Sitting at home during lockdown feeling drab and like your relationship is quickly fizzling out like a dying star? Well, this list is for you.
Firstly, recognize that this is an incredibly traumatic and stressful time for everyone, even if you’re not an essential service worker. This stress will have an affect on your own mental wellbeing and the mental wellbeing of your partner. So be kind to yourselves and don’t make any drastic changes to your relationship if you can help it. Everyone is more likely than not at their worst right now, so try to keep that in mind.
Here are some helpful tips from a few experts to help make your relationship as happy as possible during lockdown.
Like I said above, accept and acknowledge that this is a really difficult and unusual (aka ‘unprecedented’) time. Accept that there are tons of outside stressors that neither you nor your partner can control nor can they fix.
Being stuck in your house together means there’s less opportunities for quality time which means there are less moments to be emotionally intimate. Remember when we talked about rituals being the glue that keep long-term relationships healthy and happy? Well, lockdown threw out all your old rituals: hanging out with friends, going on dinner dates, going to the movies, or exploring your city. So now what?
Just because your old rituals are gone (for now) doesn’t mean you can’t start new rituals! The weekly date night you guys used to go on could still happen just at home! Get those sweats off, make dinner together, crack a bottle of wine and enjoy each other’s company in a different capacity than you do every day.
More stress, less opportunities to unwind and bond with others, more responsibilities all can lead to more conflict within the relationship…which, let’s face it, leads to less sex.
Once you’ve accepted that things are different, it’s important to extend grace to not only yourself and your partner but also to your relationship. Manage your expectations by setting new approaches for your relationship and having different expectations.
The good news though? According to a survey by Austrian sociologist Barbara Rothmüller, it’s actually possible to have a positive effect on intimacy during lockdown.
In fact, 74% of couples who live in the same house said they were having a lot of fun together back in April. Then again in November, 69% of them still said they were having a great time in each other’s company. So what’s their secret?
2. Carve out time and space for yourself in lockdown
Being in each other’s face 24/7 is bound to have negative repercussions on relationships.
Rothmüller says this is so important especially when everyone is home in a space that’s probably too small for them. It’s important to consciously make time and space from each other, like taking a walk for a few hours! Or spending time in separate rooms doing things that you want to do.
3. Use the lockdown to take on new activities!
Either as a couple or individually! Start jogging, start exercising, or start painting! By trying new things, it helps with how we feel about ourselves overall.
Which is very much tied to our sexuality. If we feel like shit about ourselves, we’re not really looking to bump uglies. But trying new things and making an effort like taking off those 4 day old sweatpants can help reignite that fire within you! That’s not to say that loafing around and taking the time to rest or be upset is a bad thing! But remember to get yourself out of that headspace once in a while! It’s much easier said than done and I’m still trying to convince myself to do it, not gonna lie.
4. Sex is a stress reliever (so is masturbation!)
Rothmüller’s survey showed that some couple’s sex drives decreased in the first months of lockdown but some others took advantage of being stuck inside!
If sex just seems completely off the table because of how stressed you are or how distant you and your partner feel, psychologist and sex researcher Marieke Dewitte, gives an easy solution: the 10-minute rule
The 10-minute rule:
10 minutes of cuddling, kissing and physical closeness can be enough to get you into the mood even when sex is the last thing on your mind.
If the 10-minute rule doesn’t solve it, at least you got to spend some quality time kissing and snuggling! Those are also important acts of physical intimacy.