If you feel like living through this pandemic has put stress on your relationship, you are absolutely right.
I’ve been hearing from a lot of lesbian couples struggling while sheltering in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. These couples are reaching out for help, and telling me that the problems they were dealing with pre-COVID, are getting magnified by being quarantined together.
It’s ironic, isn’t it?
Most of us dream of spending more time with our partner. More time for conversations, fun, cuddles, hikes, laughter, sex, dates, and simply enjoying one another’s company.
But now we’re thinking…I need a break from you! I just want to be alone, do my own thing, see my co-workers, go to the gym, visit my parent, and have the house to myself for a day.
This brings up such contradictory feelings. Perhaps especially for lesbian couples who tend to want to do most things together under normal circumstances.
Suddenly you’re faced with more togetherness than you’ve had since your first month dating. And you feel a weird combo of emotions: crowded, irritable, longing, shut-down, and lonely.
You are not alone!
Quarantine has wreaked havoc on many lesbian (and straight) relationships.
If you feel like your relationship is teetering on the cliff’s edge and about to get smashed to smithereens, listen up.
You can use these 5 keys to stop your marriage from falling apart during quarantine:
Seek Out The Positive
Unfortunately our brains have a negativity bias. That means we’re wired to scan for, find, focus on, listen for, and remember negative things much more than positive ones.
So, if you’re not careful, you can easily get stuck in a negativity rut. When that happens you’ll feel like everything sucks and nothing is right.
That can be catastrophic for your relationship.
Imagine how quickly problems are amplified if you and your partner are swimming in the waters of bleak negativity.
Before you know it, her little annoying habits (that you usually overlook) start to become huge irritants. And if you accidentally roll your eyes at her, she flips out and feels threatened in a big way.
In order to turn the tide of negativity, I want to encourage you to seek out the positive.
And by that, I mean…be purposeful and intentional about finding and focusing on positive thoughts, comments, moments, gestures, interactions, and news.
Here are a few ways you can seek out the positive:
- Start your day by saying “Today is going to be a great day!”
- Share 3 ways you’re going to make today a great day
- Catch your partner doing something right and thank her for it
- Go for a walk and find something that’s beautiful, linger, and enjoy
- Listen to some of your favorite songs
- Find a funny meme or comedy clip to watch
- Hug your babe at least 3 times during the day
- End your day by telling your partner your 3 favorite things that happened today
Create Me Time
Whether you live in a huge sprawling house or a tiny apartment, getting some alone time is super important. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic where you’re having to shelter in place.
Healthy lesbian relationships depend on a balance between closeness and separateness.
Coronavirus quarantine has made it super hard to keep that balance for all couples: lesbian, queer, gay, and straight.
Over the years of counseling and coaching lesbian couples, I’ve noticed a trend. We tend to merge right into the closeness side of the equation and struggle with the separateness that brings balance.
In other words, many lesbians have a hard time asking their wife for time alone or away from her.
If your relationship is going to survive quarantine, it is imperative that you create some Me time immediately!
It isn’t selfish.
In fact it’s a gift to your relationship. I’m telling you, if you don’t get some time away from each other, bad things will happen.
If I had a magic wand, I’d wave it and make sure that you create some Me time for yourself. And for the health of your relationship.
In case you’re mind goes blank when you try to think of spending time away from your partner, here are a few ideas I have:
- Go for a walk in your neighborhood alone
- Take a long bath and play your favorite tunes
- Read a book while wearing noise cancelling earphones
- Give yourself a pedicure on the back deck
- Have a Zoom call between you and a friend or family member (wear your iPods)
- Take a drive and listen to your favorite podcast or audible
- Go fishing, biking, hiking or roller-blading—just you and nature!
- Do a 20 minute guided meditation
Craft Us Time
Are you surprised by how too much togetherness is like throwing a big tub of cold water on a hot, lovely fire?
Turns out that having too much time together can take the spark, warmth, and sizzle right out of your relationship.
It might seem contradictory to say craft Us time since you’re feeling like you’re already on top of each other 24/7. To be clear, I want you to put the emphasis on craft.
Get intentional and creative about spending some quality time together. Every day.
Having an intentional plan to really pay attention to your partner (and her to you) is different than being in the same house all day because of quarantine and stay at home orders.
I’m talking…quality time! Now we’re-together-but-lonely time.
Get creative and make a daily plan to focus on each other for at least 30 minutes a day in a way that brings you positive feelings. Here are some ideas for Us time:
- Look at old photos together
- Play a game
- Talk so you both feel heard
- Cook together
- Initiate sensual touch or sex
- Play The Fun Question Game For Lesbian Date Night
- Take a bath together
- Share some wine & cheese on the porch
Rediscover Real Talk
COVID conflict is becoming a big problem for many couples.
Have you noticed that in your relationship? Are you running into conflict, constant misunderstandings, endless bickering, and more fights than ever?
In part it’s because of the pressure that comes from spending so much time together because of quarantine and your stay at home efforts to flatten the pandemic curve. (Which, by the way, high five for that!)
The uncertainty of the future, financial worries, having your kids around all day, and the gnarly fear of this virus (and death) has also impacted the quality of communication for most couples.
In order to keep your marriage from falling off the cliff, it’s absolutely necessary for you and your wife to rediscover Real talk.
Real talk is a conversation about how you’re each really feeling.
Are you afraid, bored, lonely, angry, irritated? How has this pandemic changed you? What are the silver linings? What have you learned about yourself, your partner, our culture? What do you miss? What are you enjoying? What’s driving you bananas?
Invite your partner to share her feelings with you. To have a Real talk.
Then lean into your best listening skills and curiosity. Don’t get defensive or turn the focus to yourself. Instead ask lots of questions.
This kind of Real talk will help you feel deeply connected. And you’ll get to know your partner better. If you do a great job asking thoughtful questions, she may even get to know herself better.
Take turns talking and listening.
Call A Lesbian Couples Coach
You may find that your relationship is so utterly distressed that you need help saving your marriage.
In fact it’s great to recognize the reality of being on the brink. If that’s where you are.
The good news is that here at The Lesbian Couples Institute we have expert lesbian couples therapists and coaches ready to help your relationship survive. We are offering pandemic help for lesbian couples.
You don’t have to suffer through this alone. Give us a call at (303) 222-7134 if this coronavirus pandemic has you at your wits end. Or get in touch with us through email if you prefer.