Photo by MIKHAIL VASILYEV on Unsplash
I’ve been seeing a recurring theme with a lot of my clients: How do you maintain a healthy relationship in close spaces without having the distance you’re used to? Being cooped up together can be tough, no matter how emotionally close you already are. For even the happiest couples, this can be a challenge — so don’t be alarmed. You’re not alone, and we have some tips that have worked wonders for us and for many of our clients.
Here are 3 ways to be cooped up together:
1) Take time apart anyway. Go for walks alone; go grocery shopping alone. Ask for alone time in the house. Plan for alone time AND together time; make it structured. When it’s planned, it feels less like a slight for an introverted partner to take time alone. The more extroverted spouse can emotionally prepare since they know it’s coming.
2) Talk about your needs for togetherness and apartness, with no judgment. One person might want more together time. One person might want more alone time. Resolve to not judge that; remember, it’s not a reflection of your relationship. Rather, it’s simply a reflection of your personalities. We all get our energy in different ways. Honor each other’s needs and don’t take offense.
3) Practice love languages. Do little things to help your partner feel loved! We can forget to do this sort of thing when we’re cooped up with them 24/7; romance tends to fade. But the more we help our partner feel loved, the more we’re ‘filling their tank’ — which makes #2 a lot easier. It’s so much easier not to feel hurt or threatened if you already feel loved! As a side note, there’s even an app for that: Love Nudge. Check it out and implement it into your relational practice.
It’s natural for couples who are quarantined together to face conflict; it’s natural for there to be different personalities, some of whom want more alone time than others. Just be sure to listen, honor each others’ needs, choose to not take offense, and be intentional about your affection — do that, and you’ll likely make it through this with your relationship not only intact, but thriving.