For many couples, the idea of having to quarantine together sounds like a dream come true. So often, due to the hustle and bustle of life, you seem to never have enough time together. It’s such an effort to try and squeeze a date night in, or some quality time outside of work with no phones or distractions but now with a stretch of time ahead where you’re meant to be inside for 24/7 with each other, that should solve all the problems right? Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way and more often than not, this forced period of alone time could end up being more of a curse than a blessing. So how on earth are we meant to get through it? I’m sure that you don’t want to lose your cool with your partner during quarantine, or get so annoyed that the foundation of your bond starts to crack and violence is starting to sound tempting. Well, I’m not going to lie to you that it isn’t going to be easy. People trapped inside a house, unable to go outside or out into the world and stuck with each other all day every day with no break? I don’t think even the strongest of people can survive that without getting at least a little bit frustrated. However, there are certain things that you can do to ease the pain and make staying together during lockdown bearable and not a total disaster. So, let’s get started shall we?
Communication – talk, talk, and then talk some more
I believe that communication is the most critical aspect of a relationship because most fights are because of a misunderstanding or a lack of understanding. Two people having a conversation can solve both of these. Communication is crucial because it not only stops arguments before they have begun, but they also allow your partner to understand you better so that fights can be avoided in the future and communication becomes even more critical when you are stuck together and can’t really get away for space. When you’re living together and don’t have any breathing room (such as going off to work/to the grocery store/going out into the world for a change of scenery), things can get tense for small, silly reasons. You’re forced to be more in each other’s space than you’ve ever been before and this means the possibility to step on toes, fights emerging out of thin air or just bad moods. This can often lead to unnecessary arguments and fights, and the tense atmosphere means people avoid talking about it and getting it out in the air. I implore you to avoid falling into this trap! If something is bugging you or is making you upset then talk to your partner and encourage them to do the same thing. They shouldn’t be angry with you for voicing your opinion and expressing how you feel will both help them to understand and hopefully empathise, and you to come to grips with how you are feeling and let it go. Trust your partner and talk to them about how you feel because it is the only way to move forward. I promise you that open communication, talking about all the things that are going on or potentially making you frustrated, is the biggest thing that is going to save you from grief during this period.
Spending all day and night with your significant other sounds awesome right? I mean, I love spending time with my boyfriend but everyone needs their own time and space. People need to have breathing space, even couples and even those who say that they do everything together have a few things that they do by themselves to keep themselves sane. My boyfriend and I are staying together during our quarantine and as much as we have so many things we enjoy doing together, we have made sure to allocate alone-time. So, every day, if I feel like doing something that he doesn’t necessarily want to do, I do it by myself and he does his own thing. Even though we are in the same house, and usually in the same room, we do our own thing and this gives us the space we need so that it doesn’t feel like we can’t get away or do anything without the other. You need the time apart to recharge your batteries and ensure you don’t rip each other to bits so try to fit some time in every day for dedicated, uninterrupted alone time.
As much as you think you know your partner, you always learn new things about them when both of you are introduced to new things and situations, quarantine included. This may be the first time you are spending so much time with your partner, or you may even be living together but having to spend all day at home gives a whole new meaning to just how much of your day you and your partner are interacting. During this difficult time, try to think about how your partner might be feeling. This is a new way of living for most of us, the freedom we are usually used to has been taken away and none of us quite know how to move forward so if bad moods are flaring, they are behaving differently or they just seem tense and uneasy, don’t get angry at them. Also, don’t get angry with yourself if you feel this way too. Accept the fact that this is an incredibly unusual situation and that things are going to be different for a while and try to work through them together.
Try create a schedule
I’m sure that after a few days of being stuck at home, everyone is missing that sense of structure and routine. There is no longer a designated time to be up and out of the house to get to work, daily schedules have evaporated because we are working from home and doing pretty much everything else from our bed in our pyjamas. This, I know, can make you feel a bit crazy and like everything is falling apart. Now being on my gap year and having everything quite unpredictable has meant that I’ve had a lot of time to get used to this feeling of not having a work routine to keep me grounded. For others, this isn’t the case and I know how horrible it can feel at first. The trick is to try and create a schedule around what you can control, and include your partner. For example, my boyfriend and I try to be awake at a certain time every day and then we get all our housework etc. done in the morning. In the afternoon we take a small amount of time out for ourselves and then we either play board games with my brothers or watch a movie before helping to cook dinner. It may not sound like much of a schedule but it gives purpose and structure to the day, which can bring a lot of relief. So, if things are feeling a little tense and you don’t feel like you have anything to do with your time, try to create a schedule and see how that works out.
