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Love In The Time of Corona: A Couple’s Guide
by Ngozi Weller
27 Nov, 2020
A Heavy Burden
Quarantine is a heavy burden on any relationship. No matter how solid its foundations are, a storm like COVID-19 is bound to shake even the strongest among us. But it doesn’t have to be all bad. There is an opportunity here to strengthen the relationship with your significant other in a way that will reap benefits in the long term, but you have to make the effort. It ‘s easy to neglect yourself and your relationship when there’s so much going on, but that’s precisely when you need to dig deep to invest time and effort in your happiness. Here are my tips for keeping your sweetheart sweet while you’re in isolation.
All relationships go through hell, real relationships get through it.
Date like you’re broke.
When we were students at university and had zero cash, my husband and I used to get a blanket and sit out under the stars for hours. Last week we recreated that same broke magic and it was great. All you need is cheap wine and clear skies to facilitate a trip down memory lane. There are lots of cost-free ideas that can help you reminisce about better days and also give you the opportunity to talk through your issues – picnics, walks, board games, cooking dinner together. The key is to ensure that there are no distractions – that means no kids and no screens.
Virtual double date.
Nothing breaks the monotony of quarantine like good company. Get your favourite drink and Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp video call your favourite couple friends together. If you used to go out for regular couples’ nights out then you can still do that (in the virtual sense) using apps like HouseParty to facilitate group video calls.
Commit to making it special.
It’s far too easy for this to get old fast! You get bored, you get lazy and before you know it you just can’t be bothered. Don’t let that be you. The only thing worse than enforced imprisonment is enforced imprisonment with your new ex! Do everything you can to make time together meaningful. Even if that’s just committing to two nights a week with phones down and the tv off. Your relationship deserves your care and attention, now more than ever.
Living in Closed Quarters
The key is to be consistent, open and honest. Making small changes now can save you a lifetime of regret. Remember that despite the inevitable tensions that will arise from living and working in such close quarters, you are a partnership, preferably an equal one. The emphasis should be on communication and cooperation. The folks at NASA have a fair bit of experience with living in confined spaces. In her recent Twitter thread on staying positive and productive in small spaces, retired astronaut Anne McClain advises to “Cooperate rather than compete. … Take accountability, give praise freely. … Keep calm in conflict.”
You and your partner are a team with a single mission: To Survive the Quarantine Unscathed. It will require skills that you may not be used to practising with one another. Not only must you talk so that you’re understood, but you must listen actively so that you understand. But, speaking as one who is putting her own advice into action, it’s so worth it!
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