Being in a relationship is not easy, and a Pandemic doesn’t make it any easier. Not long ago, I saw some news that the divorce rate in China spiked during the quarantine. The story made me realize that living with your partner 24/7 must not be easy for anyone. I’ve been living with my husband for almost 4 years, and we both work remotely, so we spend quite a bit of time together. We are similar in a lot of ways, like we scored the exact same points in the highly-sensitive-person questionnaire. Still, we have many differences. For example, he’s super introverted, and he needs alone time to recharge while sitting still for 5 minutes is challenging for me. He always says that the universe sent me to prepare him to have a kid (which I try to take as a compliment, but my friends don’t think so). Somehow we manage to stay sane and happy while spending this much time together. I’d like to share with you some tips and tricks to help you not break up during the quarantine, even if one person is an introvert.
First, let me tell you a little bit about our relationship. We both work online in marketing fields specialized in the Tech industry. This means we understand each other’s day-to-day work and are able to support one another professionally. But it also means that the line between work and life is always very blurry. There’s no separation and not a lot of personal space. It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, everyone needs some personal space in their life, and that’s something we will definitely need to talk about.
Think about our life like some cheesy old-school rom-com. A story of a grownup mature, smart man accidentally met a loud, goofy techie girl who dances randomly in the supermarket aisle. Every time I do something stupid, he said I’m helping him learn to be patient, and that’s a good thing (again, my friends still don’t think this is a compliment). But our relationship is fantastic, we love spending time with each other, and we realize everyday how lucky we are. Let’s find out how we live together this long with all the differences we have.
Create Personal Space During the Quarantine
Living together 24/7 doesn’t mean being in each other’s face 24/7
Yes, during this time, you both need to stay home together almost 24/7, but it doesn’t mean that you need to be “there” all the time. While we travel, we always try to find a place to stay that has at least one-bedroom, more if we can. This means we can both have our personal space to have much-needed alone time. No matter how much space you have in the house, you both can have a private space that you create. It might be a little shelf where he has his stuff that you don’t mess with. It might be that you don’t interrupt her while she wants to use the bathroom a little longer than usual. Respect that space and be mindful of how important it is.
A few months ago, I started to be really curious about everything he does on his phone. Mainly because I was bored and having a quarter-life crisis. However, it’s also because he usually is super zen and leaves his phone at the house while we go outside. Who is not addicted to their phone these days? Yes, my husband. Anyway, I started peeking at his phone while we sat on the couch without even thinking about it. He was okay with it, of course (did I mention how Zen he is?). But after a while, it just became too much that we needed to talk about it. It doesn’t matter what he was doing, it’s his personal space, and I learned to respect it (most of the time).
Communicate While Living Together
You might think to live together all the time makes it easier to communicate and understand each other, it’s not. You might get caught up in the false sense of comfort and forgot to actually talk. Does it annoy you how he left the empty glass or bottle around the house? Don’t just keep cleaning up after him, tell him. The point is, talk things out nicely. Don’t hold your frustration inside until it bursts out to hurt both of your feelings. If you need some alone time, tell him.
The most challenging thing with all the communication for us is feeling guilty. Whenever my husband tells me he needs some space, he said I’d make a sad puppy face (not intentionally, I promise 😉 ). That makes him feel very guilty, but it doesn’t mean his need to be alone will go away. After we talked about it, I learn to ensure he knows it’s okay to tell me those things. Some conversation might be harder than others, but it’s always worth it 🙂
Be Your True Self Together
It’s normal for a person to have different personalities for different social circles or situations. You might be more serious at work, wilder at nightclubs, or sweeter at home. But during this time, all of you both are together at home. Of course, you have to compromise and adjust, but it doesn’t mean that you need to lose yourself. If you feel like going wilder than usual, do it. If you want to start doing crazy dances at home, do it. Don’t be embarrassed or worried that it might be weird or anything. Everyone is a little weird in their own way. Be extroverted or introverted how you want. The perfect relationship for me is when you find someone to be weird together with. If your partner doesn’t know how strange you are yet, let’s introduce that part to him. (My husband said to be careful with this one, maybe don’t go full blast right away)
Remember how I told you I used to dance in the supermarket aisle? It used to make my husband super awkward. 4 years later, he even started to move his shoulder with me while no one is watching. Things take time, but 2 weirdos make it way more fun <3
After all, I don’t think there’s a perfect recipe for how to have an ideal relationship. Although, I hope these 3 tricks and my personal story could help you and your partner have a better time during this quarantine (and definitely not breakup please!). You might get to meet the different sides of your partner, embrace it. You might not need to “survive” this quarantine. Instead, you might even enjoy it and never want it to end. I’d love to hear your experience during the quarantine time, leave a comment! <3