Love in a Pandemic: How Couples Can Keep the Fire Burning During Lockdown // May, 2019

Credit: Jenifer Boyce Photography

For the past two months, we have all been adjusting our lives in many ways due to the current pandemic and its resulting restrictions. Something that’s changed for many of us are our relationships. Whether you are now isolated in your home and suddenly spending 24/7 with your partner, or quarantined in separate places – love is one thing that is NOT cancelled, and I have some suggestions of what you can do to keep the fire burning no matter where you are!

Mandated Togetherness

If you're like my fiancé and I, you've been used to spending your weekdays apart and your evenings and weekends together. But now, you're both at home 24/7, without any time apart. Whether one or both of you are still working from home, or neither of you are working at all, it can be a huge shift in the dynamic of your relationship. Don't worry, though – here are some tips for keeping love alive during these strange times:

  •  Just because you're in the same building does not mean you don't have to set aside time for one another. It's easy to think that because you're in the same space, it means you're spending time together: not necessarily! Be sure to plan activities that get you away from your laptops and cell phones, and spend quality time together:
    • Cook! Try a new recipe that has you both getting your hands dirty in the kitchen together
    • Clean together... now this might not sound fun, but if you put on some sick tunes and turn it into a cleaning/dance party, you might be able to jive your way to a cleaner kitchen!

  • Pull out some two-person games: cards, Scattergories, Scrabble, Jenga, etc. If you don't have any, order some online!
  • Watch something together you haven't had time to watch: a movie neither of you has seen, a movie one of you loves but the other has never seen, a new Netflix show, etc.
  • Go for a drive or a walk together (be sure to keep to the guidelines).
  • Schedule a cuddle session! If I'm still in bed when my fiancé has a break from work, he jumps back in bed just for some cuddles and it's my favourite part of the day.

  • Don't forget to spend some quality time apart. It is healthy to have some time to yourself on a regular basis. It used to happen organically when one of you was at work, or out with friends, but now you might have to set aside time for yourself, too. Read a good book, go for walks on your own or with your dog! Take a bath or do an at-home workout. Now, more than ever, we need to keep checking in on our mental health and spend some time taking care of ourselves. Don't ever be afraid to ask for help. There are special support systems in place during this pandemic to help those who aren’t coping well with the required restrictions or those suffering rom domestic abuse, addictions, and other mental health issues:

Stuck Apart

I really empathize with those of you quarantined apart from your partner. I know couples who are in different homes in the same city who can at least meet up for walks (keeping 6 feet apart), but I really feel for those couples who are stuck in different cities, different provinces, or even different countries with no way to get to each other. BUT – there are still things you can do together virtually until you're able to see each other face-to-face:

  • Zoom, FaceTime, Skype – there are so many ways to video-chat. Have a daily call to tell each other about your days, play some games online together, and get together with friends on video-chat, too!
  • Plan a virtual dinner date: each order the same meal or cook the same recipe and set up a romantic dinner table to share over video-chat.
  • Watch a movie together! Do you both have access to the same streaming platform? Pick a movie and both hit play at the same time – it'll almost be like you're at the cinema!
  • Write each other if you're able to. Letters are such a lost art – but beautiful things can come out when you put a pen to paper. Plus, you'll have the letters to keep and cherish once the pandemic is over.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful for you and your relationship during quarantine. The same thing won't work for everyone – be sure to do whatever it is that makes you and your partner happy! And stay safe.