No matter how much you love someone, spending all day, every day with them can get real old, real fast. The coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to make unideal adjustments to their personal lives, and being cooped up with your partner 24/7 may be one of them. If your partner has been getting on your nerves while quarantining, remember there are so many people out there who are struggling to find common ground with a live-in SO. In fact, Reddit is overrun with people seeking quarantine-related relationship advice. NYC-based relationship expert Susan Winter agrees that even otherwise healthy relationships can become strained if you're spending every waking minute together.
"It's perfectly normal for a couple to get on each other's nerves when they're continually together," Winter tells Elite Daily. "Personal space enables us to mentally regroup and clear away our mate's input and energy. During this quarantine, we're not able to get the amount of psychological space needed to reboot our own wellbeing. From this compromised position, irritation and anger are quick to flair." If you and your partner have been bickering, fighting, or just annoying each other more than usual, this doesn't necessarily mean that anything's wrong with your relationship. The stress and anxiety that comes with COVID-19, in addition to limited freedoms due to social distancing, is a recipe for conflict. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help keep the peace.
Winter explains that the key to making it through this difficult time with as little drama as possible is to, "Use your creativity to carve out 'space' when there is none." Even though you might not have your own space, creating the illusion that you do is a great way to give yourself some time to decompress. If you're both crammed into a very small space, a pair of headphones will be your best friends. "Noise-canceling headphones or earbuds can provide a sense of separation, even if you're both in a studio apartment," says Winter. "If you're fortunate to have a larger home, negotiate who takes what room, and when."
Making sure you both have enough psychological space to do your own thing is also an important element of maintaining a living space free from unnecessary conflict. "Decide upon a schedule for private time versus together time," recommends Winter. "This gives a chaotic situation a sense of structure."
Although it's normal to notice an increase in bickering or arguments during this time, if you're having disagreements non-stop, this could signal issues that are unrelated to being quarantined. "If you find there's no 'getting to peace' with your partner during this quarantine, that's a red flag you need to acknowledge," explains Winter. "Feeling irritated or upset is normal, explosive reactivity or abuse is not."
It's normal to wonder if you should break up with your bae due to quarantine-related conflicts, but according to Winter, unless you're in a relationship with an abusive partner, try to avoid making any big decisions during this chaotic time. "It's never wise to make important decisions in distress," she says. "You and your mate are facing an extraordinary situation that's superimposing extreme stress upon the relationship, therefore, neither of you is in an optimal mindset for decision-making. Confinement is unnatural for all of us and couples aren't meant to have zero private time. We all need a healthy balance of privacy and togetherness."
Even though being with a partner around the clock can get exhausting, now more than ever, it's important to be as compassionate and understanding as possible. That said, everyone has their limits, so if you need some space, don't be afraid to carve out enough personal time to balance shared activities.
Susan Winter, NYC-based relationship expert