There have been several ups and downs in the past year as we got ourselves accustomed to the new normal of surviving the pandemic together. It has been more than a year since the pandemic hit us, and unfortunately, it’s still a considerably long time until it leave us all for good.
However, if there’s one thing that tops it all, it is the staying-at-home part of it for many of us. And while the work-from-home scenario is all but a necessary measure to avoid the malicious virus, it’s not just our professional lives that have been affected due to this vital change.
Before and During the Pandemic
Couples who live together are spending day-in and day-out together in close proximity. Even though surviving the pandemic together may sound a bit romantic in theory. Spending all your spare (and not so spare) time with your significant other is far from romantic; especially when one has no place to turn to when in need of an eventual time-out.
It’s a harsh fact that extra togetherness can become overwhelming and even suffocating at times when you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye on different matters. Ultimately, the question arises – how to maintain harmony in a relationship without stirring each other crazy?
Moreover, it’s not just the inability to make mutual decisions that disgruntle partners under such circumstances. In fact, there are many other factors involved in making this a challenging situation for both parties. For example, a couple living under normal conditions try their best to ignore their pet peeves in favor of establishing a peaceful relationship. It isn’t that hard when both partners have other things to focus on, considering they spend half their day outside anyway. However, when forced to live together without a break, it’s quite understandable when they can’t seem to control their temper as easily as before.
Similarly, some couples find it convenient to brush their issues underneath the carpet, to reduce the chances of fighting. However, the issues become more of a pressure-cooker which couples can’t get rid of or can’t ignore – they linger until explosion!
Even couples who are coping fine amidst the pandemic can use some help from time to time because surviving the pandemic isn’t about how often you fight or have arguments with your partner. Instead, it’s about how well you both understand each other to respect your significant other’s limits.
10 Effective Strategies to Surviving the Pandemic Together
In these trying and unprecedented times, many couples have pushed themselves to the verge of divorce and separations. At the same time, several others have not only succeeded in surviving the pandemic together, but they are also excelling at it!
Here are ten effective ways you can make your relationship thrive despite the countless stresses the pandemic has brought along with it:
1- Don’t Skip on the Self-Care Routine
With the threat of a life-endangering pandemic dangling above our heads for the past year – forcing us to self-quarantine – it has become normal to question things like, ‘What day is it?’ out-of-the-blue. While we genuinely thought we were losing our minds when it first started happening, we soon realized that losing the sense of time is something we have to deal with now that we are trapped in our own bubble. In fact, it is a part of our coping mechanism most of the time to stay numb to feelings that would otherwise put us in a severely stressful situation.
However, even though finding solace within the circumstances we’re living in nowadays is essential, taking care of ourselves and establishing a self-care routine is just as important. For instance, clocking a particular time to exercise with your partner, sticking to regular bed timings, and trying to time your meals appropriately is proven to be very beneficial under such circumstances for couples. That’s because when you have a steady routine with your partner to follow, your relationship has a likely chance to survive all obstacles together instead of getting off track due to uncertainty.
2- Do Not Substitute with Substances
Secondly, it is crucial to keep an eye on your alcohol intake no matter how depressed or out of control you must be feeling at the time. Too much substance use is a recipe for a disastrous interaction between couples, leading both partners to say things that they can’t take back later. Moreover, there have been several incidents during the pandemic when overdrinking has led people to act irrationally, leading to physical abuse sometimes. And we all know that when it comes to a relationship, abuse of any kind – be it verbal or physical – has the power to destroy it in a matter of seconds.
3- Go Easy with Your Criticism and Sarcasm Streak
Criticism and sarcasm are never the routes to build a mature relationship with your partner. And now is especially not the time to point out mistakes and have hurtful talks. Instead, this is the time when you should solve even the biggest of arguments by showing a bit of care and love. What we mean by this is that rather than pointing fingers towards your partner for something they did or didn’t do, you can resolve these matters by coming up with solutions together. After all, criticism is never the way to stay emotionally connected and close to your partner.
Replacing the sarcasm with appreciation can also help. For example, thanking your partner for making your coffee, even if they are doing it for the thousandth time for you, speaks volumes about how important your partner is to you. Making them feel proud for helping you out on the smallest things is an automatic boosting factor for establishing a two-way understanding relationship.
