There’s nothing like a pandemic to force you into a major life decision of whether or not to cohabitate with your significant other. But, weirdly enough, this is the choice thousands of couples were forced to make in the early weeks of March. As the dooms-dayer I am, I had a strong feeling isolation would last longer than the initial two week safer-at-home order was announced, so my boyfriend (who lives out of town) and I made the decision for me to come stay at his apartment for the duration of the quarantine. We’ve implemented a few rules of thumb to keep us (mostly) sane and happy spending 24/7 together. These are my words of wisdom.
Don’t Spend 24/7 Together
Yes, geographically you are spending all of your time in the same space as your partner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carve out “alone time.” Depending on what kind of space you’re sharing, create separate home offices. This gives you the opportunity to come together at the end of the day and talk about how each other’s days went as opposed to having lived it from the same couch. If space doesn’t allow for that, popping in your headphones and watching an episode or two of a show that’s just for you works equally as well. Finding ways to have your alone time is important, even if you’re still in the same room.
Have Date Night
This can seem like a waste of effort, but the time you’re spending together may not be as quality as it could be. Remind each other of your best qualities over a well cooked (or delivered) meal. This will definitely help relieve some tensions and lighten the mood.
Say What You Need
Now is not the time to be petty. Trust me, I love a good silent treatment, but disagreements and annoyances are so easily amplified in these circumstances that if something is bothering you, say it out loud. Whether it’s as trivial as needing your partner to pitch in more with household chores, or something with a bit more weight, find a way to calmly communicate to your partner and tell them what you need. As much as we believe they can, they can’t read our minds.
Respect the Space
Beyond respecting your partner, respect the space you’re sharing. If the space is comfortable, you’ll feel at ease. Whether that’s lighting candles, swiffering daily, playing music, or opening all the windows, do what needs to be done to make the space as comfortable as possible so you can share a space that feels like somewhere you want to be.
It’s not going to be perfect. There will be arguments and disagreements, but that’s a relationship. For some there can be a fine line between comfortably cohabitating and wanting to smother your partner with a pillow—and I hope these tips keep you aligned with the former!