There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic totally changed the momentum of the world. For the people who were used to getting up and going every morning, their world may seem like it has turned completely upside down. For the people in relationships, well, they have had to adapt to being with their partner, inside, all the time. 

Relationships are hard even when you have the opportunity to leave the house and give each other space. However, now that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, our relationships are challenged more than ever before. Even though restrictions are beginning to relax, many people are still spending a lot more time together than usual.

Belgian psychotherapist and author, Esther Perel, launched a podcast series amid the coronavirus lockdown called, “Couples Under Lockdown.” In the series, Perel conducts therapy sessions with couples from various parts of the world. The biggest piece of advice Perel gives couples is that they need to create boundaries, routines, and rituals. You do not need a door to physically walk out of to separate living spaces. Learning how to be alone, but together, is how couples will survive this overwhelming and stressful time. 

You may notice that you’re the one that does all the cooking and cleaning. Or, you may notice a particularly annoying trait of your partner that you just can’t stand anymore. Either way, we need to practice healthy ways of dealing with our stress and anxiety and not put it all onto the person we care about. Here are some tips to keep the peace and spread the love!

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    1

    Give each other space

    This may seem obvious, even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, but it remains true even now. Although it may seem like you have nowhere else to go, the first thing you need to recognize is when you might need time to yourself. You may catch yourself getting irritated or tense, which is when you should go take a walk, read a book, or watch your show. Anything you can do to get some alone time away from your partner when these feelings arise will decrease the chances of an argument. This will also allow for you to deal with your emotions head on rather than taking them out on your partner. We’re all stressed and no one person deserves the wrath of emotions all at once. 

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    2

    Accept each other's differences

    You may be laying in bed together watching a TV show that you’re only watching because your partner enjoys it. Well, there’s no reason why two people can’t be alone together. It may sound crazy, but it’s a great thing to get used to, especially if we’re going to be practicing social distancing for longer than expected. Let your partner watch their show, or play their game, or even just lay there on their phone while you do whatever it is you want to do!  Do you want to watch separate TV shows? No problem. In a world where most people pay for streaming options and own a smart device, it’s easy to have two shows at once entertaining two different people. 

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    3

    Practice tending to your own needs

    Rather than constantly relying on your partner to be the outlet of all of your emotions, try to get more comfortable with yourself and find ways to backtrack from making that petty comment towards your significant other. Even if you’re not necessarily calming yourself down, you can at least accept the fact that you or your partner may have other outlets or people to talk to. Go ahead and call your best friend or your mom to let off a little steam. If that’s your way of self-soothing then so be it! If it keeps the peace then it’s working. Your significant others does not always have to be the one you talk with because talking to the same person all day, every day is enough to drive you crazy itself. 

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    4

    Have fun with each other!

    We may not be living during a fun time, but that does not mean you can’t make things fun for you and your partner. Especially since the weather is getting nice out, it’s easy to find things to do. Focusing on stress 24/7 will only make things more stressful, so getting out of the house can immediately uplift both of your moods. Aim to do something together so that way you’re both having a good time and not just one person. Try gardening, or working on a project to fix up the yard or the house. No matter what you choose to do, always make sure that you and your partner enjoy the task. Another piece of advice: have pleasant conversations. We are currently surrounded by negativity all the time. The virus and the world right now is all anyone talks about and it’s all we hear about. So, talking about more positive things while doing something enjoyable can enhance the fun and relieve a lot of stress!