Covid-19: Help Your Romantic Relationship Survive Self-Isolation
Whether you're in a long-distance relationship, or you're living with your partner, self-isolation will be a challenge. Here are some ways to help your relationship survive.
Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with people outside of your household. Many governments and countries across the world are enforcing this new behaviour on their citizens to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, you may be a carrier of coronavirus without even knowing it as some people don’t display or feel any symptoms.
Self-isolation ensures that healthcare systems can cope with the demand for their services and support those who do experience severe symptoms of the virus properly, and thus lower the death rate. Self-Isolation is a call to arms – and a really proactive way you can contribute to the spreading of this scary, unknown and highly contagious virus.
It is recommended that if you’re showing any symptoms of coronavirus, you should quarantine yourself at home for 14 days, and if your partner lives with you, or you share a room or a bed, they should do the same as you as they may now be a carrier, too. Symptoms may appear between 2-14 days or not at all, but you still may have the virus.
However, this can put an intense strain on our personal relationships, particularly with our romantic ones. Divorce lawyers across the world are predicting a spike in relationships breaking down due to the self-isolation period. So, how can you support and maintain a healthy romantic relationship during this tempestuous time?
If you live with your partner:
Keep up communication:
This can be a worry inducing time, particularly with the bombardment of information coming at us from every angle. Unfortunately, anxiety can make an appearance in many forms: anger, upset or frustration. Try and practice mindfulness during this difficult period and ensure you are being as clear as possible with each other.
It’s very easy to slip into blaming other people when you’re feeling stressed, and it’s likely to be the person you’re self-isolating with that you’re going to point the finger at. Use terms like “I feel” not “You make me feel” when trying to communicate your feelings.
Accept that arguments might happen:
It would be highly unusual if one didn’t in circumstances like these, right? It’s how you deal with them that counts right now though. Similar to the above, you might transfer your feelings around the virus to your disagreement without realising it.
Breathe. Your way isn’t the only way. Be open to compromise to help dissolve tension and listen carefully. Also… Choose your battles. It might serve you to put those big topic conversations on hold until this is over, particularly if one of you or a loved one is displaying symptoms.
If you’re both symptomless, skin-on-skin contact can strengthen your bond and boost your mood. Intimacy also releases oxytocin, which tells the brain that we’re happy and safe.
Establish space within your space:
Identify an area of your house or apartment that is for alone time/working and keep these areas separate from where you come together. If you see your partner in that space, or you’re using that space, make sure you don’t disturb each other and absolutely don’t take it personally!
If you're in a relationship, but live apart
Schedule in your video chats:
Try to limit how much you text your partner throughout the day. Save that for social media and group chats, and make proper communication and connection special with your loved one once or twice a day. Do it over food, or whilst in the bath, and really make time spent together something to look forward to.
Get creative with intimacy:
Self-isolating apart doesn’t have to mean celibacy and intimacy doesn’t have to mean physical. There are lots of options to explore to keep it exciting and fun!
Already in a long-distance relationship?
With travel plans being canceled left, right and centre, creativity and surprise is your friend now when it comes to keeping the spark alive. And it's hard to know how to make a long-distance relationship work! But not impossible.
Alongside the tips for living apart, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Make a romantic playlist and surprise your partner with it
- Cook and eat the same meal and share it over video chat
- Watch a piece of theatre or television at the same time using app add ons like Netflix Party.
- Plan and research a trip together for when travel gets going again!
Try not to freak out. Self-isolating may seem like a long road, but it is designed to be a temporary measure: it will not last forever. If you’re separated from loved ones or finding it difficult being stuck together with your partner, remind yourself that you’re doing this to benefit everyone’s health and safety. If our elders could go to war to protect our future, we can certainly stay inside to protect ours.
As we learn more about the behaviour of the COVID-19 virus, information is constantly being updated around how to support the fight against it. Stay up to date with coronavirus advice on the NHS Website.