How to Keep Your Romantic Relationship Strong during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Other Stressful Times
IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO COMBAT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
At the time this hub was written, the world was dealing with a pandemic. There are some hygiene rules you need to take in consideration.
- Regularly wash your hands. Preferably with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer in situations where you do not have a sink and soap.
- Stay six feet away from people.
- Do not hangout in groups of more than 10+ people.
- Do not go to places unless it is essentially needed: getting supplies, groceries, medications.
- Some of the first symptoms people experience with the coronavirus are: feeling pain in the back of the throat and not being able to smell or taste things.
- The virus is more contagious and has a higher fatality rate than the flu.
- 2-4% in contact with the virus die, in some places this rate goes up to 9-10%, like in Italy.
- Up to 20% of people experience severe symptoms, such as needing a ventiliator to breath and hospitalization.
- You should continue healthy practices to protect your immune system: get regular 8 hours of sleep, eat healthy, exercise, brush your teeth, and shower. Wash your sheets and wear clean clothes when possible.
- Use masks when at stores. Use something to cover your mouth.
- The virus can enter your body through your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- The contagious period is about 2 weeks.
- Do not go to work if you have symptoms.
- Take your temperature daily, especially if you are an essential service worker.
- Do not hoard all the supplies at groceries, this can prevent goods from getting to people who need them desperately.
- Do not sell hoarded products online or to others sellers. This can get you into trouble with the law.
Keeping Your Relationship Stable during a Pandemic and Crisis Situations
Staying home for days on end, financial troubles amid the pandemic, and health woes can all put an intense amount of pressure on your romantic life.
Those who stay together in crisis have a strong relationship. Sometimes staying together just because isn’t a good idea, but a real relationship can weather tough obstacles like health scares, education setbacks, layoffs, and even the loss of loved ones.
Relationships are not only about the good times; they take hard work to endure problems. Real relationships carry you through tough times, they give you support when you're sick. People who are in love do not abandon others when times are difficult. They take on the challeneges with all their heart, mind, and strength. They do heavy-lifting because they love and care about you and want to see you through, and you should do the same.
There are things you can do in your relationship along with your partner to make sure your relationship stays afloat during times of disaster, pandemics, and the markets crashing. In this hub, I’m going to go over a lot of information that’s useful during a pandemic, but is also paramount during other difficult times.
First, let’s cover some basics.
If both of you are home all day long because of the quarantine and your kids are home, things could get stressful and noisy. You need to remember this is a temporary situation. You need to see past the crisis and see your partner for who they really are and be supportive. It’s basic but remember to; think before you speak. Slow down and listen. Sometimes just nod your head and keep the peace. Pick your battles wisely. You don’t have to argue about everything. You need to be good at argument management. You may need breaks from each other. Lower your voice and try to stick to a regular sleep schedule even if the pandemic has rocked you and your family.
Forgiveness and apologies can go a long way. No one is perfect. In these close quarters, people are likely to step on each other's toes. You need to give your spouse and kids the chance to grieve their losses during this time. People have had to sacrifice parts of their lives to make sure we squash this pandemic, without self-isolating the impact of COVID-19 would be far, far worse.
Changing Times, Changing Zeitgeist, Major Growth, and Exhaustion
Big changes are coming to families across the world during the pandemic, you are not alone in this.
Research shows pandemics have the power to escalate tensions, political tensions in particular, and violence. If you are in a situation with abuse, you need to reach out to professionals and come up with an exit strategy or counseling. You matter, so don’t put yourself in harm’s way. There are domestic violence shelters; police will be still working in your time of need. Remember: these lock downs, shelter in place, and quarantines are all temporary. Try to take advantage of this time to the best of your ability: catch up on chores, try learning a language, read up on things you want to know, get to know your family and friends more.
Several couples will be dealing with layoffs. It will be particularly hard for couples where both people lose their jobs (that's an extremely difficult situation). For partners whose spouse or significant other has lost their job, be supportive and secure. They need your security, so do not wig out on them.
