LOCKDOWN: Couples Edition
Did you know that for every baby that is conceived during the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown, a couple will break up? No, you didn’t because I just made it up - but that’s not important. What’s important is how you, as a couple, handle the next few weeks and/or months. Because eventually the fruit of your loins will run as dry as a Californian vineyard in a drought and all you’ll have left is the sultana that is your significant other. Note, I said sultana, not raisins, because raisins have more to offer. Times are uncertain and your relationship is no safer than your immune system. So help me to help you emotionally sanitise yourself so you come out of this madness still madly in love.
1. Give each other space
If you go in to this lockdown expecting to enjoy your partner’s company as much as you did when you first met, stop. Just stop. A pandemic is not the time for naivety. By the time all of this is over, you should hate your partner - a healthy amount of course. One that juxtaposes nicely with your love; but you should hate them, nonetheless. You see, you’re going to be spending A LOT of time together. More than you have spent together in weeks, month, maybe even years. And whatever endogenous drug you were on when you fell in love is no longer in your system. You are sober and you partner is a hell of a lot less interesting because of it (but aren’t we all). Again, that’s good. In fact, it’s great because it is REAL. People are annoying AF - especially the one you love - and without work or hobbies or any reason to leave the house, you are about to realise just how much. Time alone will therefore be crucial for your sanity, let alone your relationship, and that isn’t something to feel guilty about. A couple isn’t stronger or better for wanting to be together 24/7. So if your other half wants a couple of hours alone each day, don’t be insulted. It has nothing to dowith you. Well, it does - but you’re probably annoying each other equally which is quite romantic if you think about it.
2. Embrace the silence
Conversations with your partner are like dinner time. That is, the quality of the conversation is determined by the contents of the fridge. Foregone are the days of romantic dinners and impromptu takeaway. You won each other over, you both got comfortable, and now your thighs are thicker than your current and savings accounts combined. Luckily, home made conversations have more substance. The thing is, no one has been to the store for a while, so neither of you are bringing much to the table. You both go to bed hungry, but it’s not the rumble of an empty stomach that should concern you. It’s whether you keep your appetite. Conversation is fueled by separation. We tend to discuss the things we experienced and/or learnt when our partner wasn’t with us; our work, our hobbies, our social life. Indeed, by spending the day apart, we have a lot of things to bring us back together. But the lockdown means couples will be producing the same content. You and your partner won’t have anything new or exciting to tell one another because you’ll be together most of the time. The key thing to remember is that silence is okay. Running out of things to talk about doesn’t mean you have nothing to say, it simply means life is, well, sh*t at the moment. You can discuss the news, learn something new together, or watch a show; but whatever you do, keep your appetite for one another. The fridge will be full again before you know it.
3. Have fun
It seems like just yesterday the term ‘home workout’ was a code word for sex; and now look at us; curling tins of Heinz Baked Beans, bench pressing sofas, and using our dogs as barbells. Oh, how Rona has revealed us for the truly basic bitches we are. As basic a bitch as they may come. But let us not mourn our lust for loins, nor question how it passed; instead, let us birth it from the ashes of 2020; a fallen year. In other words, stop being boring. Self isolating doesn’t, and shouldn’t, mean not having fun. If anything, it should mean the exact opposite. Treat the lockdown as a reason to think outside the box and to find amusement in the most weird, wonderful and ordinary things - just like a kid. In other words, play with each other. Whether that means going for an adventure (a state sanctioned form of exercise, of course), cooking and/or baking something new, playing board games, exercising, or even learning a new skill. Hell, haul your couch potato asses to the bedroom and make some smooth, smooth mash if you want. Invest your physical energy into each other and the pay off will be priceless.
4. Remember why you fell in love
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love after you move in together is not. A human being in their natural habitat - that is, their home - is disgusting. Literal. Filth. And not even the good, sexy kind. The wet towels on the bed, nails on the bedside table, dirty dishes stacking up type. You can’t make a porno out of that. So if you still live together, chances are you do actually love each other (congrats!). The question is; do you remember how much? Time is one of the greatest gifts we have to offer and yet; the longer we are with someone, the less we seem to give them. We get so lost in day to day life that we begin to confuse living together with spending time together; and, in turn, we begin to take our partner for granted. But we have time now - so use it. Take this opportunity, devastating though it is, to remember why you fell in love with your partner. Relearn the creases of their smile, the depths of their eyes, and the way they hold themselves. Relearn the intricacies of their mind, details of their imagination, and scars of their pain. It may feel as ifthere is nothing we can do right now, but we can do something quite wonderful. We can make up for lost time.