Maintaining healthy relationships is hard in the best of time and during a mid pandemic and indefinite quarantine, it can seem impossible. It’s easy for things to go wrong, toes to get stepped on and nerves to be frayed. You may be far from the ones you love, feeling alone, scared or depressed. You might be in one room with someone who you have been fighting with for weeks now, walking on eggshells. You may be with the person who you love most, but never really wanted to spend 24 hours a day with, every day, for the foreseeable future. Whatever your situation here are some ideas of what others are doing to keep relationships healthy and growing in the time of COVID 19, shutdowns and travel restrictions.
Right now most of us are struggling to find normalcy in the abnormal; that is no easy feat, so be compassionate with yourself AND your significant others. The ones we love can be the constant that grounds us when things feel out of control. They can also get on our last nerves. Whatever feeling that comes up for you is okay! Just let it be and take care of yourself. If you feel annoyed, scared, irritated, jealous, angry, sad, these are all completely reasonable. You don’t have to live in them or act on them, just don’t judge them.
Use what you feel to focus on what you need most. If you feel irritated and need to be alone, find a way to create a space that is just yours. Even if it’s placing a chair in the corner, popping some noise canceling earbuds in and binging TicToks. Let your significant other know what is going on. It’s okay to ask for space. It’s okay to ask for love and affection. We might not always be able to get what we want from the ones around us, but you will never know if you can’t risk asking first.
Find the Balance
Relationships do well with the right balance of physical connection, emotional intimacy and solid camaraderie. No two relationships have the same mix of these components, but they are all vital to our wellbeing. They can also mean different things to everyone. Physical connection might mean sex, kissing, touch or affection. It may also mean proximity, needing to have someone to sit next to or to see over a screen, hear on the phone. Find time to connect physically, however that looks during this time.
Emotions are high right now for most of the clients I speak with. No one has the right answer for how to manage all of this. However, one way we can show emotional support in uncertain times, is by showing love through curiosity. Asking:
How are you doing?
How do you feel right now?
What worries you most right now and in the future?
What keeps you going?
How can I best support you?
Showing genuine interest in someone’s experience demonstrates love, respect and care. These things can mean the world to someone feeling lost and alone. You don’t have to have the answers, you just have to be willing to be curious and open to listening.
Remember the Joy
It’s easy to forget through all this that we actually do want to be with our significant others. Find the reasons you like the person you are with. Balance the high emotions with fun and novelty. Whether it’s creating a new song together, building a windowsill garden, reading Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guides, or finding nonsensical entertainment. Find the things that bring joy into your relationship.
There will be tough times ahead for you and the ones you love. We can all work together to find a healthy balance of love and compassion, fun and vulnerability. Reconnect to your significant others through curiosity and take a risk by being honest about what you really need right now.
If you are experiencing high conflict, fear, coercion or abuse in your relationship, now may not be the time to try to try to figure things out on your own. Please reach out to a professional or contact https://www.thehotline.org/
For more information on Staying Safe During COVID19 https://www.thehotline.org/2020/03/13/staying-safe-during-covid-19/