How To Not Drive Your Partner Crazy While Stuck in Quarantine
27 Mar 2020 •9 min read
You know how marriage is supposed to be this beautiful union between two people who are meant to be together, forever? Yeah well, together forever sounds okay before you're stuck in quarantine with that same person 24/7. We're over it, okay? Time to go for a solo walk or just sit silently in two different rooms for a few hours.
Alright so maybe it's not that bad, we're still keeping romance alive in our little quarantine lovenests. But sometimes it can get a little rough when you went from going to work and out with friends every day of the week to being stuck together all day, all the time. Social distancing or maintaining quarantine are both hugely important to flattening to curve, but they're not working wonders on our relationships. If you're stuck inside with your better half all the time, and it's getting a little less than better, here's some advice that might do you both some good!
1. If You’re Both Working From Home…
So you went from being out of the house from 9-5 to spending all of your productive hours at home. Rough. Sometime's it can be nice to get a little love from your at-home coworker, but other times you just want to get in the zone and grind. Maybe your partner is the chatty coworker but you're the nose-to-the-grindstone type, and that's just not meshing at home. Not to mention the fact that you're now spending an extra eight hours with your love! That adds up and can eat into how much you enjoy your off-hours time together!
If you've been working next to them all day, do you really want to plop on the couch and watch TV together? Or will you be in need of some me-time? A super important tip for working at home is creating a separate space dedicated to your work. Lucky you, if you already have an office space. If you have a spare room or even a spare corner in your living room, set up a desk, get your space uncluttered, and get cozy in your new "private" office. When you get up in the morning, (hopefully but no judgment) change out of your PJs, and sit at your workspace so your mind can go into work-mode and your partner knows that it's not the time for chatting. They should try and maintain a similar, separate setup, as well.
When you're ready for TV and cuddles, power down your laptop or computer and leave that office area for good! It may even be helpful to let your partner know that you're going to be in work-mode from this time to that time. This can help both of you maintain healthy boundaries and stay productive. If you don't have space for completely separate office areas, you can achieve a similar effect by outlining specific office hours for you both and claiming your own space in your home. Maybe they get the couch and you get the armchair? Clear and agreed-upon boundaries are really the key here.
2. If You’re Feeling A Little Stir Crazy…
It really sucks being stuck inside all day. Whether you live alone, with family, or with your partner this whole self-isolation thing can have a huge impact on mental health. It just so happens that when you're living with a partner and both trying to cope with this massive and sudden lifestyle-change, it can be pretty easy to get on each other's nerves. You're already both going through enough, you don't want to add relationship strife on top of that.
If you're feeling stir-crazy being stuck inside all the time, reference the CDC and WHO's ongoing safety recommendations...and get outside! Yes, it's still safe to get out of your house. But be prepared. Don't go anywhere crowded and when you're walking around, try to maintain the recommended six-foot distance to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. If you have an outdoor space like a balcony or a backyard, make a point to spend time out there every single day. Try having your morning coffee or tea while you're getting some fresh air. Just know that you're not alone in this, maybe give a friend a call on your daily walk just to check in and socialize with someone you don't live with.
3. If You’re Getting Kinda Antsy…
Whether you're working from home now, spending more time inside due to social distancing, or recently out of work due to the pandemic, it's understandable to be feeling antsy. A lot of us associate productivity with going out and physically doing things, but that's not exactly a safe option anymore. Feeling a bit on edge puts major stress on a relationship, especially if you're both feeling this way. Sometimes you might just burst out in anger taking out your frustration on your partner or vice versa—not cool.
Keep things calm in your shared home by reminding yourself that it's okay to not be "productive" all the time. Especially when there's an actual pandemic happening. But if you and your partner still feel the need to being something, here are some ideas that work well as a pair or individually!
Keep up your exercise routine—you and your partner used to go to the gym every morning before work? Figure out a time and at-home exercise routine that works for you both and stick to that for the time being. Or maybe now's the perfect time to be tackling that next home improvement project or doing some spring cleaning! Even just doing something with your hands like working on a new craft project or playing a video game together is a nice way to relieve some of that excess energy you're both building up while staying at home. It's okay to not be productive! But if you're on edge and it's affecting your relationship while in quarantine put that unused energy into something new!
4. If Your Anxiety Is Getting Too Real…
If you or your partner is feeling anxious right now, please know that that is completely normal. Honestly, we'd be slightly concerned if you weren't at least a little bit nervous! Anxiety is a major struggle, and it definitely can take a toll on a relationship. Having a partner around to comfort you is all well and good when at least one of you is feeling calm...but what happens when you're both anxious all the time? Well, it's not easy. Here are some tips on how to keep you both calm and stop yourselves from ramping up each other's anxieties, and whether you do these things together or separately is up to you both.
We cannot stress this enough...do not read the news all the time. It's good to keep up to date with the necessary safety precautions and expert-know how. But if you're diving into the Twittersphere and reading up on death tolls every single time you take a bathroom break that will wreak absolute havoc on your mental health. Set a time-limit for yourself to go on your social media accounts and get the latest. When time is up, close your apps and do not open them again until tomorrow. You know enough and dwelling on it any longer than you have to isn't helping anyone. Maybe even remove your social apps altogether? Now might just be the perfect time to unplug. If you really just cannot stay off, another solid option is muting certain topics on Twitter to clear up your feed of the unnecessary negativity or unfollowing certain accounts on Facebook and Instagram.
From there, since you're now going to be saving all the anxiety-inducing social media time, replace it with some more calming activities! Haven't you been meaning to get into meditation "for like ever," but never had the time? Now you do! Or get back into your yoga practice—just start with a ten-minute sun salutation and just wait until you feel those benefits all day long. When all else fails, nothing calms us down like binge-watching some bad tv or getting cozy for a stress-free romcom marathon.
5. If You’re Just Plain Sick Of Each Other…
We get it. Two people were not meant to spend this much time together! Even without all the added outside stressors, it's a lot. And, we know, you're planning on being married to this person forever and that is going to be wonderful! Quarantine is just rough. If you and your partner are really driving each other crazy, it doesn't mean you still aren't meant to be. Things are tough right now, but here are some ways you can take some of the pressure off.
The first step is to delineate alone time and together time. If you're not going out anymore with friends or family and maybe even working from home on top of that, that's a lot of time to be spending together. You might be used to spending all your off-time hanging out in a shared space, but that might not work in this new environment. We're all trying to navigate this, so don't worry it's not just you!
It's time to start delineating time alone and time together. If you want to read a book in silence, let your partner know. "Hey, I'd like to have some alone time right now to read, would you mind hanging out somewhere else?" Just ask nicely, and it shouldn't be any trouble for them! For all you know, they might have been wanting the same thing and just didn't know how to ask.
Another important thing is to organize some time to hang out with other people. Sorry, no more Sunday brunches with the gang. But you can still make time for loved ones outside of your at-home quarantine-zone. Set aside sometime on Friday nights for an online happy hour with your friends. Make a point every Sunday morning to call your folks. Or maybe even just give your mom a quick five-minute call every day to check in, seriously she'll love it! Just be sure that you're not putting all of the pressure for social stimulation on your partner and vice versa.