The Effect of Covid-19 on Your Relationship — A Little Too Much Togetherness?
Ordinarily, I tell people not to make big decisions in times of crisis. Covid-19 was no exception.
The big question I saw folks grapple with was: Do I still want to be in this relationship?
The big decision was: Do I leave the relationship?
What Covid-19 did (among many other things) is give us no escape from our partners. We sheltered in place together. We worked from home together. We overate together. There was no escape from the togetherness.
The mystery in the relationship was completely gone. There was no outside energy or excitement to share.
And, none of us were at our best. We all felt lethargic, anxious, and confused. We didn’t care to spruce up. We all let go a bit. It’s human, but it was ugly at times.
The problem is that simply being in a confined space that long with another person can be incredibly annoying. Plus, it is hard to be pleasant when you are sick of your surroundings.
This environment got many people wondering: Am I done here?
(Note: I am not talking about abusive relationships.)
In some cases, Covid-19 might have forced some people to face harsh realities of bad relationships that they’d previously ignored. In other cases, Covid-19 might just have created too much togetherness in pressure cooker circumstances.
The bigger issue in my view is that times of crisis are not good times to make big decisions. I suggested surviving and observing.
Now that things are lightening up, folks are in a better position to actually evaluate relationships from a less emotionally charged standpoint.
Relationships take A LOT of work. Good relationships don’t just happen. We have to plan dates. We have to open ourselves up and be vulnerable. We need time apart.
I think of relationships like investment accounts. We have to make regular deposits during the good times to get us through the hard times when we are making more withdrawals. As humans, we get busy and forget the deposits. We take them for granted. When we wake up and find the account is depleted, irritation turns to blatant pain.
If you are questioning your relationship after Covid-19, you are not alone; however, if you don’t learn the skills to keep the relationship fresh, you’ll find yourself in the same spot in future relationships. Having the Covid-19 wakeup call is a great opportunity to really look at what we want and where we are going. Early in relationships, it is all fun and hormones. We share goals and dreams. At some point, the fun seems to fall away into the monotony of daily life. This is being human.
But it’s time to re-imagine.
Relationship re-evaluation can be painful but it can also be incredibly rewarding. It all gets back to what you put into it. This seems to be the perfect time — as we channel all of our pent up energy from being homebound — to take a serious second look.
If you’re struggling with having your relationship, consider this book by John Gottman (7 Principles for Making Marriage Work). It is fabulous way to take stock and build on what you have. I encourage couples to read a chapter a week and schedule an hour a week to discuss it. There are plenty of exercises to keep it interesting.
If you want my spicy twist on relationships, check out my book, Move on Motherf*cker: Live, Laugh, and Let Sh*t Go on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, or Bookshop.