If you are in a fairly new romantic relationship, this time can pose very specific challenges. With isolation being the new normal, the honeymoon period of continuing to get to know a significant other through dates, outings, and adventures has been abruptly cut short. While this time is ideal for fulfilling sexual cravings and getting to know someone new on a more personal level, it can also feel as though you’re being forced to accelerate your relationship in ways that may not feel so comfortable. In this blog I’ll discuss some common issues that come up around quarantining with a new partner along with ways to problem-solve.
With the shelter-in-place system, boundaries have shifted drastically. If you choose to quarantine with your person, instead of being together in shorter bursts throughout the week you are now more likely to be in each other’s space for an indefinite amount of time. The dynamics have gone from fun and exciting date-nights to the routine of co-existing with someone. And this can create all sorts of experiences you may not be ready for. Having your partner there to witness your phone calls with family, them seeing your reactions while watching the news, or even showing parts of yourself that may come up during a normal workday can all feel like there’s more of you being exposed too soon. How you expect your partner to react to your anxiety, frustration, or sadness is also important. If you get stirred up, do you want him or her to try and help out by problem-solving or just listening? Or would you prefer that they back off? Maybe a little bit of both dependent upon the situation at hand. Let each other know as soon as possible what the both of you would want from the other if certain situations come up. Say what works for you and what doesn’t. Drawing on past experiences in a relationship or current ones with friends or family may be helpful here to illustrate certain examples.
If you’re following my suggestion of communicating often in this way, you may start to fear as though the fun will be sucked out of your new relationship. Don’t let it! Find ways to continue to have pleasure with your significant other. Break out old board games or video games, watch movies that were childhood favorites, teach each other how to make loved recipes, or introduce some new ways to spice things up in the bedroom. Having fun and being playful is not only a way to keep momentum going in a new relationship, it is also a much-needed distraction right now from feelings of anxiety and powerlessness in regards to the current pandemic.
What happens if you start to push each other’s buttons? Are you ready to manage possible differences in things like cleanliness or bedtime rituals? What if your partner wants to zone out and listen to music and you start to worry that this could mean they are pulling away? Again, fast forwarding into this level of closeness can be jarring when you have not prepared for it in more intermediate ways like traveling together or increasing sleepovers. Choosing to be locked in means you don’t get to take a break and process and then come together again at a later point. I would urge someone in this situation to try and take things easy. While it’s important to make your needs known, also take this time as an opportunity to observe what your partner is like on a day-to-day basis. Try not to jump to any hard and fast conclusions. If something starts to get on your nerves, speak up. But do it in a way that is calm and brings curiosity to the situation.
Need some extra help or support? Feel free to contact me for online sessions. I would love to meet with you. I wish everyone a safe, healthy and relatively fun quarantine.