Can Your Relationship Survive Being Quarantined Together?

Can Your Relationship Survive Being Quarantined Together?

My husband slurps his coffee.

Let me be clear that I’m not complaining about him drinking the coffee. I’m complaining about the way in which he drinks his coffee.

“Can’t you just drink it?” I asked him.

“It’s hot.”

It’s hot. Sure. Why bother waiting until it cools down? My husband would rather burn his tongue instead.

For better or for worse, right? In sickness and in health and amidst an apocalyptic pandemic.

I suppose if you wanted to put a positive spin on this whole “stuck in the house” thing – being kept together during a national quarantine could be romantic. Like being stranded together on a deserted island… except the island has cable, and my husband would rather watch an old baseball game that was played in 1997 than have a run-of-the-mill conversation with me — ME. The ONLY OTHER PERSON ON THE ISLAND.

“How was your day, honey? What did you do? Oh, you watered the plants again? That’s great!”

Which reminds me, I need to water my plants.

This is a weird time. (For example, I am actually home enough to water my plants.) I won’t go in depth with the craziness that’s going on in the world right now- because I think most of us already know, and frankly, we’re probably a little sick of hearing about it. I don’t have any advice to offer you that the CDC, CNN, and every Instagram “influencer” with more than 10,000 followers hasn’t already told you – stay home, and wash your hands. A lot. Take vitamins. Don’t hoard toilet paper. Don’t touch your face right after you touch a gross, germ-y grocery cart or gas pump. (Honestly I thought we were already doing this one, but apparently it needed to be said.)

Slurpy and I are going through the same stir-crazy, stressed-out type of emotions that everyone else is experiencing. He slurps his coffee, I leave my dishes in the sink, and we’re driving each other just a little bit bonkers. But we still love each other, And we’ll get through this – hopefully with a little more patience and grace for the other person.

But in case you need a little extra help, here are some tips to help us all stay sane (and hopefully stay married) during the zombie COVID19 apocalypse.

#1 Have patience
I think the hardest part of all of this – and the reason why we feel so antsy and “thrown off” – is because we’ve lost our routines. We’re not going anywhere. The gyms are closed, the stores are closed, we’re supposed to be working from our kitchen tables, our lives were essentially “put on hold” overnight, and we don’t know how long we have to wait. Maybe another week or two, maybe a few months. Nobody knows. What did people used to talk about before this? Sports? The weather? I don’t even remember. Because now it’s ALL Coronavirus ALL the time.

It’s a strange, stressful, and uncertain time. We’re all experiencing stress to some degree and – unfortunately – it’s easy to take it out on your partner. Because we’re feeling antsy, we snap at our significant others because… well, because frankly we’re just in ‘snappy’ moods right now. And so are they. So we’re making it unbearable to live with each other.

Have grace. You’re not mad at him for the way he slurps his coffee, your mad because you would normally be on your way to work right now but you’re NOT because of what’s going on in the world and so you’re stuck at home with Slurpy and it pisses you off because you’re craving some sense of normalcy. Note that NONE of those things have anything to do with your partner. He didn’t do this. He’s just trying to cope with it the same way you are – and apparently, for him, that means drinking coffee before it’s at a reasonable temperate. YOU’RE FINE.

#2 Create a routine
Remember how we just talked about routines and how nobody has one anymore? Make one. Make a new temporary one. As humans we crave structure – and without it, we feel like the world is ending and we get a little coo-coo. So head that off by structuring your days. Get up and get dressed, the same way that you would if you were going into the office. Set aside certain hours for work. Eat lunch at the same time every day. Plan a dinner menu. Pull up some YouTube videos and carve out time to do yoga in your living room. Just make sure that you’re giving yourself structure in a world where we have so little of it right now. This will ultimately help you to be less dependent on your partner to give you that sense of security that you’re craving.

#3 Make time for each other
You live together. Yes, I know all about the “stay at home” mandate. Yes, I know you’re spending allllllllllll of your time together now. I know you’re sick of looking at the other one and right now – frankly – you just need a BREAK.

So take one. Take a break. The time that you’re spending together trying to stay out of each other’s way in the apartment is NOT quality time. When the two of you sit down on the couch and argue because one of you wants to watch Little Fires Everywhere and the other one wants to watch – I don’t know, some dumb shoot-em-up movie – that’s NOT spending time together. That’s putting up with each other in your space. There’s a BIG difference. In one scenario, you’re engaging – in the other scenario, you’re just wishing they would go away so you could watch your show.

Make time for engaging activities together. Plan to watch a movie. Plan a date night where you make dinner together. Play a board game together. Pick up a new hobby together. Whatever it is, just make time – plan it, and make it feel like a date. Not like you’re just doing it to pass the time because the other person is there and you’re forced to live together.

#4 Spend time apart
Yes, I know you live together. I know – they’re always there. I get it. But just because you live in the same house doesn’t mean you always need to be in the same room. Make sure you’re spending time apart from one another, in separate rooms, doing whatever the hell you want. Read, watch tv, whatever it is that you need to do to relax. It’s important to make time for YOU so that you can bring your best self to the table in times like these. If you’re unable to be in separate rooms, try using earbuds or headphones.

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