Some may think that this is impossible but trust me when I say it is. Personally, I don’t believe that there are two more stubborn individuals than my boyfriend and I and if we can somehow find a middle ground, then I know it is possible for most people. Compromising is essential to living together without resorting to physical violence because you’re both different. You need to do different things to get you through the day, you have different ways to relax and different things keep your calm or agitate you and when you are upset, you have varying ways of responding. You may not want to compromise, for whatever reason, but remember that you are both equally stuck with each other and in order for a see-saw to work, you both need to push and pull. So, when it comes to choosing activities to do or getting through the day, try to find a way for both of you to get a little of what you want. The trick though, is not to go overboard and be the only one forfeiting or the only one in control. Make a list and try to find a middle ground, or things that you can find a way to mesh together. Trust me, you’ll both have a much better time when you get to do the things you want and enjoy that time with your partner, and that is only possible through compromise.
When you and your partner are disagreeing, don’t let the emotion get the better of you and cause you to snap or lose control. I will always be the first person to say that you are allowed to get upset and feel emotion, but you shouldn’t let it take over your actions and cause you to lose control. So if you do have an argument, try and stay calm and rational (it may be hard but trust me it will be worth it) because when you are calm and can think clearly, a fight will seldom spin out of control and grow bigger, and you will actually end it much faster than if you both had just lost it. This may seem like a small one, but it may just be the most important. Fighting is bound to happen when you are in such close proximity with no breathing space, but don’t let that be what breaks you two apart. Staying level-headed and learning how to fight with each other well (by this I mean not breaking each other down and rather trying to empathise and work through things rather than getting angry and shouting) is so helpful in getting through these difficult times.
How can you and your partner expect to get along well when you are trapped together if you don’t look after yourself? There are certain things that each of us need to do to stay happy and human. We all need enough sleep, basic hygiene, exercise and enough nutrients to keep us feeling healthy. On top of that, we all need rest and relaxation time. A time for our batteries to recharge and flush all the unhappy thoughts out of our day – this equates to self-care. For example, nothing brings me more peace than having a long, hot bubble bath, or curling up in a bundle of blankets with a cup of tea and a book. My boyfriend, on the other hand, loves listening to music or playing play station. We all have different methods, but it is essential to look after ourselves. That way, we keep ourselves happy and healthy but also limit the potential fights because we help ourselves remain in a good state.
Use the time to your advantage
If you’re a couple that lives together but barely sees each other, or a couple that is living together for the first time, now’s the time to get connected. Although it’s not ideal to be trapped at home, there is still so much you can do with your time and so much fun you can have with your partner during this period. You could play all sorts of games together, spend time learning new things about each other or activities you’ve always wanted to try. Make a list of all the things you’ve been wanting to do and circle the ones that you can do at home, or you could organise, sort and redecorate. There are dozens of possibilities that can be both productive and entertaining, so there is no need to mope that you have nothing to do by yourself or with each other. Use the time wisely, because you can do so much with it and have a great time while doing it.
This is a time filled with stress and uncertainty and now, more than ever, is not the time to be fighting with your significant other. I know that it can be stressful and frustrating when you are with each other 24/7 and things just seem to be tense and hard, but they don’t have to be that way. You and your partner can work things out – you’re a team for a reason and you overcome challenges together. Now is just the next level of challenges to overcome and I believe that if you both work at it, you will make it through this quarantine. As always, thank you all so much for reading my blog – if you have any tips you’d like to share or stories of you and your significant other having a fun/interesting time together please leave them in the comments section. I’d love to hear about it. I hope you all have a great Saturday and with regards to your partner, I hope you guys don’t drive each other too crazy and you still have good times together.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx