Relationships are hard. H. A. R. D. They are, even when things are butterflies and rainbows and chocolate chip cookies. Add in a global pandemic and things can get, well, sticky, icky, icky. The pandemic has magnified the degree in which we rely on our partners and spend time with our partners because our boundaries, routines, rituals and literal space have been taken away from us. And with that, many people find themselves connecting to their phone, their work, and their “to-dos” more than to “their person”. To examine this, we’ve asked a few people (some in relationships and some not — we see you singles!) two important questions and here’s what they have been willing to share. Here’s to hoping you feel a little less alone in this.
Are there ways in which this has been an amazing time for you as a couple?
“I’ve learned so much about compromising and why it’s so important.”— MG
“The pandemic has certainly made us appreciate a lot of things once taken for granted. I'm sure different for everyone, but it demonstrated our ability to support one other while both being under a major load of stress.” — MI
“Family dinners are now a thing. As a married couple with four busy children, we never could sit at the table to eat dinner together because we were running from sports practice to sports games. Before Covid, we weren’t even home to eat the dinner at the table. Most nights we would split up or have to eat dinner in the car. Since Covid, we can now sit down and eat dinner as a family together without any interruptions. My kids will even set the table now. We are a more united front at that dinner table engaging in real life conversations with our children.” — AS
“We found ourselves home together for the first time ever and really enjoyed it. Long walks with the dog, lunch together, fancy dinners. Lots of cooking, lots of wine.” — SM
How has it been hard?
“I moved in with my girlfriend during a pandemic and after a year of dating. It’s the first person I’ve lived with and I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments. It’s harder than I thought it would be. And I think the hardest thing is working in the same house. They say don’t work with your significant other. Even though we are at different companies, it feels as though we are working together because we are doing it in the same space.”— MG
“Appreciation...of family...of how much they mean to us...what it means to spend time with them...to share moments good and bad...holding our breath to make sure that they come thru this...appreciation of ordinary activities...of going out to lunch...of giving someone a hug...of meeting a friend for coffee...of visiting a sick neighbor...of not worrying...of walking outside without a mask on!” — GI
“My husband breathes VERY LOUDLY on zoom calls.” —EI
“In the spirit of love, I will admit that my husband spends a lot more time questioning my every move as I cook dinner.” — RM
“Not realizing how much of a social person I was, until that was taken away from me.” — MD
“Constant worry and fear, the missing of friends and family, the disruption of life as we know it, and all the unknowns. A very mixed bag!” — SM
“While it was warm enough to be outdoors it was fine. Once the cold weather arrived living alone was lonely.” — FB
For more —
LISTEN: In late March, Belgian psychotherapist and author Esther Perel, launched a special podcast series called “Couples Under Lockdown.” In the series so far, Perel has done therapy sessions with couples in Italy, Belgium, and New York City, counselling them through the challenges of this very anxious, and often exasperating, time.