Looking for a new job is one the hardest times of life. Adding in a pandemic, and this can make for an incredibly stressful and difficult time.
Tips for Partners if Your Spouse or Significant Other Loses a Job
15 things you should say or do after a layoff:
- I’m here for you, and I believe in you. I’m sorry that you are going through this, but this situation won’t last forever. We've got this.
- If there’s anything I can do to support you, let me know. Whether that's finding jobs with you, cleaning up some stuff, getting rid of items associated you don't want, etc.
- Compliment their strengths. Make a list of their best qualities and refer to it so you can make some worthwhile compliments. Give them reassurance.
- Ask if they need any help spot checking their resume. Let them know if you have any contacts you could reach out to.
- Take a look at finances — a must — and make a plan to make sure you are financially stable. It’s okay to get a financial counselor to protect you during this time.
- Be proactive, give hugs, give kisses, be supportive, be a rock when they need one. They need to be comforted. Your comfort can help them land a job faster.
- Say “I love you.” It means a lot.
- Give empathy. Let them know it’s okay to grieve. You'll see them go through all kinds of emotions from sadness to anger. Getting a new job takes time, and it’s pretty common that people will lose themselves some days and not get as much done as they want. It's tough during a pandemic because not as many employers are hiring and a large base of unemployed people are now competing for those jobs.
- Keep an eye on them. The wave of emotions with losing a job causes all kinds of ups and downs. Be ready to hug. Be ready to get them to stop being so angry.
- First, apply to jobs in your area. After an agreed upon timeline, and talking about where else you would want to live, then start applying for jobs in other markets. Some careers have jobs all over one city, some industries are much smaller.
- Never criticize about what they’re doing or cause them to have doubts. Your partner is already dealing with doubt and is likely vulnerable. They may need help building back some ego. Let them dream, and then let them know to keep applying, keep interviewing, and they’re going in the right direction.
- Do fun simple actives, don’t take everything seriously. Play games, watch TV, etc. Don't constantly talk about the job situation. Do not make demands about progress. Their unemployment will do that for you.
- Let them talk about their feelings and get over their anger.
- Help them stay positive
- Let them sit and be still at times
And here are the 15 do nots:
- Do not make it all about you.
- Do not ask panicked questions like: what are we going to do?
- Do not get upset that it’s taking too long to find a new job. Don’t make this demand. Jobs come in their time. You need to breathe and be calm. Fretting will make it worse for them.
- Do not ask them what they did wrong and try to do a performance review on them — getting laid off is about the company, not the person’s performance.
- Do not assign them more housework to fill up their time. Suggest doing some chores like normal, but don’t go overboard.
- Do not drop all childcare needs on your partner.
- Do not get onto them if one of their unemployment claims didn’t go through. It's normal that sometimes a week of unemployment is denied.
- Do not tell them they didn’t like that job anyway.
- Do not rant about how you’re the sole provider of money now.
- Do not force them to take a job they really don’t want to do.
- Do not laugh at them or make fun of their dreams for their next career.
- Do not throw a fit.
- Do not yell at them or make them feel like a failure.
- Do not post on social media that they have lost their job, especially without their permission.
- Do not compare them to someone else and that person’s job, especially an ex or the like.
And especially do not up and abandon them. If you have to make an exit, talk about it. Do not just leave unless you are in a threatening situation.
Getting laid off is one of the hardest things a person will have to go through. Again, it's not great on top of a pandemic. Couples need to add patience to their routine. Don’t let yourself get peeved too easily. Not a lot of places are hiring like they used to, so give each other space. Try to create office spaces for both people who may be working from home. Try to give your kids their own separate space as well.
It's important to create space for each person so they can express themselves the way they need to do.
Tips for Finding Jobs
Unemployment should be treated like a job because it is. You still have tasks at hand to do, and you must do them. The first, and most obvious, is apply for unemployment. Other things you need to be doing on a daily, weekly, and even monthly basis:
- Apply to multiple jobs, not just a handful of jobs. This is a numbers game.