4- Make Secluded Outdoor Plans
You can’t go out on date nights at crowded restaurants like before, but that doesn’t mean you should stop making outdoor plans altogether. In fact, you just need to be a bit more creative, and you may find yourself enjoying a secluded outing with your partner even more so than before.
The truth is that hiking trails together or indulging in beach picnics on peaceful spots where you are away from prying eyes is much more healing than going to clubs every weekend to celebrate your life, like you did before the pandemic. If you have kids at home, it is essential not to forget engaging with them in such activities so that they can feel safe and assured during these trying times.
5- Don’t Keep Your Romantic Expectations Too High
We’re all going through a bad time right now, and it is essential to remember that. Being confined to your home with your partner isn’t exactly a romantic vacation for either of you, and it is okay not to make it one as well. The current situation is practically blurring our work and home lives, which means the drive to keep your sexual intimacy alive doesn’t sound as wholesome or appealing as it did before the work-from-home schedule came into effect.
Just because you’re not as physically engaging with your partner as before doesn’t mean there is a lack of emotional intimacy. The key is not to let your relationship feel like it is a burden and believe it as your safe place. When you eliminate this stress-inducing fact from your life, surviving the pandemic together becomes way more manageable.
6- Broaden Your Support System
Just because you’re living under the same roof doesn’t mean it is healthy to lean all of your worries on your partner. While couples living together need each other more than anyone else to feel secure, especially during the pandemic, it is still essential to create a boundary and not turn your relationship into a toxic one.
The best way to do this is by broadening your support system and staying connected with your family and friends. Use technology to your advantage and keep all your loved ones in your circle for additional comfort. Besides, relying on single support is highly discouraged by therapists as it creates unhealthy boundaries between partners that would be hard to let go of once the pandemic is over.
7- It’s Okay Not to Feel Okay At Times
There are usually two paths most couples take to approach a sensitive matter at hand. The first way is to criticize your partner’s decision because you don’t feel the same way about it. The other way is to consider their feelings, even if you disagree with their decisions and then act accordingly.
Unfortunately, more often than not, people usually take the former route when bad times strike. It is essential to understand that it is okay not to feel okay with your partner’s decisions. Similarly, it is understandable to agree to disagree on things rather than claim to be a know-it-all. Even if you believe yourself to be a hundred percent accurate, it is still considered healthy to let your partner feel okay with their opinions. If you don’t do that, you’ll only be jeopardizing your relationship over something that doesn’t even matter in the long run.
8- Schedule Time for Constructive Arguments
It may sound a bit clinical to you right now, but considering the current circumstances, it is better to carve some time out to deal with the arguments with your partner in a constructive manner. Fighting here and there and not coming to any logical conclusion only creates resentment among partners. This is why restricting your timings to have arguments compels you to use that time wisely.
For instance, you can dedicate an hour or two every other weekend to handling the matters that you found disturbing, invasive, irritating, or even toxic during the said time. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to communicating with your partner. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any point in having a discussion at all.
9- Negotiate and Compromise
Open and honest communication is the key to solving most relationship problems. However, you must know how to negotiate with your partner and understand where to compromise without affecting the love and trust you’ve built so far.
Through appropriate negotiation, you can come to terms that you both find fair instead of pushing a decision into the relationship that doesn’t long last. Moreover, questioning your own demands before you ask your partner to agree with them is also an effective strategy to eliminate most of your relationship problems.
10- Respect the Invisible Boundaries
When you’re living 24/7 with your partner, it becomes essential not to intrude on their personal time and thoughts without checking first. Even though your partner lives with you this doesn’t mean you can treat them like an empty canvas; or a whiteboard waiting to be marked by your needs.
It’s an intrusion of sorts to disrespect the invisible boundary your partner has created for themselves. And while it may sound like a small thing, intrusion can cause psychological effects where your significant other might feel like they are being suffocated under a heavy weight.
Want to Speak with a Professional?
Do you need help recreating a healthy relationship with your partner? If so, the best way to start is by talking to an experienced relationship coach. Establish the right foundation for your relationship with the professionals at Marriage Means Moore, beginning with a free consultation session.
Moreover, you can visit our website for plenty of resources to understand the different relationship problems you may be facing with your partner. You can also pick up a copy of our book, How Communicating Saved Our Marriage, to pass all the obstacles in your relationship capably.
By Antonio & Laura Moore – Marriage & Relationship Coach – January 4, 2021 – Marriage Means Moore