COVID-19 is now affecting all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and countless countries across the world. In the midst of a pandemic, it can be hard to feel any form of normalcy.
One unexpected strain you may be feeling from the virus and the necessary isolation taken on to slow the spread might be the pressure to keep a relationship lively. Here are some tips that might be able to help.
Sharing a Bed
As the virus spreads, you might begin to wonder if you’re being overly cautious — or not cautious enough. Sharing a space with a partner or significant other can make this judgment even harder. In some cases, you’ll have to weigh potentially putting yourself at risk of being infected with the need to be physically close to your partner. Washing hands frequently and taking precautions when possible is extremely important and should not be neglected.
But is it safe to share a bed with your loved one?
This is not as easy to answer as it might seem. The specifics of your lifestyle, health, and relationship will come into play. First, it’s important to note that, contrary to popular belief, this virus isn’t just dangerous to the elderly and people with preexisting conditions. The CDC reports about 20% of hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 Virus in the U.S. were from people between the ages of 20-44. The virus is primarily spread through contact with people or surfaces that act as “vectors” — meaning that just about anyone can be a carrier.
That said, the lifestyles of you and your partner really matters here. Ultimately, COVID-19 spreads so easily that it’s fairly likely that one partner will infect the other — especially if you’re living together. If you’re already sharing both a bed and a home, it’s entirely possible you’re both already infected. Providing that both partners plan to isolate as much as possible, it’s probably safe to continue sharing a bed.
When it comes to handling the coronavirus as a couple, it’s important to keep a team-like mindset. This means taking actions to reduce the contact both of you are making with others and possible affected surfaces on a daily basis, cleaning common surfaces regularly, and ensuring you are both aware of potential high-risk actions or health concerns you might have
For newer couples, sharing a bed might be the least of your worries. Starting a new relationship during a pandemic can be a rocky road that’s tough to navigate. First dates can be risky in terms of spreading the virus. Moreover, Uber and Lyft are canceling rides and bars and restaurants are closing down. It can be hard just to find a place to make a first date happen. But, with modern technology, perhaps you don’t need a physical place to meet.
The safest options for new dates — and probably the lowest maintenance ones — might just be to stay in and have a digital date online. Dismissing this idea could cause you to miss out on one of the great wonders of the socially conscious distance date: you literally have a world of knowledge and activities at your fingertips.
Feeling a lull in the conversation? Find out who can find the strangest Wikipedia post. Feeling competitive? Log on to a free online poker site and see who has the upper hand. Worst case scenario, you can watch that Netflix show you’re obsessed with and see their facial expression change in real time.
Not feeling the spark? Don’t worry about getting a friend to phone you a lifeline; simply log off and tell them that your Wi-Fi cut out.
Cultivating Alone Time Over Loneliness
While the unpredictable future of the Coronavirus is leaving many people feeling anxious and jittery in the age of social distancing, now might be the best time to find a way to turn that loneliness into coveted alone time. Whether your partner is currently completely self-isolating, you are self-quarantine, or transportation is infeasible, taking this time to reflect on yourself and your own needs might just be the best option with how to spend this time.
Cultivating your alone time can mean anything from finally getting around to that hobby you’ve always wanted to try or focusing on making career moves to just taking a moment to practice self-care. Really take this time to examine what you want. While the present state of things might seem scary or unpredictable, you can at least focus on what you can control.
Working on yourself and your own goals can do wonders for your relationship in the long run. In fact, between 40% and 50% of American couples end up divorcing. Codependency can sometimes play a role in unhappy relationships, but there are many ways to counter those codependent attitudes by shifting the focus to your own needs.
Finally, planning for the future can seem impossible when so much is up in the air. Both short-term and long-term plans seem to be at risk of being affected by the pandemic. This has made many people unsure of how to plan for the future. Housing, for instance, can be a difficult thing for you and your partner to navigate, particularly if you’ve lost out on work due to the virus.
And if you and your spouse were planning for a wedding or vacation, those plans might need to be put on hold. It’s important for both you and your partner to commit to keeping an open mind and being there for each other.
Even if your plans have to change, you’ll need to roll with the punches — which is part of any major relationship.
Some couples may find that weathering the storm (or the virus) will prove too difficult. But if you’re committed to open communication and are able to rely on each other during the trying times, you’ll likely find that it’s smooth sailing again once the virus has abated.