- Clean up your resume. Save different types of resumes for similar career paths you want to take. Create a plan of attack. Organization will help you.
- Clean up your LinkedIn profile. Connect to people and apply to jobs through this platform.
- Read up on articles on how to survive unemployment, look for YouTube videos that will help you in this time.
- Read up on career tips. Read up on Forbes.
- Read things from HR experts online who can give you insight into what it takes to do an interview.
- Go to career fairs when available.
- Contact friends with jobs who are similar to yours and see if there is an opening.
- Look directly at company websites and not just Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, etc.
- Meet with a career counselor who can give you much needed advice and direction.
- Use college alumni career services for help.
- Apply weekly for unemployment claims. Even if you miss a week, keep going until you have a job.
- Sharpen skills, make use of time. You’ll sound more interesting to an employer if you say I’m working on learning a language, I’m exercising more, I’m reading books about the kind of career I want, etc. Make it sound like you're active despite the circumstances. This shows a great work ethic.
- Improve your education on the career you want.
- Apply to temporary work if unemployment ends.
- Look for side hustles: mow yards, write HubPages, babysitting, tutor, do creative gigs, take a part-time job, do a garage sale, lemonade stands, bake sales.
- Keep a positive attitude, do extensive self-care, a person projecting a positive vibe is more likely to get an interview and get a job.
- Read up on how to improve your interview game.
- Always be ready to improve, you have to do something different if you want something different to happen.
- Put the job search aside. Give yourself at least two days off where you don't go looking for jobs and the like.
- Journal your progress.
- Put forth your best qualities, rank what you do best. Don't go on about your lesser qualities or less developed skills. Know what makes you your strongest.
- Go through your house looking for extra change.
- Talk to your landlord or your bank about your situation.
- Use social media to your advantage.
- Try picking up freelance
- Give up on applying to jobs: take a small business loan and go after your real dream.
Romantic Partners, Be Supportive!
For partners, try to be cognizant of when they’re having interviews. Try to be aware and don’t leave your ears on the interview calls they’ll likely be having while you’re at home.
Try really hard to create a calm atmosphere at home. Look for triggers in your relationship that set off unnecessary arguments. Reduce those triggers, especially if they are for non-issues.
Cleaning and doing chores together will help remove the clutter in the home and help things to feel new. It’s okay to be a little cranky — it’s a pandemic. But you don’t want your mood to get out of hand.
For extroverts and introverts the pandemic is going to cause different reactions. Here is a chart of what could make this pandemic really hard on your partner of either persuasion.
Feels drained and isn’t around enough people to stay energized
Feels trapped, cannot get away from the people who are also in quarantine with them
Feels like everything is boring. Doesn’t know how to create excitement around them naturally
Excited by the chance to explore movies, TV, and puzzles, but may feel overwhelmed by having to make choices for all of it constantly. Ideas and activities at home from art to music are soothing
Annoys people and complains just for the sake of noise
Shuts out people to better concentrate. Make missteps with people unintentionally by coming off aloof when really they need private time.
Depressed from lack of social
Anxious from being crammed with people.
Needs time for phone calls and video chats.
Needs time to think and express themselves creatively with no one watching.
Needs an audience
Needs space to draw in ideas
Needs to talk a lot then draw back
Needs to listen and absorb then excitedly talk about new ideas. Sharing ideas and communicating means they value someone.
Needs a larger social network
Happier with a close set of friends
Myers Briggs Type Indicator
It’s not just whether you are an extrovert or introvert that will determine how you or your partner perceive the pandemic and quarantines. It may help to do a refresher on Myers Briggs, or get a quick introduction to it.
It’s a personality system that can help you to better identify how you and others process and respond to the world around them. It identifies people along four different spectrums: extroversion or introversion, which means you are charged more by people (extrovert) or charged more by ideas (introvert).
