Being stuck inside is no fun, even if you never went outside to begin with, like me. The ill-effects of isolation are making us feel lonely, bored and unmotivated. Luckily for me, I have a wonderful significant other to help me from going crazy. If you were in a relationship before being isolated and are now forced to communicate solely through your phones, here are some tips on how to stay in touch without being physically close.
The most obvious option is FaceTime. You probably do it anyway with your s/o, but now, the rules are a little different. Make sure you’re actually paying attention to each other during the call. I’m guilty of putting my phone down while my girlfriend watches me play the new Animal Crossing, but during the shut-in, I’ve realized just how unfair that really is. Half of FaceTime is looking at the person you’re talking to, so it’s frustrating if they aren’t looking back. If you’re looking at each other, it’s a lot easier to really talk. Make sure to really put effort into the conversation as well. There’s no point in devoting all of your attention to each other on the phone if you are only asking yes or no questions and replying with one-word answers or grunts. If one partner has an Android, the app Google Duo is downloadable for iPhones and works great.
Communication is key to maintaining a relationship, especially right now. I know you or your s/o probably didn’t do anything today. If anything, they woke up and got on Twitter for the last hour before calling you. It’s still important to ask how they’re doing, though. Regardless of if they did anything or not, it’s great to ask to know how they’re feeling. The isolation is a lot more than some people are used to, so it’s important for you to be as open to their feelings as possible. If you get asked, try your best to answer in an engaging way, and then, ask the same way.
If you’re good, try answering “I’m doing great! How about you?” It sounds a lot better than “good.”
If bad, try and think about what’s been making you feel that way and openly communicate that to your partner. Even if they don’t have a solution, it’s healthy to discuss your problems with your partner. If your s/o is discussing their problems, even if you don’t have advice, make sure to listen. It’s so easy to do, and it really shows you care. Don’t interrupt to give poor solutions, but just be there for your partner during their trying times.
Some people may need this time to try to work on themselves. If your partner wants space for a healthy reason, it’s probably a good idea to let them. Smothering your partner while they don’t want to communicate is not healthy, and it’s important to honor your s/o’s wishes.
Besides communicating verbally, try to play games with each other. Even if you aren’t verbally communicating, it’s comforting to play a simple game back and forth. Even if it’s each of you taking 30 minutes to take turns playing checkers. It’s an easy way to remind you that your s/o really isn’t that far and that they are just on the other side of a screen. It’s important to be able to do something simple with each other.
Being stuck in the house isn’t fun for anyone, but make sure you keep up healthy communication with your partner. Your relationship will be a lot stronger once we come out of isolation. I’m looking forward to being able to go out to dinner with my girlfriend again, but for now, I’m enjoying daily FaceTime and iPhone message games.