Self-isolating with your other-half? An expert shares her advice – to see the full article click here
This could be a positive thing to come out of the Covid-19 global pandemic: spending time in quarantine together can allow you the opportunity to press pause, reconnect and nurture your romantic relationship.
Yet, this set-up does come with its own challenges. “Crisis often brings out the best in people, but it can bring out the worst in people too,” says Susan Quilliam, intimate relationships expert and author. “Any issues that already existed before the virus panic can become magnified. For example, if you’re already feeling irritated by the division of labour in the home, or who earns more money, these issues can become heightened.”
“There’s also a certain amount of time you can spend with another person – even if you love them – without getting irritated,” she says. “It’s so important to have time alone to emotionally regulate, so if you’re unable to do this, more tension can flare up.”
So if you’re self-isolating with your partner, or you’re nervous about the possibility, read on…
Being conscious of the issues you may face will put you on a stronger footing straight away. Understanding that it’s a particularly difficult time, and you’re likely to get annoyed with your partner at times, will help you manage this period effectively.
Self-isolation can feel like you’re trapped, but try to change the way you think about it: if you were on a two-week holiday, you’d be spending lots of intense time together too.
We all need alone time to “emotionally regulate” – this helps us calm down and think rationally. Of course, follow the official advice – but if you are able to, try and take walks by yourself without coming into contact with other people.
Find fun things to focus on.
Tread with caution, but spending this much time together could be an opportunity to unpack any issues you might have so that you can come back even stronger afterwards. Speak calmly and rationally, and start sentences with “I feel” rather than “you do”.
The news can feel all-consuming at the moment, but try not to let this filter into your relationship.
If neither of you are experiencing symptoms, physical touch ranging from hand holding to sex can strengthen your bond and boost your mood.
Even if you feel like your partner is driving you up the wall, remember to feel grateful for any small acts of kindness.
This is important advice for dealing with the coronavirus in general, but it’s especially essential when dealing with our other-halves. “Kindness can often be forgotten in relationships, as being so close and bonded can mean you dump things on each other,” says Quilliam. But if you can keep calm and be kind, you can weather this storm together.