The next spectrum is sensing vs. intuition. A sensing person is primarily in the here and now, deals with the practical, and uses their primary senses to gather information. An intuitive person is pattern oriented. They look at systems, methods, context, the past, and future to come at conclusions. Intuitive people do a lot in their minds which makes it seem like they pull information out of thin air. Intuitive people gather information outside their five senses.
Next is thinking vs feeling. These are not the most PC terms, it would be better to say someone who makes decisions based off data and information vs someone who makes decisions based off social interactions. A thinking person does not need to look at a group’s consensus or the larger social implications to make a decision. This is someone who takes pride in a rational approach, finds it easier to move for a new job, and prefers reason and sensibility. Feeling types are really good at reading the people around them, understanding the emotions around them, collaboration, and prefer to make a decision after first getting a feel for how they and others feel. They don't move to new locations as easily. They like to go by their gut, what is ethically moral, etc.
Judging vs. perceiving has a lot to do with perceptions on time. A judging type is more serious, organized, deadline oriented, and clean. A perceiving type is less concerned about deadlines, is more flexible, whimsical, can come off lazy, more relaxed, and sometimes more creative.
Concerned about basic needs. Obsessed with tracking money and food.
Constantly analyzing data and models for patterns on what the pandemic will do.
More sensitive to cleaning, notices when things are not up to par with sensory needs.
Looking for trigger points, thinks ahead about how to go to a grocery store, isn’t as easily caught off guard.
Focuses on basic needs.
Focused on timeline. Thinks down the road rather than what happens today. Looks to historic timelines for context.
Concerned about the needs of others. Important people must be protected and accounted.
Concerned about overall impact. Looking for damage points and entry points.
Obsessed with cleaning.
Obsessed with reading articles and taking in news to stay informed.
Focused on supplies, getting medications, cleaning out trash.
Focused on creative solutions, predicting issues, thinking about potential interactions.
Nature helps flood senses in a positive way.
Nature helps ground them, eases anxiety.
More prone to criticism.
More prone to anxiety.
Looks to data, models, statistics, compares to other countries.
Concerned about the welfare of others, overwhelmed, sad.
Takes action on preventative steps, adds better hygiene
Also, adds better hygiene, but also looks for ways to self-soothe.
Takes pragmatic approach. Tries to see things through a limited field.
Takes a more open-minded approach and sees things through an open field, prone to paranoia
Makes decisions to secure finances.
Makes decisions to appease the needs of the family.
Watches news segments, satire, drama television.
Needs music, comedies, whimsical content.
Will move for a better job
Will move if necessary, but hates souring social connections
Dream and goal motivated.
Decisions could afford more sensitivity.
Decisions could afford more grounded reasoning.
Continues to have schedule whether as an essential service employee or in quarantine
Losing touch with schedule. Not sure sometimes the time of day. Not sure what day of the week it is.
Cleans to get rid of stress.
Washes hands more because they’re supposed to, but spends time in creativity or in laziness to cope. Might take up recreational drugs.
Obsessed with details.
Leans on the creative, wants to go with the flow.
Keeps a serious foot on the gas to get things done.
Flexible. Likes the foot on the brakes, but can turn on the gas.
Organizing, cleaning out closets, delegating responsibilities
Setting up games with friends online, making videos, going for walks, exercising, eating garbage
Deadline centered. On top of taxes, bills, and dates.
Procrastination centered. Will wait till the last minute.
Clean and wears profesional clothes to help mentally.
Forgets to shower. Forgets to do chores. Neglects chores because they can't be bothered.
Making sure stuff gets done.
Making sure there's a good, positive vibe.
Doesn't see important things because they're too into their goals.
More open minded. Relaxed to see the important priorities.
Relationship Advice from Western Astrology
Let’s take a look at something else. Do you know your person’s zodiac sign?
What about yours?
Each of the elements are going to react in different ways to the coronavirus pandemic. It’ll be easier if I break this down into elements than whole zodiac signs, that could be a whole hub unto itself.
