When first starting to date, very few couples probably expected to be stuck in a lockdown together. During normal circumstances, relationships typically begin with flirtations, a few dates, and eventually love (and, in some instances, even marriage). A worldwide pandemic that forces you to spend every moment together for months on end and drastically changes the way you both live is not often a part of the plan.
Yet, so many couples this year have found themselves having to navigate the unique waters of quarantining with each other, spending unprecedented amounts of time together, and depending on each other for most emotional and mental health support. Despite the unforeseen challenges, quarantine can be a great opportunity to grow together as a couple and learn about each other.
This time with a reliance upon one another can be both detrimental and challenging to any relationship, so the health of your partnership will depend on your ability to communicate and solve challenges together. To help you and your partner find the silver lining in lock-down and make the most of quarantining together, here are a few things to keep in mind and some tips to follow, plus interesting quarantine dates ideas.
Although extra time together may seem like a gift at first, constant interaction during these uncertain times can wear down your relationship for several reasons. Here are just a few of the ways that spending quarantine together can negatively affect your relationship so you can be on the lookout for any of their impacts.
The uncertainty of this new normal and the ever-present, overwhelming news cycles can add significant amounts of stress to both you and your partner’s lives. However, it’s important to realize that those experiencing stress are more likely to express anger in outbursts and feel the inability to focus on anything other than their own thoughts. Obviously, these combined effects can cause friction with a partner who is experiencing the same feelings and lead to bickering, arguments, and aggression.
One of the most important things you can do to build a healthy relationship, according to experts, is give each other space and focus on your own interests. Therefore, the inability to be apart during this pandemic can make it difficult to spend time on individual hobbies that don’t interest the other partner. This can add quite a bit of pressure to your relationship and even breed resentment between you both if either of you begin to see one partner interrupting the ability to be alone or to do the things that bring joy.
During normal times, couples return home from work and outings to discuss the highs and lows of their days with each partner bringing different plans and interactions to chat about. However, if the majority of your days are spent together and you have no foreseeable plans, conversations can become limited, even stretched thin. Conversely, if your partner is the only social interaction you get throughout the day, you may put too much pressure on these conversations and feel unjustly let down if your partner doesn’t have much to say. This can wear on a relationship and can insidiously cause resentment and frustration between both parties.
While there are certainly negative impacts that quarantine can have on your relationship, there are also some benefits. Often, going through a stressful time together can bring partners together by forcing them to learn how to depend on each other more than ever before. Here are a few of the ways that spending quarantine together can actually help improve your relationship.
Having to adapt to tighter quarters can force couples to better understand methods of communication that are more productive than those they used before. While you may argue more at the start of quarantine, with patience and continued work, you’ll eventually be able to better grasp what your partner needs from you and vice versa, leading to more effective means of communicating your thoughts and feelings. Ultimately, this can bring you closer emotionally, and help you create a stronger relationship.
A benefit of quarantining together is the added time spent physically together. With less energy spent with friends or at work, you’ll both have more time to reinvest in your physical relationship and intimacy to feel closer to each other. In addition to the importance of intimacy in your relational health, regular physical closeness can also help lower both of your stress levels and ultimately improve your overall wellness and temperament with each other.
This time also offers a unique opportunity to learn and grow together from a significant new experience. Major life changes and painful times, like the global COVID-19 pandemic, can change the way both you and your partner interact with others and approach new situations for years to come. Experiencing it together can help both of you, and your reactions to it, develop in the same direction and speed as each other, bringing you closer together in the long run. Working together through a difficult time will improve your ability to depend on and trust each other, so don’t be afraid to open up about the way you’re feeling and begin a dialogue with your partner.
It’s important that you and your partner understand both the drawbacks and benefits of quarantining together so you can both be on the lookout for signs of relational wear or growth and address them as needed.
Just as quarantining is difficult for you at times, the worst thing you can do is solely focus on yourself. All the day to day stresses you’re going through, it’s very likely your partner will share the same if not more extreme feelings. Taking time to be empathetic and patient will go a long way to fostering a more cohesive and positive environment. Different couples may approach this in various ways, for example, a young couple just dating may take this time to discover more about their partner, while a couple with a family will have to make greater adjustments and sacrifices.
Couples at home with their family should have an easier time understanding their partners feelings because you both have other people to take care of. For these couples, quarantine suddenly means pitching in as your child’s teacher, or having to balance conference calls with the kids in the background. This would throw a wrench into anyone’s normal day to day and can easily cause additional stress you haven’t dealt with before. Do your best to pay attention to your partner’s physical as well as non-verbal cues to get a sense for how they’re feeling.
