Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I guess I’m just looking for some general advice and help. My partner and I have been together for a few years and lived together most of that time. We had a really active life pre-COVID. We went to the gym together, and we traveled a lot both in the country and abroad.
Since COVID, we have been basically home together, and it’s been OK and tough at the same time. I’m thankful we have each other but recognize the strain. We’re both eager to get on with our normal routines. I feel like as time goes by, our intimacy is suffering. Life is feeling mundane.
The first few weeks of quarantining, I feel like we did a better job of making it fun. But now that it’s been a while, I’m looking for advice on how to stay locked into this relationship and supportive of it, when our usual social options are off the table. Help?
You’re going to have to work for it! This time isn’t fun or cool or sexy and just know, you aren’t going through this solo. Your recognition that this is difficult is something everyone is going through. We’re all struggling with how to bring some energy and excitement into what can feel like a very mundane cycle of the whole lot of the same.
So, how to do it? This is a strange time indeed and for many of us, life is flipped on its head. We’re figuring out not only how to do our job remotely, but how to do partnering and parenting on-site full-time. It’s both an opportunity and an oddity. Who would have ever imagined we would have such constant access to our families and household members? While that in itself is indeed something to be happy for at face value, we know it’s not that simple. And spending longer times than usual together without access to our typical date-night activities means we have to try a little harder to find ways to enjoy this sudden amped-up togetherness.
Above all, give yourself some grace and space. In terms of keeping things fun with your partner, consider establishing a weekly date night and creating some kind of space for intimacy and connection. Prepare meals together that are reminiscent of past travels, and get dressed up like you would for a night on the town. Go through photos of some of those happy adventures from your past, as research shows our sense of well-being gets a boost when we savor those good times and focus on gratitude.
Oh do I feel your pain. My girlfriend and I can’t go three months without traveling somewhere with steamy tropical climates, sporty tropical adventures and chilly tropical drinks. These trips break up our routines, help us see the world, and give us an appreciation for our awesome Alaska lives. Traveling also provides special shared experiences and makes us focus on partnership, communication and intimacy.
Sadly, we Americans can’t travel to most foreign countries currently because we’re the COVID-19 clowns of the world. And really, who would want to travel Outside anyway — people are sick and anxious, lots of places are closed, and the places that aren’t closed don’t want to deal with out-of-towners.
But just because you can’t pack up and go far, far away doesn’t mean you can’t have some super summer staycations around our amazing state — camping, glamping, cabins, hotels, whatever floats your raft. Support your fellow Alaskans! And while reminiscing with your partner about those unforgettable travels of the past, channel some of that energy into dreaming and planning some future travels. Since you aren’t traveling, I’m guessing you’re saving tons of money. You’ve also got nothing but time. So pull up some maps and travel sites and start researching your first post-COVID-19 trip together. And make it a big one, a dream vacation. That should provide some fun, teamwork and anticipation to shake up the months ahead.
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