THE SURPRISING WAY THE PANDEMIC IS CHANGING COUPLES
The Extended Time at Home Has Proven to Be Beneficial For Couples.
By Taylor Fuqua
Months into the global coronavirus pandemic and many couples find themselves having to make adjustments even in their relationship to keep a sense of normality. Most couples are discovering that the pandemic has made them appreciate their partners more, according to a report done by the American Family Survey.
It’s expected that the pandemic has changed the way many Americans move through their day-to-day lives. Children have switched to online learning, adults are turning their homes into office workspaces, and many may even be facing extreme economic hardship. The pandemic has presented its own set of challenges, but with its challenges, it has presented some added positives for those in relationships.
The survey reported that many Americans in relationships said that the pandemic has actually made them appreciate their partner or even deepened their commitment to their partner and relationship.
While 56 percent of those surveyed said the pandemic has made them appreciate their partner, only 20 percent reported that the pandemic had increased stress in their relationship, and 13 percent stated that the pandemic has made them question the strength of their relationship. Everyone has had to figure out how to navigate through the ups and downs that have come along with a global pandemic, and for many, that’s become an added stressor on their relationships.
Couples have been confined to just the walls of their home for months, sometimes without outside physical interaction from anyone aside from their partners. While this is likely to drive anyone crazy, many couples have used it as an opportunity to get closer to their partner.
Spending each day doing the same things in the same place is enough to drive any couple a little crazy, but there are some ways to make sure this doesn’t negatively impact the relationship.
You can’t take care of your relationship without taking care of yourself first. Try to keep up with normal activities you enjoyed before the pandemic or explore new ones. Tap into your creative side, pick up doing yoga, reading, anything that will give you an outlet, and puts the attention on you. You need to take care of yourself outside of your partner, and it’s okay not to involve them in your self-care. By maintaining self-care, you can bring the best version of yourself into your relationship.
Respect each other’s personal space and boundaries.
It’s challenging enough trying to manage being quarantined at home with your partner for extended periods, so you both must be able to give each other some personal space to be alone. As much as you may be doing together, you need to have the same amount of alone time to create a a healthy balance in your relationship.
Maintain open communication with your partner.
Just because you’re spending all of this added time together doesn’t mean you know what your partner is feeling or thinking, and vice-versa. Establishing and maintaining open communication allows you to both be on the same page as far as your expectations, avoiding misunderstandings, and making assumptions. Maintaining strong communication with your partner also gives you both the opportunity to learn more about each other and stay closely connected.
“Couples who are able to maintain good communication and be supportive and responsive to each other throughout the COVID-19 crisis will likely remain together and possibly feel more connected for having weathered the storm,” the Association for Psychological Science said in an article for newswise.com.” The article also states that couples who are experiencing difficulties with communicating and effectively supporting each other might feel less happy within their relationship or marriage, which will likely result in them going separate ways.
Keep things fun.
Don’t let the current circumstances keep you from planning dates and activities with your partner. Even if you have to do it all from home, never let the dating aspect die from your relationship. Plan a special dinner together, movie night, or even just quality time together to just talk and play board games. Whatever you do, just try to keep things light and fun as often as you can within your relationship. These moments will mean a lot when you’re facing challenges.
What’s going on in the world right now isn’t a permanent situation but something that will be around for quite some time. The best thing you can do for your relationship is to continue to focus on all the good that you and your partner share. This pandemic probably isn’t the first challenge you’ve experienced within your relationship, and it certainly won’t be the last.