Our lives have changed dramatically since COVID-19 came onto the scene. Sad to say it, but it doesn’t look like things will be changing anytime soon. Everyone has been affected by the virus in one way or another.
However, there are ways to stay connected with your partner through this stressful period. This article hopes to help offer some suggestions to ward off quarantine fatigue in your relationship so that you can come out of this experience stronger.
Make time for yourself
Depending on the size of your living space, it may be very hard to have alone time right now. With more people working from home and tons of activities canceled you have to be more intentional about carving out space for yourself. First and foremost, it’s perfectly natural to want alone time and that doesn’t mean you love your partner any less. Whether you decide to take a walk, read a book or go on a drive practice asking for what you need. If it’s hard for you to ask for what you need, you know where your work lies.
Assume positive intent
When you’re pissed off at your partner, it can be hard to assume positive intent. We go to a place where we think our partner is out to get us. If we go into a conversation or argument assuming that our partner is betting against us, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot right from the start. How does this look in real life? If your partner says or does something that makes you mad, assume positive intent. Assume they really love you(as the hopefully do) and want what’s best for you. Sure, they made a mistake. Let them know they hurt you and give them a chance to fix it.
Schedule a date night
It’s usually a good idea for couples to get into the habit of having a weekly date night. A date night can be a time to reconnect, have fun and enjoy one another. COVID has certainly limited the options for going out. While you may not be comfortable going out to eat, you could order in, put on pants and some nice music and have a date at home. Sit in a special area. Have an indoor picnic. No matter what you decide to do, the important thing is that you carve out quality time together, no phones, no distractions and reconnect.
Create something to look forward to
After several months of canceled events, trips and other exciting experiences many folks are tired. Life can start to feel mundane and repetitive. We’ve never lived through something like this before. My recommendation is to schedule something that you can look forward to. Whether it’s a special hike or road trip or vacation far in the future, put something exciting on your horizon.
Be intentional about a routine
The days can start to blend together after enough time working from home. By creating some sort of a routine, like Taco Tuesday or Movie Sunday, you will be better able to break up the time and have small things that you can look forward to each week. It’s also a great opportunity to collaborate and find new activities that you can explore together. Get a puzzle. Find a board game. Take an online couples massage class together. Blend the routine with something new and novel as a way to keep things interesting.
Your sex drive may be different now
It’s no surprise that our emotional world can impact our sex drive. If you’re feeling depressed, anxious, scared or sad about the current state of the world your sex drive may have changed. Perhaps you want to have more sex as a way to check out from your feelings. Maybe you’re not horny at all. Whatever the case, just be curious about how the current state of the world is affecting your sex drive and talk about it with your partner. You’re certainty not alone.
Time-outs are a crucial tool for couples to practice and perfect. When we get outside our window-of-tolerance (or when we lose our cool) we’re not able to stay engaged, listen and be present. We’re not able to actually hear and respond to our partner when we’re in that headspace. If you call a time-out before you lose your cool, you can take time to clear your head and come back to the discussion later. When used correctly this can help avoid long and nasty fights, which can erode your connection and create distance over time.
These are just a few tips to help you avoid quarantine fatigue in your relationship. If you’re feeling really stuck, seek out the help of a skilled couples therapist. Many therapists, myself included, are finding lots of success moving our couples therapy online. You don’t have to wait until the quarantine is over to start improving your relationship today.