While we recognize that COVID is still ever present and affects the lives of many people, there is no denying that many places have shifted into a more “post-COVID” mindset. Many of us have started to return to our once normal daily activities– coffee shops, malls, family vacations. One of the many things that remain ever changed, though, is how we are interacting with others. Specifically, how we are interacting with our significant others. While divorce rates remained relatively stable during the pandemic, there is no doubt there were added stressors and obstacles related to navigating a life together during a global pandemic. There are a few theories as to why this occurred, specifically including the disillusionment of what it means to be in a relationship during a pandemic. Below, we discuss a few of the theories, and how to reconnect with your partner, now, as society continues to relax on COVID protocols.
Imbalance in division of household labor
During the pandemic, there were a mix of feelings surrounding staying home and working for most people. While some were dreading the idea, others were excited to spend time at home with their loved one(s). One idea, however, was that due to both partners staying home, there would be a more equal distribution of both visible and invisible labor. This, however, was often not the case, as many people still felt as though they had an unfair amount of household labor, and some felt as though it even increased with the pandemic, due to other stressors.
As a way to reconnect now, it’s important to check in with your partner about how they feel about the division of labor. Speak about both the visible (i.e. dishwashing, vacuuming, etc) and invisible (i.e. meal planning, appointment scheduling, childcare routines, etc) tasks that your partner has to make sure you both are able to share the mental and physical load.
Job loss/financial strain
Unfortunately, a reality for many people during the pandemic were layoffs and job loss. For many, this meant a huge obstacle in maintaining their previous lifestyle. Many people were left in a world of unknown when it came to paying bills or taking care of medical emergencies. Not to mention, having children at home due to schools closing, added a large childcare cost
When discussing reconnection, sometimes it doesn’t have to look like romance and date nights. Spend time with your partner going over finances and other important conversations about spending money and investing. Work with your partner to identify the ways in which you both feel comfortable allocating resources. Come up with ways in which you can save for the future and medical emergencies. Work together to create a plan that works for the both of you as you navigate this “post-COVID era” together.
Disconnection with friends and family
Lastly, COVID threw a wrench in how we connected with family and friends as a couple. Some of the toughest challenges of COVID were staying connected with family members during the holidays, or spending quality time with friends. As a couple, you need to have a healthy balance of alone time, couple time, and friends/family time to thrive. Working with your partner to create space for connection with others may be one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and your relationship.
If you are in search of a therapist or are not sure, consider reaching out for a free consultation today!