Elements are: fire — Aries, Leo, Sagittarius;
earth — Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn;
air — Gemini, Libra, Aquarius;
and water — Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
The chart below will let you know how these elements might process a pandemic.
This is a terrible scenario for a fire sign. Needs to create and do something. This is the sign of free-will, so they may feel drained, as if someone put the fire out.
Earth signs want physical needs and financial needs met. They are deeply concerned about their pockets drying up or not having enough resources to survive. They may turn to household projects to keep themselves busy. Stock market fluctuations make them feel ill. They see finances and health as one entity.
Air signs will look at the greater philosophical and political framework. They’ll be interested in the political tensions and the possibility for social revolution. They’re looking at where are the tectonic plates in this, they want to know how things can get worse, and see further down the timeline. An air sign is less concerned about the data of today, and more concerned about what’s down the pipeline. This sign is highly prone to anxiety and related issues at this time.
This sign is completely concerned about their social connections and the health of others. Water signs are the most likely to emotionally breakdown and cry their way through this mess. They do not do well with multiple sectors of life malfunctioning. This is also the year of Mercury Retrograde through water signs, so this is a double whammy. Water signs are about emotions, so when health, social connections, and political tensions rise, it can be too much to handle.
Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Gemini, Aquarius, Libra
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Arguing: because they can't get what they want done. They may turn to aggression or blockhead ways. They often want to lead.
Arguing: because of financial or practical stress. Earth signs depend on certain securities. It's also a double whammy because they like to be in nature, and these lockdowns have cut off some parks and greenways.
Arguing: because they're looking at so many political and philosophical ideas and models on the pandemic, that they're getting a little bit crazy about how poor our leaders are handling the crisis. Air signs see the system flaws, which have turned into system failures. The air sign may pontificate a lot, but they're not trying to argue. They just have so many words in their head at this time and can't sleep.
Arguing: everything is so weird to them that they don't know what to do, so they may get cranky or fussy over the oddest things imaginable. It's hard to know what to prioritize. Everything is so murky and unclear and tsunami like, that the water sign feels pulled in all directions.
Coping strategies: starting up projects at home, talking in excess, calling family members, buying random stuff online, getting into thing they shouldn't.
Coping strategies: financial conservatism, exercising, getting into household projects, having mixed reactions with the stock market, selling stock, donating time or money to charities who can feed the hungry.
Coping strategies: full on distractions. Lots of TV watching, video game playing, picking up a new language, picking up musical instruments, writing in excess, reading, getting into hobbies. Needs time off from heavy reading about current events and other ideas.
Coping strategies: needs soothing music, familiar TV and movies, comfort food, family to hold and snuggle with, phone calls, baths and showers, constantly washing hands, taking vitamins, and checking temperature.
Worst case scenario: turns violent, unapproachable, makes drastic decision to move and change everything, breaks up because can't see beyond the horizon
Worst case scenario: severe depression, breaking up to save money, self-harm, extreme isolation, hoarding supplies, and bizarre ideas from isolation and hermit like conspiracies
Worst case scenarios: panic attacks, full blown anxiety, overwhelmed, panic about political tensions, apathy, negligence
Worst case scenarios: depression, non stop crying, cuts off people close to them, makes decisions that could harm them for a long time, irrational choices, leaning on lust, insanity
Top three concerns: loss of job, physical impairment, not allowed to leave home indefinitely
Top three concerns: financially bankrupt, no food or water leading to death, having no shelter
Top three concerns: widespread death from pandemic, widespread financial collapse, widespread political strife leading to social chaos
Top three concens: failing health, evicted from home, family harmed
Relaionship problems: spark feels blocked. Staying at home supresses it.
Relationship problems: financial strain leads to terrible arguments.
Relationship problems: so anxious that they're cranky and saying crazy things.
Relationship problems: can't deal with the emotions, needs extreme amounts of affection. Panicked.
Must start and lead, needs something to do.
Must manage, needs resources to flow.
