How to Exit a Strained Quarantine Relationship and Enter a Closer One
As more of our friends and family are getting vaccinated, we may find ourselves starting to venture out. Kids may be going back to in-person school and parents may find themselves back at work in-person. We are all re-learning how to be together after a year spent in quarantine. If you’ve grown closer and more intimate with your partner during quarantine, you may have managed to make your relationship grow during quarantine. But some couples feel the stress and strain of the year spent together 24/7. Instead of feeling excited about living normally again, they carry with them unresolved hurt feelings and worry about the damage done to their relationship. If you are leaving quarantine feeling strained and stressed in your relationship, practicing these five behaviors can help enhance your emotional connection and minimize the distance you may be feeling towards each other.
1. Set aside time to evaluate where you are right now as a couple. Just because you’re a couple doesn’t mean you feel the same about what is stressful. For one partner it could be financial and for another it could be making sure the kids are thriving in school. Take time and listen to each other. Try to provide comfort and support to alleviate each other’s stress. Ask your partner, “How can I help you feel less stress?”
2. Get back in touch with yourself and invest in a project of your own. With quarantine, you saw each other every day. Relationships need space and partners need to grow individually as well as together. Nourish your need to create something of your own or re-invest in an activity you enjoy. You are a better partner when you get much needed time alone.
3. Take time to express gratitude for each other. Keep a gratitude journal and have a page for your partner. Reflect on the little things they do each day that make you feel happy or loved. Sharing your list with your partner can make your partner feel loved, respected, and appreciated.
4. Explore your sensuality. During quarantine, it was difficult for couples to connect on an intimate level. Children, elderly parents, and stressors can make time for romance challenging. Take turns on date nights designing the perfect date. A massage and reading a love story together are a wonderful way to get back in touch with each other. Love your marriage enough to understand the importance of romance.
5. Choose a new activity that you can both enjoy. A cooking class, dance lesson, or hiking trip are all ways you can get out, meet others, and enjoy your life together. You don’t have to be an avid hiker or fantastic cook; it’s fun to learn together. Anything that makes you laugh together will enhance your emotional connection.
Your relationship is a living, breathing entity. It’s important that you nurture your relationship just as you care for a loved one after a stressful event. If you’re feeling strained in your relationship, begin taking these small steps. These steps can help you breathe new life back into your relationship.