Blog

14 Apr

Couples Cohabitating During Quarantine

Written by Briana Bogue, LMFT & Dylan Volpintesta, M.Ed. Briana and Dylan are adhering to the “stay at home” order while managing the different dynamics of their relationship. Read their advice on how to live harmoniously with your spouse during the quarantine. 

 

Whether you’ve just started dating or you’ve been married for decades, COVID-19 social distancing restrictions are likely placing you closer to your partner than you’ve been in a while – or at least, for longer intervals of a time! Here are some tips from a cohabiting couple, one of whom is a Marriage and Family Therapist, as to how to navigate this newfound closeness.

Good intentions

Enter all interactions with a generous and positive attitude when possible. Interpret your partner’s messages with an understanding that they may also be experiencing stress. Don’t be afraid to try out some humor to keep conversations light and fun. Because this is a stressful situation, you or your partner may have a hard time articulating your feelings and needs right away, so don’t be afraid to take time to reflect if you need it. Understand that you are each dealing with this situation in different ways.

Open Honest Communication

Communicate your feelings and needs openly and frequently with your partner, and encourage them to do the same with you. In certain situations, checking in with your partner can be crucial to understanding their current state of mind and emotions. For example, simply asking “how are you doing?,” and offering to listen can give your partner the opportunity to communicate openly with you. Remember that discussion or disagreement doesn’t need to be a bad thing.

Managing Conflict

If conflict arises, don’t react right away. Instead, take a break and revisit the topic when you are both calm and able to hear one another’s perspective from a place of compassion. More discussion may be necessary when you are spending an unprecedented amount of time together. Be willing to hear your partner out when confronted with differences.

Self-Care

If you are seeing an increase in conflict, you may need to take care of yourself more. Attempt to be aware of your emotions, and know the best outlet for you to express them. Sometimes, especially when living in close proximity, you may find yourself looking for your partner to anticipate your needs or to help you feel better. This may cause you to feel resentful when your partner doesn’t get it or can’t help like you want them to. It’s important that you can separate your own ability to self-soothe from your partner’s ability to help you with that task.

While this is not a comprehensive list, we hope these tips can help you and your partner navigate this unique, uncertain situation. This can be an opportunity for your relationship to strengthen, and the bond between you to increase. Stressful times are never fun, but we believe you can make it through this together!

Briana Bogue sees clients via online therapy, anywhere in Pennsylvania, and at our Center City office. To request an appointment, reach out to her at bbogue@councilforrelationships.org or 215-382-6680 ext. 4420

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