How to Maintain a Happy, Secure, and Functional Relationship Amid the Pandemic
How are you handling the the pandemic with your partner? If you’re like most couples, you’ve probably had your ups and downs as you navigated new stresses – and spent a whole lot of time in the same space during lockdown.
It can be difficult to maintain your relationship during this unprecedented time, but it’s definitely doable, especially with a few tips and tricks in mind. Here’s our best advice for staying happy together during the pandemic.
Keep Communication Healthy
Communication is the foundation of a relationship. When things get stressful, it can be easy to lose the healthy communication you’ve established and give over to your stress. To keep communication happy and healthy, consider a few key ideas.
First, keep communication collaborative. Use inclusive language and make decisions to be beneficial for the both of you. Psychology Today encourages listening to each other and giving your partner your full attention in order to ensure that you’re keeping your communication collaborative.
When a situation arises, remember that you aren’t the only one involved in the conflict. Your partner is, too! Coming to a resolution helps both of you, and not coming to a resolution can harm both of you.
Second, stick to agreements. Don’t flake on the agreements you’ve made with each other, no matter how minor they may seem. Even if it’s just promising to take the garbage out, make sure that you do it, no matter what comes up. Sticking to agreements proves to your partner that you’re still willing to go the extra mile for them.
Finally, avoid gaslighting. Instead of blaming your partner for situations outside of their control or manipulating them into doing what you want them to do, use healthy communication practices. Be open with your communication, and be clear with what you need and want. Stan Tatkin suggests having a plan for how to deal with conflict that may arise already at hand, so that you can avoid slipping into unhealthy habits.
Solve Your Disagreements
It can be easy to let arguments stew and sit, especially when you’re together for more time than you’re used to. It’s easy to let your own personal stress transfer over to your relationship. However, practicing keeping your couple bubble healthy is important.
To keep arguments from getting out of hand, quickly resolve the argument. This means once the conflict arises, sitting down and working through it. Make sure that you aren’t using negative language, and instead are expressing how you feel.
Have a plan with your partner for where and how you’ll work out arguments, so you can do so efficiently and effectively. Use “I” language, instead of “you” language, so that you’re making sure to express how you are feeling, instead of blaming or assuming how they are feeling.
And finally, remember to compromise. You’re not always right in every situation. In fact, you’re probably at least a little bit in the wrong. Practicing compromise on both sides will ultimately make both of you happiest.
Keep Things Fun
Times are stressful–don’t let your relationship be a stressor too. It may seem silly, but it’s important to keep things playful during stressful times in your life. Adding humor into the relationship helps relieve stress.
Using inside jokes, giving in to childish behaviors, and even roleplaying are all suggestions that keep communication playful. Additionally, plan COVID-safe dates together. This could be as simple as having dinner together and talking about your day, or as elaborate as planning a day-long date ending in a pillow fort movie night.
Explore quarantine date ideas, including cooking a meal together, doing a spa night, playing games, or tuning in to a concert livestream. Find a new way to connect with an activity that you will both enjoy. Don’t be afraid to revisit your childhood or teenage years for ideas to keep things fun.
It Can Be Hard, But It’s Worth It
Relationships can be hard to navigate during this pandemic, but it’s worth it if you care about your partner. Keeping communication healthy, resolving arguments quickly, and keeping things fun are all tips and tricks to maintaining your couple bubble during quarantine. Your relationship can ultimately help relieve much of the stress that accompanies this pandemic.