Disagreements in a relationship aren't just inevitable. They're also a positive sign that you and your SO are able to confront your differences rather than brushing them under the rug. When you’re living and working under the same roof 24/7, with the added stress of a serious pandemic, those fights are even more understandable. If you're arguing with your partner in quarantine, rest assured that's a totally normal sign of growing pains in the face of new and uncertain circumstances. Those growing pains may not be pleasant, but they can pay off big time — because ultimately, working through them as a team might make your relationship stronger.
Quarantine is the ultimate test for couples. Given that you’re both housebound, it can be more difficult to set boundaries between work and play, as well as bonding time and much-needed alone time. It’s easy to get frustrated when your SO is distracting you from your Zoom meeting (did they always chew that loudly?) or forgets to grab chickpea pasta at the store (literally the most important item you requested, NBD). Now add in the anxiety-inducing fact that there’s no definite end in sight to all this, and you’ve got a perfect storm of arguments.
Here’s some good news, though: amidst all of the conflicting schedules, needs, and feelings, is an opportunity to understand each other better. That's my hopeful takeaway from speaking to 16 people who are currently quarantined with their partners.
Flattening The Fighting Curve
We were arguing a lot more in the beginning, but after 30+ days into this quarantine, it’s been going back to normal.
— Carla, 33
More than usual, for sure. Anxiety is high on my end and he has yet to figure out how to “handle it” along with our newborn daughter.
— Leila, 23
The Extrovert's Struggle
We are definitely arguing more. I’m going stir-crazy as an extrovert stuck inside working from home, while my boyfriend still gets to go to work and comes home and does what he loves (playing video games).
It’s frustrating to me and we’ve been fighting more mostly because of me (I’ll be honest), but oddly enough I also think we’ve also gotten closer at the same time. We are certainly not used to spending this much time together even though we live together.
— Mollie, 26
Less arguing, but the stuff we’re arguing about is stupid — like who gets to use the good piano and figuring out a practice schedule.
— Jamie, 25
Making An Effort
[At] the beginning of quarantine, I thought we would kill each other. I thought we were doomed. And we didn't want to be doomed! So we made dedicated time to reconnect and since then, we have been closer than ever before (and we have been together for an eternity). I am so happy we are quarantining together and I can't imagine being stuck with anyone else!
— Julianne, 25
More Free Time = Less Fighting
My husband and I have actually been getting along better during this time! And I truly believe it’s because we no longer have the stressors of time and work, or having to meet family at certain times, or anything silly like that. We just have time to live and focus on our home and pups.
— Angel, 26
A Stressful Transition
We have been fighting way more than usual, but that could be because we have now moved from our Philadelphia apartment to my parents’ house out in the country. I think our living situation on top of the pandemic is stressing us out, and we are taking it out on each other.
— Abby, 21
Embracing The Lifestyle
No different! But I thoroughly enjoy quarantining. Maybe if I hated it and was on edge, I would snap.
— Nikki, 24
Adjusting To Roomie Status
My boyfriend and I moved in together in February and are quarantining together now. Definitely have had more fights in last month because usually I'm at work all day and he works from home, but now we are both home all the time and together 24/7.
Not a crazy amount, but like once a week we get into an argument about something dumb, usually when one of us (OK fine, me) needs alone time and hasn't gotten it yet.
— Isabel, 24
I’ve found that we’re getting along even better than usual! My boyfriend and I are both quarantined with my mom and brother (LOL), and I think this time has made us really grateful for the little things. We don’t argue much anyway, but now we’re appreciating each other more because we know many people aren’t lucky enough to be quarantined with loved ones.
— Sarah, 25
Stronger Than Ever
[I'm] quarantining with my fiancé in NYC. We’ve had a few spats about stupid things, like cleaning or whose turn it is to take care of the dog, and we’ve both (aka me) been grumpier than normal, but if anything our relationship feels even stronger than it did before! [This] just reinforced that this man is exactly who I thought he is and I really do want a life with him no matter what it consists of.
— Kate Elizabeth, 25
My partner and I haven’t had a single argument, which is surprising to us both.
We don’t really argue but both of us are a bit stubborn and will dig in if we think the other is being unreasonable. We have really busy schedules so we tend to get into moments of tension that then can’t be resolved as one of us is literally walking out the door. Now that we’re home together literally 24/7, there’s not that added pressure, so I think we’re both more inclined to extend a smidge more patience or just let things go entirely. I think our biggest disagreement was about taking shoes off at the front door vs. just inside it.
— Justina, 22
A Profound Realization
My boyfriend and I broke up during quarantine the day after my birthday because I’ve been feeling that he’s not “the one” for a few months... but I know for sure now. I was falling out of love, so every single thing was irritating, like where he left his toothbrush on the bathroom counter or how he loaded the dishwasher.
— Josie, 23
Quality Time, FTW
We actually haven’t fought at all since all of this started. One time we got on each other’s nerves, but it passed in about 10 minutes and nothing negative came of it. After working opposite schedules for most of the year, spending time together has been a nice perk of an otherwise bad situation.
— Savannah, 24
Synced Up At Last
So much less! I think most of our past arguments were based on time. We have opposite work schedules, opposite sleep schedules, etc. I’m not a morning person, but my partner gets up at 4:30 a.m. to hit the gym and goes to sleep much earlier than me.
We didn’t live together before, so when we’re apart, that means there’s not much time for calls and texts between the time I get out of work and the time he’s going to sleep. But both of us working from home has helped us find time to share meals, work out together, and catch up on some of our favorite shows together.
— Kristin, 22
Tolerance Like Whoa
I’m quarantining with my boyfriend of six years, which is interesting because we were long-distance for four of them, so this is a bit of an overcorrection.
We haven't been arguing as much as I thought we would — barely at all, actually. But to be fair, this is likely because my boyfriend never takes the bait. He's been handling my stress-induced passive-aggressive comments like the most emotionally sound person ever, which is great. I'm trying to be a bit better about it, but at least he's patient!
— Elyse, 24
While some couples are arguing more than before, others are getting along better than ever. There is no way to define what's normal because every relationship and situation is unique. One thing's for sure, though, regardless of your specific circumstances: If you can get through quarantine together, you can probably survive just about anything.