Even people in the most stable relationships might be questioning both their happiness and their sanity right now, especially if you’ve recently moved in together. And, if you want to run away from your partner due to stress or frustration, there aren’t many safe places to go. Thus, it’s possible your bathroom has become your sanctuary and that’s okay. While you’re hiding out, here are some tips to lessen your frustration.
- Put yourself in their shoes. It’s easy to get caught up in your own frustrations but it’s also important to consider things from your partner’s perspective. It’s just an exercise to remind you that there are two people in your relationship and your partner has feelings too. Everyone is still adjusting and it may take some time, especially if you only recently moved in together and the world outside is super nuts. If you find that they’re easily forgetting things or not helping out as much as they should, open the conversation with kindness instead of anger. “Hey, I know you’re going through a lot. Just wanted to see if you could throw a load of laundry in tonight” will be received much better than “Why do you keep forgetting to do laundry?”
- Make sure you both get breaks. If you’re parents, this is even more important. It’s good for both of you to take a solo walk around the block, maybe several times a day, if it means clearing your mind. The outside air will help you gain perspective and the time alone will help you process your thoughts. Walking away from a scenario is a pretty ideal situation in comparison to preventing a fight. Just make sure they know your plan to revisit the conversation, so it doesn’t look like you’re storming out on them.
- Try to see the humor in things. It’s hard to laugh when so much chaos is happening in the world right not. However, it’s a reasonable solution when you have little control over what’s going on. Making jokes is more productive than feeling angry. Guess what — nobody is judging you right now. It’s okay if your house is a mess and if you keep forgetting to wash the dishes. This will pass someday and your routine will get back to normal. That, or you’ll figure out a way to adjust and complete everything you want. For now, take it for what it is.
- Create a schedule. If you and your partner are working in the same “home office,” make sure you have a decent plan on how you’re both spending the day. A general schedule will help you both stay more organized. If you have a work call and they want to play guitar, it’s best to tell them first thing in the morning so that you avoid a dilemma when it’s actually scheduled to happen. If you live together without kids, set aside 15 minutes to go outside together or just talk. Lunches together can be a great tradition that’ll help you reconnect mid-day.
- Let them know your expectations. More people in the home means more mess. Be very clear about what you expect from your partner. Set rules like “trash is on you and it needs to be emptied daily.” Let them form the habit until it officially becomes theirs. Even if you’ve been together for a decade, your partner won’t be able to read your mind. Communicate your expectations and make sure they’re taking on some of the responsibility.
- Make date night happen. It’ll look a lot different than it used to but it’s still necessary. Find a movie to watch together, make some popcorn, and order a pizza. Cuddle up, and don’t be afraid to get physically close to your partner if that’s how the two of you usually express love. You may be in the house together 24/7, but carving out special moments like this will help keep the two of you on track.
- Preoccupy yourself with a new interest. If you’re currently unemployed, now’s a great time to spend developing an interest outside of your relationship. By finding something new to focus on, you’re letting your brain take a break from analyzing every move your partner makes. It’s also great to allow yourself the opportunity to grow as an individual throughout all of this. Now’s the time to explore your true passions.
- Remind yourself that we’re all at our worst versions right now. Social isolation can really mess with your mental health. First thing’s first — don’t be ashamed to address your own feelings. Plenty of mental health professionals have digital appointments happening right now, so it’s not too late to connect with someone. It’s more common than you may realize. Secondly, take a minute to remind yourself why you fell for your partner in the first place. They’re still that person, but likely not the best version. Unless they’re being dangerous or verbally abusive, give them a pass.