February is around the corner, heart shaped boxes fill the candy aisles of super markets, even now, during such an uncertain time, the celebrations for St. Valentines is not lost. How have couples, singles and marriages faired during the pandemic? and what can be done to help all involved? The last year has brought on many obstacles one of which is learning to address our romantic partnerships, and finding new partnerships. Many dare to ask the question,

How do we manage a love life during the time of Covid-19?

For those who have gone from spending time together after the average work day, to spending all day together in the same place can make connecting feel stir crazed. Many topics of conversation, connection and stress relief come from the sheer act of sharing our experiences of work, school, the outside world with our partners. What happens when this is taken away and we are forced to experience the same reality day in and day out? This new experience is hard to manage, even for the most seasoned and devoted couples. The monotony of dealing with the sameness of the day can start to create lethargy, causing a numbness to feelings, creating a time bubble where everything feels still. However, relationships can also offer solace during these moments.  I consider how the relationships of those around me have been impacted by the pandemic, and I think about my own relationship. My partner and I, having struggled a great deal at the beginning of the pandemic much like the others, came to a working balance. For couples living together here are few things to help.

Start with a routine:
Begin each day with a different start, something to separate the monotony. Build in breaks throughout the day, during these breaks individualize them, make them about your interests, exercise, calls with friends a little bit of self-care.

Schedule a date night:
Just as you would otherwise, create a date night, one that you can keep and maintain on a regular schedule. Find new ways to connect with each other. Since the pandemic restricts what most of us are used to, find creative ways to change the environment in your home, be adventurous, let out your inner child!
Some ideas are:

  • Go camping indoors, Build a tent and turn off the screens, act as if you only had access to the things you would if you went camping.
  • Play board games, card games, or other games that require you to connect with each other with the absence of zoom, and other video calls.
  • Have an indoor picnic.
  • Have a dance night, turn your home into your favorite dance club.
  • Go outside together, take walks, find places to hike if the weather permits.
  • Above all find ways to experience life together that you never thought you would be able to. Taking a page from children, use your imagination more.

I understand that at times it can feel that even the most basic ideas are hard to manage, and implement. I think about my friends and all those who have children, who feel much of their free time goes into remote teaching/learning, and planning activities to keep their children occupied. This can feel overwhelming for couples who may feel an imbalance in childcare, and feel they aren’t able to manage it all on their own. With children at home the stress of trying to work from home, teach their kids, coordinate with their partner, etc. can create resentment, fatigue and an anxiety provoking dynamic redefining family togetherness. Especially when trying to do it all with a positive and loving attitude. Find some space to come up with a solution together. Couples should plan activities together and ahead of time to insure that each individual is able to manage time with the children without feeling overstretched. This also creates a foundation for healthy boundaries and equitable responsibility within the partnership and makes for a healthier relationship overall.

For those still working on their new relationships, and those who have yet to decide whether or not to being in a committed relationship is really where they want to be, dating has taken on a new meaning. It seems that all the articles that have come out about dating and new relationships seem very polarized. Individuals are either making quick decisions in regards to their new budding relationships or are stepping away from the game all together. The pandemic is forcing individuals to make choices they may not be ready for. Many are faced with the choice of wanting to stay safe versus exploring a new relationship. A greater disconnection has also swept the world of dating, where once individuals met randomly at concerts, coffee shops, at gatherings and bars to meeting online and having virtual dates. The census being that there seems to be a lack of romance, that this platform has taken the “magic” out of dating all together. This new way to meet romantic partners has left individuals pouring further into the social relationships they already have some investment in and leaving the world of dating behind for now.

Whether you’re married, committed, a new relationship or single finding ways to express your needs of love and care can be difficult and especially in the current environment. Know that you’re not alone in this struggle and that even the strongest relationships can use a boost of help, and inspiration to reconnect.