If you and your partner have been struggling to feel close during your quarantine, consider finding new ways to approach the situation. Below, find a few different ideas on how to use this unprecedented time together to help improve your relationship instead of hurt it. Just be sure to remember that these are suggestions; don’t be afraid to adapt these ideas to best suit your relationship’s unique needs!
It can be easy to fall into a routine when you’re spending everyday together, but this monotony and lack of romance can quickly take the excitement out of your relationship. Instead of simply settling into dinner on the couch in front of Netflix between work and bedtime, change things up and give yourselves a romantic date night! Although you may not be able to have your traditional dates, don’t be afraid to get creative to create an enjoyable night to reconnect with your partner on a romantic level.
Struggling for date night ideas during your quarantine? Here are some simple, home-friendly ideas to incorporate into your weekly routine:
Since you can’t go out to the movie theater, turn your living room into a movie paradise for just the two of you! Set the atmosphere with stringed lights around the corners of the room and dimming curtains. You can recreate the comfy theater seats with a plush, cuddle-friendly couch, but make it homey with some extra soft blankets and pillows. Then, indulge in some microwave popcorn and soda, and splurge for a rental of the latest streaming movie release. This low-key night can restore a sense of normalcy and even inspire some flirty snuggling.
Ditch the takeout for a night to work together and create a romantic dinner for yourselves. Research shows couples actually believe that cooking together is one of the best activities to do to strengthen their relationship. The communication and teamwork it requires can help you learn how to work together more productively while also creating something you can enjoy with each other. The best part is that this is a fairly cheap date; you can buy or order the basic ingredients, and maybe a favorite bottle of wine, then spend the night whipping up your masterpiece in the kitchen! If neither of you feel confident in your culinary abilities, get help from the professionals and attend a virtual cooking class.
Go old school with a two-person game night. Whether you choose a competitive one or just a simple board game, spending time together without the distraction of electronics can be a relaxing and fun way to change things up. Try playing a game built for couples that helps you start interesting conversations, work together as a team, and learn more about each other. Light some candles and turn the TV off for the night to ensure this time is high-quality and well spent. This will also help you pass the time in quarantine more productively, working to improve your communication skills and bond in a new way.
If you need some more ideas, check out our article on simple date night ideas that includes everything from starting a garden to hosting an international food night. Although some of these may need to be adjusted to be quarantine-friendly, there are plenty of fun one-on-one activities for you and your partner to get creative with and enjoy together! Not only are these fun ideas, but by planning them out in advance it will give you and your partner something to look forward to and prepare for.
As mentioned above, it’s important in relationships that both individuals have their own space and interests so that there’s less pressure on the relationship to be their sole source of socialization and entertainment. While it may seem counterintuitive, you and your partner should work to create a schedule that details when you’ll spend time together and when you’ll both be alone. This will help create some structure to your new normal, allow you both to continue investing in your separate interests, and help ensure the time that you do spend together is happy and enjoyable. If you are a couple with children, this is even more important. Take time to outline everyone’s weeks, set aside personal time for working out or simply relaxing away from everyone else.
With the extra opportunity for physical closeness that quarantine brings, use this opportunity to have some fun exploring new possibilities in the bedroom. Consider looking into some tips for spicing up your sex lives, whether that be through role play, sensual massages, or new candles. Whatever you decide to try out, a little experimentation can go a long way in adding some romance and excitement back into your routine.
Whether or not you and your significant other are struggling, proactive relational counseling can help you work to ensure you both feel satisfied and fulfilled in your partnership. Working with an outside perspective and professional can help guide you both through any frustrations, struggles, or hidden issues in a productive, calm way. This can be a great way to show your commitment to your partner and to build upon your relational foundation for a healthier love life during this stressful time. However, it’s important that you are both comfortable enough to open up, so take some time perusing what type of counseling will work for both of you before settling on a decision. Luckily, there are plenty of remote counseling options available online.
It may be difficult to adjust to this new life that involves an almost bizarre amount of time spent together and a significant change in daily routine. However, it’s still uncertain how long this change will last, so it’s critical that you use this quarantine to help your relationship flourish in spite of the difficulty.
Although it may be easy to fall into a comfortable rhythm while stuck at home, putting in the effort to work toward an improved relationship will help you and your partner build a more solid foundation and a deeper connection in or out of quarantine.
(Last Updated: 31 January 2021)
About the Author
Kelvin Kevin is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Content Editor of the World-Renowned HappyMatches.com Dating App and Dating Site. An avid writer since young, he is an Expert Dating and Relationships Coach for Casual Dating, Serious Dating and General Dating. You can follow him on Twitter (@HowToDateBetter), and also check out his personal Dating Blog, for the latest Dating Advice and Dating Tips to help Straight, Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Singles and Couples find and enjoy Fulfilling and Intimate Dating Relationships.