The pandemic, subsequent lockdown and stay at home measures has meant not only that our lifestyles have changed, but that our relationships are changing as well. The amount of time we spend with our partners has dramatically increased – for those of us who have been spared (or perhaps are already on the other side of) the more damaging effects of pandemic like increased conflict or uncomfortable realizations about the future of your relationship – you could be running into a smaller but still chafing problem – boredom. Below you’ll find some suggestions to keep your relationship feeling fresh, and make it a place of respite during these uncertain times.
- Structure your time together. When you’re with the same person in the same space all of your activities can easily start to bleed together. You work out together, sleep together, cook and eat together, complete your work days side by side… Keep time with your partner feeling special by designating which activities are really a pleasant change of pace and which are just the result of the situation. Maybe choose to work in different rooms or only workout together a couple of times during the week, but have a date night or physical intimacy planned.
- Work on a project. Making the space you’re in more enjoyable and complete may benefit your mental health in a positive way.
- Make it a date. Pick a time and activity, then add some details to make it feel special. You may just be watching a comedy special on Netflix, but if you’re both wearing a matching set of pjs and have breakfast for dinner it will bring a sense of occasion and fun.
- Change up your sex life. Try having different kinds of sex at different times of day. Break routines and think of new things to do, such as: different ways of initiating, non-penetrative sex, different ways of ending, and different moods (playful, quick, intense, rough, etc.)
- Do things that you normally wouldn’t do. You’re going through something together and these will be useful touchstones, in hindsight, to remember what this time was like for you/your relationship. Try painting together in the dining room, nerf fights, reading aloud or whatever you can think of to change up your normal routines together.
- Challenge bad habits. Your proximity to each other means it’s the perfect occasion to correct some bad habits. Does one of you need to get better at tolerating affection? Do you turn into mortal enemies over a game of monopoly? Challenge yourself and use all of those opportunities to practice a healthier response.
- Practice vulnerability. The lockdown is going to surface deeply held issues for a lot of people. Are you having to look your anxiety in the eye? Are you experiencing depression because of the stress? Spend some time exchanging reflections and insights for whatever you’re going through. This vulnerability will support both partner’s individual health. These kinds of conversations contribute to intimacy and strengthen your relationship and that is a great habit to continue.