Relationships in Quarantine: The coronavirus pandemic is creating special challenges for millions of Americans as they begin to self-quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19. Bay Area leaders took the step of placing a mandatory “shelter in place” order affecting six counties and nearly 7 million people. The order is in place for three weeks after the virus continued to spread through communities, forcing families to spend quality time together. Quarantine can add a different type of stress for those with families who will have children at home from school and will need to find a way to keep up with schoolwork. It’s also a challenging time for those who are married or in a committed relationship, but by working together and by managing your time and space, you can come out of this stronger than ever.
According to Quartz, experts claim that there are two possible sociological outcomes from quarantine: increased birth rates and divorces. New reports claim that as the coronavirus began to slow down in China, a large number of couples across the country filed for divorce after spending weeks at home together during quarantine. The city of Xi’an reported a record-high number of divorce requests since the local marriage registries reopened in March. It’s likely the strain of intense isolation will break marriages already on the brink in the U.S. as well.
A crisis such as coronavirus is out of your control which can trigger disagreements over how to cope with stress. One partner may want to binge-watch news programming, while the other prefers to avoid TV all together. You may find your spouse is more fatalistic and passive about the situation while you prefer a structured and proactive approach to dealing with the situation. These dynamics can create conflict that tend to escalate over time.
Couples can work together to avoid having it come down to a divorce. Although it may be difficult, try to maintain a positive attitude and try to work together as a team. Experts claim that spending time crowded together with the family can be challenging, but there are some things you can do to make the most out of it. With kids out of schools in many states, now can be the time to get creative and create arts and crafts projects to keep their minds active.
Couples can look up recipes online and have fun cooking new things together. They can also set aside some time after the kids are asleep to talk about the current situation and how it makes them feel. This is a great way to open communication without judgement or criticism and hear each other’s fears and worries. To keep an optimistic attitude, you and your partner can sit down and write out a list of personal life goals you wish to accomplish in your lifetime.
As if the space of a home wasn’t limiting enough, some couples have found themselves isolated in a not so large space onboard cruise ships. Since the start of the pandemic, many cruise ships have drifted into the epicenter of the outbreak with hundreds of cases found onboard, and passengers and crew members having been ordered to self-isolate in their cabins to contain the virus. For couples, this can be a test as not only are you confined with your partner for an indefinite amount of time, but you’re also in a reduced space. According to a report by the New Yorker, a young couple was on a cruise ship enjoying their honeymoon when the coronavirus hit, forcing them into quarantine. They reported feeling more connected because they had the opportunity to talk about life events that changed their life overall. A couple in their sixties who tested positive for the virus claimed that the quarantine taught them how to talk to each other again after having fallen into some bad habits in their relationship.
Written by Debra Schoenberg