By Mary Campbell
Let’s face it. Being stuck at home sucks in a lot of ways. It is bad enough to be locked in the confines of the square footage of your home, but going stir-crazy can also have terrible impacts on your relationship. This is especially true for couples who live together and even more so for couples who work remotely from home together as well. Here are some helpful tips to keep confinement from messing with your relationship.
1) Respect Each Other’s Personal Space
No one wants someone in their face 24/7, and the truth is when people go long periods without breaks from one another even the simplest of habits can get annoying quickly. Nitpicking can become an easy fallback. People often nitpick without even realizing they do it, but it can get annoying quickly. Set up some divisions of space to avoid smothering your significant other. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, even if it’s from another room in the house. Giving one another a little bit of extra space goes a long way in maintaining balance in your relationship. Sometimes a little “me time” is just the ticket.
2) Plan a Date Night
Lockdown means that going out and doing normal couple things is limited to supermarket visits and rendezvous in the local pharmacy aisles. That does not exactly scream romantic, nor do the sweatpants you’ve been bumming in for 2 weeks. The truth is social confinement doesn’t have to mean a dating drought. Pick a night to get dressed up and have a nice candlelit dinner in the comfort of your own home, or move all the furniture out of the way and have a dance party in the living room. What you do doesn’t matter so long as you take some time to focus on each other.
3) Argue, but Don’t Dwell
Any couple that can get through months of confinement without arguing definitely has something wrong. The fact is, sometimes you’re going to get on each other’s nerves. Actually, the likelihood is that the more face time you get with your partner, the more annoying things tend to become. Don’t panic, this is perfectly normal. While bickering and arguing are normal in any relationship, what is counterproductive is holding on to anger or resentment. Negativity breeds negativity. Lingering negative feelings can become toxic for your relationship, and are usually easily avoidable. Most of the time all you have to do is talk about it instead of bottling it up.
4) Speaking of Talking…
One of the unspoken side effects of COVID confinement is social anxiety. With a worldwide campaign stressing the importance of distance, it is easy to apply that to your relationship as well. That is likely to put a strain on communicating with your partner. Don’t forget to take the time to talk to your partner. Even if it is just to check in and just say hi, remaining approachable gives your partner a sense of security. Talking to one another can also significantly decrease the number of arguments or misunderstandings you have.
5) Find a Mutual Hobby
Boredom can be the worst relationship killer. It is like cancer that, if left unchecked, can spread to various aspects of a person’s life. Boredom promotes laziness, depression, and feelings of inadequacy. That in turn can bleed into mood and attitude, and even sexual appetite. Stay away from boredom by finding something to do that you both can enjoy. Paint a mural on your wall, do a DIY home improvement project, or put together a 3D puzzle. Staying entertained together is an easy way to keep connected with your partner.
6) Don’t Neglect Intimacy
There is a line that is easily crossed between sexy and bumming. While the sweatpants and oversized tee shirt looks cute for the first 20 days, don’t forget you have an entire closet of clothes and most of them don’t have holes in them.
It’s not fair to keep them locked up while you’re in couch-potato mode. Making time to be intimate with your partner can actually accomplish more than one thing. Not only does it provide some much-needed physical activity, but it can also be a great release of tension or pent-up stir-crazy. Go on and strut those pumps around your house before they take a tumble around your bed. You’re worth it! While confinement can sometimes feel overwhelming and restrictive, these six tips will help keep you and your partner from losing the spark in your relationship. Feeling stuck in a relationship is even worse than being stuck at home, but it does not have to feel that way. Don’t let house arrest complicate your relationship.