Living with a partner during a pandemic can be tricky; there’s no doubt about it. Pre- COVID-19 era, time away from one another was a given. Everyone was going their separate ways for the day; going to work, running errands, and participating in their social activities. The pandemic has turned this upside down, and many couples feel the pressure of being home regularly together.
If you’re feeling your relationship is struggling or plateauing, you’re not alone. Couples therapy is a great place to turn if you’re looking for guidance on improving your relationship. For now, here are five tips to try at home:
- Plan a “Date” In The Calendar At Least Once a Week
Differentiate between time spent coexisting in the same space and time spent truly connecting with each other. You may be spending most of your time in one another’s presence, but chances are it’s not all quality time. Juggling work calls, online school, and chores within the same space isn’t exactly excellent bonding time. Sit down together to find a time that works for both of you to have a date at home. Relax during this time, make a nice dinner, have a glass of wine, watch your favorite movie, and have a good conversation. Make sure to leave the laptop flooding in with after-hours work emails in another room.
- Carve Out Time Just for You
On the other side of the spectrum, try to both set aside some time for things you enjoy doing separately. Maybe you love woodworking, and your partner loves doing yoga; make sure you’re leaving space for one another to enjoy these activities. When you’re both taking time to do something you love on your own, you will both experience a mood boost. When your alone time is over, you may find yourself in a more positive and peaceful state of mind, which is also going to likely make you more attractive and attracted to your partner..
- Explore Your Love Language
Everyone has a different way of expressing and receiving love! Take this quiz to discover your love language. If your partner loves quality time, but you’re trying to show your love with gift-giving, there might be a disconnect. Knowing how to show them love and expressing how you best receive love can work wonders for clear communication. Keep in mind that love languages do not necessarily remain the same. Some people have more than one, and they can change over time! If you want to get creative, check out this quick one minute video about using the five senses as your love language.
- Avoid Bottling Up Frustrations
Tiny things add up quickly when you’re always together. Something small that may not have bothered you pre-pandemic may have grown into a pet peeve now! If your partner’s tendency to leave their shoes blocking the door is getting to you day after day, tell them calmly what is bothering you, how you feel, what you want them to do instead, and how that would make you feel when they follow through. Many people either hold in their feelings or only share the negative, but it is essential to include what you want instead of telling them only what you don’t want. It is also vital to clear the air periodically as letting small issues build-up will make it harder to communicate calmly.
- Learn How To Listen
If you have noticed that your partner repeats themselves often, it may be a cue to reconsider your role as a listener. When they’re speaking, your role is to make them feel heard. Take turns speaking in the spotlight and actively listening. As a listener, show that you are curious about your partner’s story, thoughts, and feelings. Remember to keep yourself calm by breathing while you listen; this allows you to be truly present. When you provide silence for your partner to speak and show attentiveness, you may notice they no longer feel the need to repeat themselves.
Like these tips? Reach out for more personalized guidance and a free phone consultation!