencing a stay-at-home order in some shape or form. Social distancing and not shaking hands might be the new normal for a long time. Although staying home right now if you can is the best thing to do to stay healthy and safe, it can be hard! Staying home creates challenges that you may not have had before, one such challenge is if you are married or in a relationship where you live with your partner. Before the stay-at-home orders, you both may have left the house for work or social outings multiple times a week. But now you may be spending all day together. There are many great resources out there on how to protect yourself from COVID-19, but this article will be focused on how to protect your relationship during a pandemic!
Give each other space
At least as much as you can! If you live in a home where you can be in separate rooms during the day to do work that would be ideal. That scenario could at least simulate “going to work” and “coming home”. If you don’t live in a space that allows for that much distance, still attempt to allow yourself and your partner some alone time. Whether that is going on a walk by yourself, or simply taking a long shower. Being able to be alone gives you the time to check in with yourself mentally and emotionally.
Things that may be ok for one of you in a work setting or day at home may not be ok with the other. This applies to partners in any scenario, both working, one working, kids at home, etc. These boundaries could cover anything from defining who gets what workspace, what times are “break times” to hang out when alone times are, and possibly even quiet hours. When discussing these boundaries it is also appropriate and helpful to discuss expectations to protect your relationship during a pandemic.
When working from home first started rolling out, it seemed like many people were excited to get to work from home. It seemed like you can spend more time with your partner! Although there can be many benefits to this, the longer it seems to be lasting, the more I have seen people’s stress within a relationship increase. Oftentimes it is because their expectations are at very different places. Discuss these expectations with your partner to ensure you are both on the same page. As mentioned previously, they go hand in hand with boundaries.
Check-ins are helpful for couples no matter what the state of the world is. But especially now that we are in a pandemic, it is even more important to check in with your partner. These check-ins should cover several things. Including your and your partner’s emotional well-being, how the boundaries and expectations are going, what is working well so far, what is not working well, and how you can be there for each other.
Please remember, these are stressful times. We are all scared. We are all in this together. Be graceful towards yourself, and your partner. And if you are struggling in any way, individually or relationally, please reach out for help. Family Therapy Associates is proud to say we have been at the forefront of telehealth. Nearly all of our therapists are board-certified telehealth counselors. You can call 904-302-5340 or schedule online here.