Must think and develop strategies, feels overwhelmed.
Must feel and love, feels trapped and congested. Unable to express self.
Final Guiding Tips
With all this in mind here are some tips on how to keep the peace in your home.
- Manage your craziest thoughts and feelings. Slow down and don’t go into your immediate worst fear. You need to relax and put self-care forward. Work on yourself before getting into conversations with your partner. Read, meditate, shower, do yoga, watch YouTube videos on self-care.
- Be honest financially. Do not approach this daily or every hour. The bills will still be there when you wake up. There are financial counselors out there to help. Don't make hasty decisions in the dark. Don't critize your partner relentlessly for financial situations. Do not mock your partner.
- Support with acts of love. Follow the rule of five: (1) compliment through words, (2) show love through actions and do acts of service, (3) find ways to give gifts, (4) touch through proximity and well, touch, and (5) be intentional about your time and spending it in positive ways.
- If you don’t need to argue about it: don’t
- Take turns on who will support who and who will be the one to vent. Don’t both try to complain and vent at the same time. One person should be comforted and one should do the comforting, ideally speaking.
- Put in positive practices not negative ones: eat healthy foods, have a regular sleeping schedule, practice good hygiene, do chores, exercise, find supportive methods not deconstructive methods. Lay off the alcohol and drugs, cut the caffeine, avoid the junk food, curb the crazy television.
- Make sure to focus on your relationship especially if you have kids. You are modeling a relationship for them, so show them what a strong couple is when in the middle of a storm.
- Be really sensitive if someone gets sick. It may be a financial black hole, but put love first and deal with the debt and the like later.
- Look out for what triggers and upsets your partner and try to minimize it.
- Do not make drastic big changes at this time. Be lenient. No one is perfect. Move if you have to for a new job.
- Remember that everyone is putting their goals and dreams on hold. Everything is in timeout.
- Talk less, forgive more.
- Don’t preach and infantilize your partner.
- Give people room for their emotions. People are allowed to have reactions, but we want to strengthen and make our reactions wiser.
- Manage your anger.
- Use those arms to hug.
- Look for positive messages to soak up. Do not dwell only on the challenging and difficult parts.
What about Dates during Quarantines, Self-Islation, and Lockdowns?
Sorry young love budding lovers. You're likely not living together, but it's going to be difficult to date and help your budding love. It'll be a little easier for those already living together, and it might also be more crazy for those living together.
If you need help with dating here are a couple of suggestions: for those not living together, consider this a long distance situation. Lean heavily on the phone, video chats, and emails. Try candlelight dinners, put together funny videos, use technology to your advantage. Send encouraging words. Try playing video games or board games long distance. Listen to music together, try watching movies together while in different places -- there are apps for that. You're going to have to be creative and sensitive. Date to know the person better, be encouraging, be honest. Listen. You might not get the chance to see each other during the lockdowns.
For those living at home, dinner is king. Try cooking more than you used to to keep the romance alive. Add some spice to that recipe your mom gave you. Look for exciting things to watch on TV, Tiger King isn't for everybody, but it's probably one of the best pieces of content to forget about the coronavirus entirely.
Also try: candlelight dinners outside on the porch, setup a camping site inside, put together an old fashioned sheet fort together and eat those junk foods, hit YouTube and broadcast dance lessons in your living room.
You can still learn to dance!
Create a scavenger hunt in the house, think Easter Eggs. Leave little messages scattered around the house.
Try reading your favorite books outloud. Use your creative and brainstorming powers! Go on a picnic, grab a coffee together, and sit in a room you usually don't and try asking each other random bizarre questions, play video games together -- Animal Crossing or Zelda Hyrule Warriors, anyone?
Dress up in nice clothes and pretend you're on a date in the house. Have dinner ready, have a movie setup, you know, make the most of what's happening. You don't have to let the spark or the fun die entirely. Putting some positivity in your life will help you win your life back.
© 2020 Andrea Lawrence