For many, social distance means not being able to see each other as much anymore, but for couples, it means seeing each other more than usual. And if you throw homeschooling into the mix, that just makes everything even more disrupting and challenging.
With the Coronavirus crisis affecting us globally, I’ve been trying to think of a way I can give back to my community. And as a Marriage and Family therapist, I can’t help but notice how social distancing and quarantining is affecting relationships. I’ve seen lots of memes just like this one that my friend sent me and it just made me laugh:
I love memes like this one because humor is always a positive way to cope and assimilate to what is happening to us in life. But as important it is to laugh at our mishappenings, it is important to find solutions and to protect our relationship from harm.
As I mentioned before, our lives have been shifted and interrupted, and the unknown can make us scared, feel overwhelmed and anxious.
The best way I can help my community during such hard times is by giving you tips in my area of expertise, #Relationships.
HERE ARE 3 THINGS TO BE MINDFUL ABOUT WHEN QUARANTINING WITH YOUR PARTNER:
1. How we approach information when dealing with a crisis:
Do you binge-watch the media? The articles? Anything related to COVID19? White House lives? Are you glued to the news? Do you feel like your partner is not taking this seriously enough?
Do you avoid the media? Avoid anything related to COVID19? Do you feel like you already need a break from COVID19? Do you feel like your partner is easily manipulated by the media and that brings you even more anxiety?
2. How consumed partners become by an emergency:
One worries a lot about what is going on
The other is trying to keep the structures and routines going as normal
3. How partners move through the world when disaster strikes:
One over protecting everyone with extreme measures
The other taking things slow, and simply going with the flow
As you can see, each method is a different range and sometimes seems like the opposite. You can approach this by not polarizing each other. Do not choose to be one extreme. Basically, a mental approach that not one way is the right way of doing things. We all need to feel heard through these times and find a way to cater to each other's worries and concerns and understand that each of these approaches has its pros and cons.
For example, the pro of staying on top of the media is that you are informed in every possible way; you will not be surprised when the worst happens. The con is that you are overwhelmed with anxiety, and that’s because the news purposely makes their information anxiety-provoking. At the end of the day, the media makes money by each view or click you make, and there’s a whole reality around that as well (But we won't be getting into that).
And then, on the other hand, the person who wants to stay away from the news, the pro is feeling more relieved, more at peace, you might even be able to handle day to day tasks more normally, with a better state of mind. The con is not being as informed and not being able to prepare and plan for the worse.
So, if you and your partner are at the end of each extreme, do not worry! This means there’s an opportunity to find balance and harmony in dealing with this crisis together. When you compliment one another because of your differences, you become a power couple.
TIPS ON HOW TO BECOME A POWER COUPLE THROUGH COVID19:
1. Get to know each other's differences in handling crises and see if you can find a way to appreciate your partner’s approach. Even if it feels like the opposite of what you need to do.
2. Make sure to reach and stay in contact with other people.
Avoid texting if you can, I recommend getting on a video chat or at least on a phone call. Try to humanize the conversation as much as you can, especially if you’re an extrovert
If you’re an introvert, use this time to re-energize, but do not get lost in quarantine. Check-in with people, you might feel like you do not need to, but your people might need you.
3. Keep in mind your partner cannot give you everything that you need. Make sure to reach out to other people who can give you the support that you need and vice versa. This is a time to be in community, and the beauty of having this crisis in this day and age is that despite social distancing we can still stay connected to one another.
I really believe that keeping these things in mind can help your relationship stay strong and come together as a community. But more importantly, take this as an opportunity to make your relationship stronger. I wish nothing but success in overcoming the new obstacles we are facing during this crisis. I will continue to provide support to couples and individuals virtually.
To your Relationship Success,
Your therapy friend,
If you would like to check out the health of your relationship, click the link below to get feedback and tips on how to enhance your connection.