Corona Buddies: Shelter in Place Means “In Your Face!”
By Corinne Farago
9 tips on how to stay out of the roommate zone while in captivity
When we don’t have a work place outside of our home to create physical distance from our beloved partners, we need to rethink how to maintain the necessary ebb and flow of coming and going from each other’s company.
I’m thinking of all the couples I’ve seen over the years and wondering how they’re doing in the midst of this health crisis.
I’m wondering how their relationship is doing with the requirements to shelter at home together.
Suddenly our routines have been turned upside down.
We’re not saying goodbye to our partners in the morning. We’re together now all day, all night, every day.
It’s a challenging situation for the best of relationships.
So let’s look at some simple requirements to keep desire alive and our hearts connected while you’re spending so much time in each other’s faces.
Leaving In Order To Return Again
The greatest tool we have available to us is distance. We need to flow in and out of each other’s company regularly. We need to step back from the comfort of our partner and feel our autonomy.
When we give ourselves the time to find our personal intimacy we can counterbalance the shared intimacy we have with our partner.
If we’re overly dependent on our partner to meet all our relationship needs, our sex life is going to suffer.
We simply can’t be everything to our partner, but that’s what we expect. We want them to be our best friend, our confidant, our co-parents, and our partner in life and finances. On top of all that we then expect to be able to turn on the desire like a light switch whenever we want it.
Even in the best of times, when we’re not sheltering at home, we can learn how to feed our desire by giving desire what it needs, distance, autonomy, some novelty, and a bit of mystery.
Supporting each other in taking space gives us a strong emotional foundation to explore and experiment with ways to disconnect in order to stay connected.
Take walks together but also apart.
Sometimes just an hour apart can be enough to step in the door happy and grateful to see your partner’s face smiling back at you.
Find Your Cave
If you have the of luxury of space, carve out your personal spaces for work, reading, meditating, creative projects, yoga, visiting with friends online or by phone.
Dedicate that space to your alone time and use it to refresh and recharge as you come and go from each other.
We all need a cave to regroup, to reconnect with ourselves and our own thoughts.
It’s ok to lovingly say, I need some space, but I won’t be gone long and I’ll be back.
When we take care of ourselves, we can better take care of those we love.
Dressed up and nowhere to go!
Under normal circumstances many of us get up in the morning and get dressed with the anticipation of being seen, not just by our partner but also those outside of our home. We make some effort to look our best.
We get haircuts, manicures, women wear makeup, men shave (and vice versa). We dress for our lovers, friends and co-workers. We dress for a Happy Hour event, or dinner out. And our partners get the benefits of how we prepare ourselves to be seen. When we dress to look good for ourselves and others, we may look forward to our partner saying something like, “you look great, sweetie!”
Suddenly we’re stuck at home together wrapped up in the same comfy flannels we’ve been wearing for the past 3 days.
Our track pants now look like sacks of potatoes and we forgot to comb our hair today.
Your partner may not be saying anything to you about it, but I guarantee you, you’re lack of effort in how you look will slowly eat away at how they see you, and the idea of being seduced by someone in an oversized old sweatshirt and worn out slippers is not exciting. Trust me.
So dress with your lover in mind.
Show up for your partner during this time of close encounters. Wear clothes that make you feel attractive. Shower, shave, smell good.
Switch up what you wear. You can be very comfortable while also looking attractive. Your partner will appreciate that you care enough to make the effort.
Get dressed for your own private Happy Hour at home.
It’s thoughtful, playful and civilized. ☺
Lean On Me
My partner and I tuned into a live Facebook yoga class yesterday taught by a friend and teacher. He offered it for free from his living room, and it was a welcome release for my lower back in a way that walking doesn’t quite touch.
45 minutes of yoga also helped us both stop, tune in to our bodies and each other.
Partner yoga can be a great way to engage physically together.
Use each other’s bodies to lean on and stretch with. Google partner yoga classes online and get cozy with each other’s bodies. Find reasons to stay in touch. (literally)
The Sound of Silence
Our minds are not our friends when they’re constantly filled with fear, concern and stress. Our minds can become literally addicted to the stress levels as we’re fed fearful information on a 24/7 basis.
Supporting each other to turn the news off and meditate can be the greatest help we can offer our worried partners.
Enjoy the pleasure of silence, sitting in nature, watching clouds appear and disappear, the sunlight dancing on the water, the wind in the trees, the moon in the night sky, or the sheer pleasure of silence in our busy minds.
Help each other tune out.
It’s necessary to our mental and physical health as we face the months to come.
If meditating isn’t your thing, put on some of your favorite music.
Dance your hearts out together and let the music soothe your souls.
Thank you For Everything
Ending your day with a gratitude practice before you drift off to sleep together gives you a chance to connect and turn your attention to all the things you’re grateful for from your day and each other. I
t takes just a few minutes to be thankful for what you have and it will leave your hearts feeling a little bit lighter.
Gratitude calms us and lowers our cortisol levels. Become a master of your mind and what you put your attention on.
If one of you goes to bed before the other, lie down together anyway and do this brief exercise. You’re opening your hearts and preparing for a night with gratitude front and center in your thoughts.
Plan For Sex
If you’re together all the time with no room for the distance of desire, both of you may get lazy when it comes to initiating sensual/sexual time.
If you’re not in the habit of planning sex, you may find that this is exactly what you need to move past the inertia that can come with too much time together.
Put sex on the calendar.
Most couples can identify which one has a higher interest in sex and which has the lower interest. And since most all couples live with some desire discrepancy, planning sex is a way to take the guess work out of it.
By setting aside an hour or two on an agreed upon afternoon or evening it relieves the partner with more sexual desire of the fear of rejection,
not knowing if and when the time is right.
The partner with the lesser desire can know ahead of time and do whatever works for them to located their own desire in their own time.
Putting sex on your calendar sets the stage for some period of anticipation and flirting.
Take turns making suggestions of what you might do together. Be creative. Introduce some novelty and new ways of giving each other pleasure. Keep it light and playful, and step out of your routines around sex.
By the way, Wilkes University studies tell us that
people who have sex regularly have higher levels of what defends our body against germs and viruses.
That’s right, sex boosts your immune system.
The average couple spends 30 minutes or less per week actually talking together about matters other than practicalities.
That’s a fact!
It may help with maintaining an operating home and family but it doesn’t meet our need to feel connected on a deeper level.
When was the last time you sat down face to face and talked about your feelings? Not the latest news bites. Not complaining about something, Not blaming each other.
Just real and vulnerable shared confessions about how you’re feeling, what’s important to you, your hopes and dreams, your fears, longings, reflections on your life together.
Pull out some old photos and remember moments together and memories that make you smile.
Give each other permission to share openly and listen deeply.
Ask questions that can help each other open up.
Think beyond this current crisis and support and honor each other’s shared vision and plans for the future.
Cherish Each Other
If there’s one thing we can take away from this pandemic,
it’s a new appreciation for all we have and the people we love.
Speak your words of appreciation often.
Say I love you and mean it.
Thank your partner when they do something for you.
If you want more affection, be more affectionate.
Take their hand while you’re walking together.
Invite them to snuggle up to you when you’re watching TV.
Tell them your life is better with them next to your side.
Let your words of love flow and make it your new normal.
It’s in these moments that we find the intimacy and comfort we’re all craving.
Dance together, laugh often and play like your immune system depends on it.
I’m offering a FREE 15 minute Coaching Call to anyone who wants to talk about maintaining loving relationships in these challenging times.