So close, yet so far Fostering relationships through the pandemic

‘No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share an umbrella and survive the storm together’. The pandemic has brought a lot of changes and challenges in our life since its onset. It has also put our love and relationships to the test. Spending all the time with our loved ones now seems like […]
7 Min Read
13 July 2021
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‘No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share an umbrella and survive the storm together’. The pandemic has brought a lot of changes and challenges in our life since its onset. It has also put our love and relationships to the test. Spending all the time with our loved ones now seems like a dream come true and things may be more complex than anticipated. Sharing the same physical space with our partner 24/7 has put the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship under the spotlight. And for those who are making things work irrespective of the distance, staying on the same page, across time zones might prove to be quite the challenge. We do end up feeling sad and lonely at times, and the smallest of things like holding hands or taking a walk together becomes unachievable. The pandemic is rewriting our perspective and understanding of love.

In these uncertain times, it is important to test the waters and navigate the relationship. Although every relationship has its dynamics, here are a few tips from us to help you rekindle love and manage relation-‘ship’ through this storm:

1. Fix a routine. This sounds cliche but is also essential.

With the lockdown in place, it is quite challenging to keep track of the passage of time and days. It has become very common with people staying up at night and sleeping during the day. If your partner is an early bird and you are a night owl, that just gives you a couple of sloppy hours in the noon or in the evening to spend with each other. In a relationship, especially during these testing times, it is important to make time for each other. And what is a better way of doing that than syncing your circadian rhythms and sleep cycles?

2. Listen and communicate. It is important to listen to your partner and share what you are feeling or going through. 

If you are locked down together, it is often easy to assume that you’re on the same page, and if you are working on a long-distance relationship, the distance can act as a significant communication barrier. With long-distance relationships, at times, our thoughts function with a high level of anxiety when we realise that there is a chance someone else could be occupying the physical and emotional space you had in your relationship. Our minds often go into a defensive zone to avoid us from getting hurt by highlighting the negative aspects and preparing us for the worst. Try not to overthink. It is easier said than done, but trusting your partner’s words is the easier and healthier thing to do.

3. Do things together. This may seem like a ‘no brainer’, but very often, simple points slip our minds. 

In our busy routines and schedules with work and chores, we barely have time for our loved ones. Simple things like doing household chores together, cleaning up or rearranging your living space can be a lot of fun. You can also reawaken your inner child and engage in activities like filling colouring books, playing UNO, completing a jigsaw puzzle or finding something of mutual interest. If you are away from your partner, you can do your daily chores or work together over a video call. At the end of the day, it is these little tasks and activities that create beautiful memories. Whether you’re living together or in a long-distance relationship, date nights can be a beautiful way to spend an evening together. You can cook your favourite meal, sit across the table (or across the screen), and enjoy each other’s presence. Divide your daily chores and tasks. If you have the chance, go out for a walk and get some fresh air. Make the best out of what is available to you. Just doing things a little differently can go a long way.

4. Maintain a work-life balance. It is essential to know where to draw the line, close your laptop and look at the people around you.

Our understanding of time and space have become quite different through the pandemic. There is a very fine line between the work and leisure components of our life, and the wall is constantly crumbling. Work, school, family, friends, everything has been crammed within the four walls of your home. The pandemic has been overwhelming for everyone in universal yet different ways. You have to make a conscious effort to maintain the balance and give your family and your relationship time. If there is an imbalance, the probability of a mental overload is very high,and thus you might even displace this pressure onto people you love and who aren’t related to your source of stress.

5. Respect boundaries. It is vital to discuss your expectations about the relationship. 

Talk about what you expect to receive and what you are willing to give or invest in it. Placing these expectations as the foundations makes respecting boundaries easier. Sometimes, we tend to put the whole responsibility of completing and healing ourselves onto another person. We fail to acknowledge that they are also equally human, they’re real, and they have needs as well. In a relationship, a balance between giving and taking needs to be established. There is a fine line between checking in and checking up on your partner. Checking in on someone is to make sure they are doing okay. Checking up on someone is to see that they are doing what they are supposed to do. It is also essential to check in with yourself to make sure you are doing okay. Checking up on someone can be perceived as prying into others’ life. You need to know where to draw the line. It can be pretty overwhelming to have the company and presence of another individual in a designated space, if required, you  can occupy different areas of the house at different points in time.

6. Calls>Texts.

 Most misunderstandings and complications arise from texts. Yes, the advent of technology has made keeping in touch easier but when you need to discuss something important, make sure to do it face to face or on call. Our analysis of emotions and tones over texts can go horribly wrong as we cannot read through the various non-verbal cues like voice, body language or facial expressions. Texts are sent within seconds, and very often, they are just impulsive responses. When someone calls, it is a sign showing that they care because they take the time out and make the deliberate attempt to make you feel valued. If you are working on a long-distance relationship, make sure to call your loved one. Sometimes even comfortable silences over the call can make you feel secure and calm.

7. Don’t forget about yourself. Alone time is a crucial aspect of psychological well being. A sense of monotony has clenched our lives, and sometimes even the most active people may lose track of date and time. Especially if you live with your loved one, a sense of numbness and lethargy may become a part of your bond because of your constant presence in each other’s lives. It is important to take a break from the world and engage in simple activities that you enjoy doing by yourself. It may be drawing, singing, gardening or merely watching a movie by yourself. Every individual needs their ‘me-time’ and moments of solitude to refresh and reboot their system.

8. Be a source of positivity.

 In these difficult and trying times, you see news about rising cases and deaths everywhere you look. On our phones, in the news, and on the TV, there is a lot of negativity. It is essential to stay vigilant about the current scenario, but we need to analyse if the information is helping or hurting us. In such times it is important to show your loved ones that you care. Simple activities and actions can put a smile on their face. It is important to take a step back, unplug from the world and reconnect the important bonds in your life. Be a source of positivity, optimism and good vibes. Use this opportunity to get closer, spend more time together and get to know each other better.

Reminder: No two people or two relationships can be the same. Comparing the dynamics of your relationship to another couple can be very harmful. There is no one-size-fits-all way of handling love. Knowing your relationship can help moderate your comfort zone and communication style. You need to understand what works for you and find your flow.

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