Before I start this post, Ty, if you’re reading, I love you. Promise.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean being quarantined with your partner and/or roommates is destined to be easy, smooth and bump-free. In fact, as we’re coming to learn these past few weeks, I think it can really throw a lot of what you know about the other person for a loop and vice versa. Compound that fact by small/er living quarters (like, ahem, a West Village apartment) and lack of a car to just go “drive around by yourself” then you’re bound to hit a figurative wall with all this QQT (quality quarantine time).
While we’re still very much navigating this whole transition, I just wanted to share a few high level takeaways that Ty and I have come across personally. By no means do I consider myself a relationship expert, especially given the stresses of our current climate, but my main intention is to share that not every relationship you see on Instagram is picture perfect — especially at times like this. It all requires work and a lot of communication. And yes, the occasional locked bathroom door pout session helps, too.
1. Don’t expect every day to feel like Saturday: This one may seem like a no brainer, but it’s easy to forget, especially given that much of your quality time prior to this may have been spent on the weekend together where responsibilities are very different compared to a Monday. As tempting as it sounds, sleeping in and making a late brunch can’t be an option every day so try not to put pressure on yourselves to feel like you have amazing plans lined up. You’ll only disappoint yourself and fall behind on work duties.
2. Respect responsibilities and division of chores: Chances are, you’re all cooking, cleaning and taking the garbage out WAY more than usual these days, am I right? Ty and I certainly are! And while we’ve lived together for the past almost 2 years with a pretty balanced chore division as is, it’s easy to fall off course here, given the sheer influx these days.
Most dinners we typically make together, unless one of us needs to finish something for work, in which case, the other person will make it, knowing that the following night it’ll be switched. Trash/recycling takeout is our downfall unfortunately, since it accumulates so quickly in a small kitchen. Generally speaking, whenever either one of us heads out for our daily fresh air walk, we’ll grab as much garbage as we can to take out. It’s not a perfect division, but we’re usually pretty fair and balanced at recognizing when we personally haven’t been doing it enough.
3. Consult each other about the day’s activities and be mindful of work time: Like many of you, this is our first time “working from home” together. Of course, I’m quite used to working from home by myself, so sharing my “work environment” has been an adjustment to say the least. We’ve set up a morning routine now where we fill each other in on video conference meetings/phone calls we each have for the day, so we don’t interfere or interrupt at that time. Also, it’s easy to want to fill the other person in on all the details of a meeting or vent about something a coworker said, but try to minimize it if you can. It’ll only derail both of your days. If your apartment allows, set up your own distinct work spaces (separate rooms helps!), and enjoy lunch together!
4. Respect each other’s alone time: So important! Ty and I are both pretty introverted people, so at our core, we’re usually most comfortable in smaller, more intimate environments, but even still, having some dedicated alone time where we can each gather our own thoughts separately makes a big difference for our mental health. Similarly, it’s also really important to encourage each other to set up FaceTime/virtual hangout sessions with friends/family members.
5. Communicate and process together: And the end of our days, Ty and I “debrief” how we’re feeling, usually discussing certain news stories we read and any fears/concerns/thoughts we’ve been dealing with throughout the day.
6. Keep surprises alive! Little gestures and gifts go a LONG way. Like flowers. Like making cookies. Like putting on a special song and dancing, just because.
7. Get creative with date night: Don’t be fooled, this also applies to friends/roommates you may be quarantined with. Just because we’re stuck indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t make special plans at home. After all, we could all use a laugh and a smile right about now. Plan a game night, movie marathon, rooftop picnic or virtual happy hour with some of your other friends. Maybe even try dressing up!
8. Stick to an ending time each day: When you work from home, it’s always a bit hard to know when to truly disconnect but now more so than ever, it’s important to acknowledge when you’ve finished for the day and adhere to it. Put phones away, stop reading the news and stop checking social feeds.
9. Be honest and openminded: It’s worthwhile to note, while your significant other and/or roommate may be annoying you right now, you should also be aware that you might be the one driving them crazy, too. Try to communicate about issues as they arise — and well before you fester about them.
Of course, none of the above is meant to trivialize what we’re globally facing right now with COVID-19 — if a lot of time at home with your significant other and/or roommate is the price we pay for flattening the curve and slowing the spread, then the small/silly annoyances we encounter will be well worth it in the end.
And lastly, I want to note how much I empathize with anyone experiencing all of this alone right now. Having lived alone for many years myself, I can understand how isolating it can feel even in the best of times, so now, amidst the worst of times, it’s not lost on me how much this might be impacting you. Please remember though, you are NEVER ALONE. Friends, families, heck, even ME — we’re all a phone call, video chat or DM away. Identify your virtual support system and keep them close at this time.
Do any of you have any tips (whether you live with roommates or not) that you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments below.
OUTFIT DETAILS: Lafayette 148 blazer (gifted last year, but similar style here) // Old Navy pants (gifted last year, but similar style here) // Sezane cardigan (gifted last year, but similar style here) // & Other Stories lace top (from a few years ago but similar style here) // Vintage Chanel bag
Photos by Carter Fish, earlier last year under much different circumstances