With the UK currently in lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19, couples all over the country are having to adapt to a whole new set of relationship challenges.
When the lockdown was announced, there was one simple choice: spend 24/7 with each other, or barely spend any time together at all.
Living apart during lockdown
The coronavirus lockdown has meant that many couples are now effectively in long-distance relationships, despite only living a few minutes away from each other.
If you’ve found yourself separated from your other half, here are a few things you can do to make sure your relationship survives:
- Arrange a video call once a day – while it’s not the same as seeing your partner in person, video calling via apps like WhatsApp or FaceTime is a good way to spend time with each other while you’re apart.
- Have a “HouseParty” together with friends – apps like HouseParty are a great way to spend time with your partner and your friends. You can chat, play the inbuilt games or even organise your own pub quiz.
- Virtual date nights – dress up in your best clothes and ‘meet’ your partner for a virtual date on a video call. You could even organise to have the same food and wine, so you can enjoy it all together.
- Film night – choose a film or a TV series to watch or stream and then discuss it together in a video call afterwards.
- Book club – agree upon a book to read and discuss it together at regular intervals.
- Keep a diary – keep a diary of observations and share them regularly with your partner.
Living with your partner during lockdown
For many of us, living with our other half in normal times does not mean that we spend all of our time with them. Normally, we have jobs to go to, kids to pick up from school, nights out with friends… Now, when we’re only allowed to exercise with members of our household and, other than exercising and shopping for essentials, shouldn’t be leaving the house, our partner is probably the only other adult company we have. And, as the government keeps reminding us, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so things are unlikely to change anytime soon.
So how can you make sure that your relationship lives on post Covid-19?
- Make some time for yourself – go and read a book in another room for 30 minutes. Or take a nice long bath. Make a room (or section of a room) that when one of you is in it, the other can’t disturb.
- Communication is key – listen to your other half’s concerns and worries and get them to listen to yours. Speaking about what’s bothering you can help to stop worry building up into snapping and bickering.
- Use technology to have a night in with friends – apps like HouseParty and Zoom make keeping up with friends and family easier than ever before. Organise time to catch up with friends on these apps (both together and separately depending on your social circles), so you can have a chat with someone other than your partner.
- Respect each other’s space – with most of us now working exclusively from home it is important to allow each other the space and confidentiality to enable the virtual office to function.
- Look forward to doing things together – Make time to do things together at fixed times, such as having a coffee or tea break together in the day, leaving the virtual office behind at the end of the day, visiting an art gallery or a museum on line together, sitting down to supper together or going to buy food or medicine together (either for yourself or for vulnerable members of your community) provided it does not breach the Government advice.
- Sharing domestic tasks – most households are not designed for everyone to be present twenty four hours a day and simple things like cleaning and tidying can build up quite quickly. Agree on how to share the domestic burden and take pleasure in sharing it with your partner.
Neil Graham, a Partner at Grayfords comments as follows: “Mindfulness in relationships is an important part of affirming our commitment and respect for each other on a daily basis. Acknowledging the need for each other’s personal and emotional space at times in the day alongside our shared need for togetherness is an important part of mindfulness. Observing each of these needs in lockdown is a significant challenge, whether we are physically together or apart, but it is also an opportunity to learn more about how our relationships can flourish and be enriched and what we can do on a daily basis to support that process both now and when normal life has been restored.”
If you have recently moved in with your partner, you may not have had time to consider a Cohabitation Agreement. Get in touch to speak to one of our family law solicitors about whether a Cohabitation Agreement may be right for you.