The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic was one of the most unexpected and drastic shifts in society within the modern age. People everywhere suddenly found their lives completely disrupted, and many couples found their living situations (and their relationships) totally altered within the space of a few weeks.
In these perilous and violently changed circumstances, it can be hard to carry on as usual and maintain your relationships in the same way you did before.
Many couples have been left wondering if their partner is right for them after all this stress and upheaval. Confinement with each other, financial pressures, and new social distancing laws have left some relationships on the rocks.
So, should you throw in the towel and start searching the web for someone new? Maybe not. There might still be some things you can do to salvage your relationship and maintain a healthy romantic relationship in quarantine.
But it may not be too easy or a walk in the park.
Why It Is Hard to Maintain a Relationship In Quarantine
Relationships often exist within a delicate dynamic. Even small changes can mean huge disruptions to the way couples feel about and view each other.
For example, we may massively respect our partner's work ethic when they spend long hours at the office each day. However, if they lose their job and spend more time at home, we may start to resent them. We may go from respecting them to thinking of them as lazy - if they don't help with chores or clean up - in a matter of weeks.
During COVID, this shift happened on a vast scale across millions of relationships around the world. People's life circumstances suddenly became less stable or transformed into something different from before. Naturally, our perceptions of our relationships should change with life events. Change is good and should be a part of any relationship. But when we already have relationship problems, quarantine can make things worse.
So, how do we withstand change and maintain our togetherness in a relationship in quarantine? We explore some relationship advice for couples in quarantine.
How to Save Relationship In Quarantine
Relationships break down for all sorts of reasons, with or without the added pressure of quarantine. Some of the most common difficulties faced by those under quarantine conditions include lifestyle changes and sudden financial uncertainty.
If you're looking for relationship ideas in quarantine to prevent a breakup, here are five commonly reported situations and some suggestions on managing them.
1. When You Are Forced to Live Separately
Author Tom McNeal once wrote, "Distance means so little when someone means so much." For long-distance couples or anyone separated from their relationship in quarantine, quotes like this seem eerily poignant.
Even in the best of times, long-distance relationships can throw up their fair share of problems, and a long-distance relationship in quarantine only exacerbates things.
The most apparent issue faced by couples who are now forced to live apart, whether in different countries or different households, is loneliness. The absence of physical contact and proximity to one's partner can be problematic to get used to and is even tougher when our other social interactions are limited.
Talking regularly on the phone or online is, of course, the most obvious way to ease some of this stress. But also try to spend time with other people, like family and friends nearby, and try not to feel guilty if you end up having fun without your partner.
Similarly, try not to be jealous if your partner has a network of people around them, and you don't. Be happy for them instead and remember that you wouldn't want them to feel lonely.
While the lack of physical intimacy can be difficult, try viewing the quarantine as an opportunity to connect with your partner. You're forced to talk deeply in a way that it is easy to avoid in everyday life.
Long distance relationships can also cause intimacy or connection to decline for some couples who aren't used to living apart or are not good at communicating. Make a conscious effort to check in with your other half and deliberately ask how they are feeling. This will force you to acknowledge the situation and can lead to further emotional intimacy.
If you're wondering how to maintain long-distance relationships in quarantine, those simple check-ins are a great way to start.
2. When You're Spending All Your Time Together
While some couples have found themselves forced apart, others have suddenly found themselves spending 24/7 with their other halves. While distance can be trying, constant intimacy can be more of a curse than a blessing. With more people working from home and many couples squashed into tight living spaces, it's not surprising when tempers fray.
Living in close quarters can be challenging for couples who are starting a new relationship in quarantine. This refers to couples who had only been dating a short while before starting the pandemic and who moved in to avoid being separated during quarantine.
It can also be tough on established couples who are used to spending time out and about, at work or socializing, and who suddenly can't leave the house. Throw in kids home from school and demanding bosses via Zoom call and you have a recipe for relationship disaster.
If you're feeling claustrophobic, try drawing up some boundaries with your partner. Designate time for yourself, either in a separate part of the house or when you go out for a walk, to just spend time alone.
Although this can be tough, avoid snapping at or taking frustrations out on your partner. Instead, try asking them how they're feeling and consciously listen to their answer. This can help rebuild connections and intimacy even in tense moments and help remind you that you're not the only one struggling.
3. When Your Routine Has Been Upended
Sudden change is hard to cope with, and many people cling to their routines for the stability that this offers. If you're struggling with the changeover to working from home or not going out at the weekends, this can cause trouble for your quarantine relationship.
Changes to your routine can also impact things like your sleep schedule or your sex life, and these disruptions can make you more irritable. If this sounds like you, why not try finding some relationship quarantine activities?
Try playing a video game together, doing an online workout, or finally watching a show you've always wanted to binge. You might be surprised to find yourself having fun with your partner in quarantine.
If your sex life is suffering, think about how to spice up your relationship in quarantine. Try running each other to a relaxing bath or scheduling some time for intimacy.
It may not sound very romantic, but establishing a new routine could work wonders for your stress level in these difficult circumstances.
4. When You're Under Financial Stress
Redundancies and job losses have been rife during the pandemic. If you find yourself in a relationship dealing with financial stress, try not to assign blame.
Remember, this situation is not you or your partner's fault. It is entirely out of your hands. If you are frustrated with your partner for being out of work or annoyed with yourself because you can't find a job, try to show a little compassion.
Remember, you are likely doing your very best and that this is a temporary situation. Remind yourself, as well, that you and your partner are a team and that the support you provide for each other is more than just financial.
If your money worries are really getting you down, don't bottle it up. Have an honest conversation with your partner about your fears and concerns. Try not to make it all about yourself and also listen to what they have to say.
You may find it comforting to realize you are not alone.
5. When Your Relationship Has Broken Down
Unfortunately, for some couples, the relationship issues quarantine brings up are too challenging to overcome.
You may have been left wondering how to end a relationship in quarantine. Remember always to be safe if you find yourself needing to end a relationship in quarantine.
If you feel that there is a chance your partner will be very upset, or even violent, be sure you have somewhere else to go and that you will not be trapped.
Contact a friend or relative and make sure they know what's happening. You can even have them on standby to pick you up if needed.
If the split is amicable or you agree to remain in the same house, draw up some plans and schedules so that you're not always in the same room together.
Quarantine is a difficult time for everyone. Even the tightest couples may struggle to find relationship things to do in quarantine.
Remember that the situation is temporary and, even when things get hard, try to appreciate this time with your loved ones.
We hope our tips have been helpful to those in relationships in quarantine.
Has your relationship been affected by COVID-19 quarantines? How have you found ways to cope? What has been the most challenging change for you and your partner? Share your experiences in the comments section!