Covid-19 has definitely changed our lives forever. For some couples, the quarantine created the opportunity to spend more time together in the home. Without the added chaos of the outside world, this past year offered couples additional time to spend alone together and additional help with the children. For other couples, the quarantine created more chaos and less time spent at home with their families. For essential workers, the quarantine manifested long work hours, extra days worked, as well as the extra anxiety of getting loved ones sick negatively affected their relationships.
And it is all about to change once again. With vaccines on the rise and safety precautions being lowered, people are getting more and more comfortable with breaking out of their shells. Just before you know it, more adjustments will be making an appearance. These adjustments are called transitions, and they may change your relationship dynamic until the new norm settles in.
Prepare for Post-Pandemic Period
Communication during this time of transition is extremely important. Since we are all a little unsure of what this post-pandemic life is going to look like, a mix of emotions may arise from anxieties, nerves, and doubts to excitement and relief of being able to do more of what was our lives pre-pandemic.
Acknowledging the changes that are about to start happening and what feelings, fears, or issues they may bring about can help to resolve the issues before it presents itself as a problem. Some examples of issues that may arise during this time are taking health risks, opposing opinions on vaccinations, reintegrating back into society, separation anxiety, one party is ready to socialize sooner than the other, or even different vaccination statuses. All of these concerns could potentially cause greater issues within the relationship, so it is important to bring them up now so you can stay prepared.
An important form of communication that can help you and your partner reintegrate into society is by communicating what re-integration looks like for each of you. As has been pointed out, everyone has different feelings and opinions on re-integration. We can continue to build on our relationship and socializing by listing out what elements of both pre-pandemic life and pandemic life they would like to keep/bring back into their post-pandemic life.
Here are a few suggestions:
Understand your partners needs. In a relationship, we are faced with many instances where our needs are different, and Covid had caused many changes in a short period of time, and therefore the possibility of many differences between partners. Understanding that this is possibility helps to expect differences and feel about differently when having a conversation about it.
Re-establish the importance of the relationship inside the home. As we start to get out of the home more, it can be helpful to discuss what we would like to keep that worked for the relationship through the pandemic. Many couples have gained great ways of bonding in the home that should be preserved.
Re-establish the importance of the relationship outside of the home. Having a conversation of how you want to handle going out of the home and seeing where you both stand on this can help with getting on the same page.
Understand partners needs to socialize. For extroverts, the pandemic was hard as they need to be around more people to feel complete. In a relationship, there is many times one that needs to socialize more than the other person. Have a conversation on how to do this so that you can both feel comfortable with it.
How isolation can play a part in re-integration. Discussing when to honor being alone can be also part of your plan of re-integration as you may have discovered that you needed more of that during the pandemic.
Couples who met during the Pandemic
As we re-integrate into post-pandemic life, couples who met during the pandemic may have to prepare for a whole new discovery phase. The pandemic helped to create a focal lens that zoomed in on the life directly in front of us; now that the pandemic is getting closer to the end, that focal lens is beginning to zoom back out to a broader view. For couples who did not know their partner pre-pandemic, it’s important to communicate what life looked like before the pandemic, and how they would like it to continue looking after quarantine is over.
If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, is that we are all adaptive creatures; we are able to communicate and adapt in order to thrive in society and in relationships. As we continue to re-open back into regular life increase communication and understanding in your relationship so you can adapt to the relationship you and your partner have always wanted.