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How to prepare your relationship for a post-pandemic life

Do you remember how strange it was to be alone with your loved ones at home 24 hours a day, 365 days a year after the coronavirus first surfaced? Or a new one wearing a mask while feeling like a vacuum. How uncomfortable it was to know a romantic partner?

More than a year after the pandemic, many couples have finally found their foothold. But don’t be too comfortable. Everything changes. again.

Vaccinations are becoming more and more available, restrictions are lifted or revisited, and people are becoming accustomed to the idea of ​​getting out of their co co co. Many couples will face further adjustments.

“Most of the couples I see are looking forward to the post-pandemic period,” said Kimberly Panganivan, a San Diego-based marriage and family therapist. “Some of these couples I believe can survive this time of year, because they are openly talking about it and the changes that may occur. Others don’t know how it affects them, because the focus is on excitement for other things. “

How can you prepare your partnership for the post-pandemic period?

“Conversations and negotiations to navigate the post-pandemic world are important for couples and should be done as soon as possible,” said Jess Carbino, an online dating expert with a PhD in sociology. She is also a former sociologist for the dating apps Tinder and Bumble.

“If we can’t discuss and prepare for the challenges that couples may face, the conflict can intensify,” said Dr. Carbino. [Sign up for Love Letter and always get the latest in Modern Love, weddings, and relationships in the news by email.]

Experts suggest prioritizing communication during this time of transition. “As our lives change again, let’s make time and space for continuous discussions about each other’s feelings and needs,” said Panganivan. “We all experience different emotions. Supporting each other during this time is very important for the health of the relationship.”

First, recognize possible problems. There may be conflicting levels of comfort with respect to health risks, disagreements about the vaccine, different vaccination status, separation anxiety, etc.

Sharon Gilcrest O’Neill, a marriage and family therapist based in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and author of “A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage” and “A Short Guide to a Happy Divorce,” raised concerns. We recommend that you write them down together. Still sort out the differences. Over the next few weeks, we’ll review these lists together and add or modify them as needed. “In the’next’discussion, start looking at the differences and thinking about how to meet each other’s needs,” she said.

There are some changes that can affect every couple. “For many people, it’s very difficult to significantly reduce the amount of time they spend together because they spend more time together,” said Panganivan. “It helps to create rituals that help keep you connected, even if you don’t have a lot of partners together. And planning a continuous time with each other can facilitate this transition. I will.

Nick Bogner, a marriage and family therapist based in Pasadena, California, agrees: “Couple may not always meet each other and may need to readjust to spend most of their day away. “I wonder if it’s possible,” he said. “It’s been a year since I shared the space with someone, and even if I’m wearing headphones or working in another room, people are probably always close to each other. I’m pretty used to feeling it. “Bognar suggested that the solution be to” check in and connect more often. “

Panganivan now sees many couples who are happy with the couple’s cococo while one partner is ready to emerge. “If someone is ready to diverge quickly, it’s important to take turns sharing their feelings and needs,” she said. “Before discussing what to actually do. , Make sure both feel fully heard and understood. “

“We’re thinking about ways to reestablish the importance of relationships, keeping in mind the needs of our partners, and staying out of the house again in a big new world,” Gilcrest said of a couple in the field. Also suggests thinking about how to be a team. “

Dr. Calbino is worried about couples whose partners are more isolated than the other. “When an individual returns to the workforce, the couple needs to pay attention to whether one partner needs to return to the workforce sooner than the other, and the loneliness that accompanies it,” she said.

Isolation can also be caused by each other’s social circles. One partner’s friends and family may be ready to socialize, while the other partner’s friends and family may not be ready to socialize. “If one member of a couple finds themselves more isolated than the other, they need to work together to find a safe way for a more isolated partner to socialize.”

One of the issues that has plagued couples during quarantine is their dissenting opinion about Covid’s safety. “We all have our own feelings and peace of mind when it comes to pandemic safety. These issues will continue to occur,” said Panganivan. “It’s important to be honest with yourself and your partner. If you disagree, it’s best to take the time to listen and understand each other.”

“Couple do not always agree on the risks they are willing to take publicly,” said Dr. Calbino. “One partner may be worried about dealing with an unvaccinated person. . “

To resolve disagreements, the couple “needs to openly discuss why they are interested in a particular activity and why a particular activity is important to them,” said Dr. Calbino. .. “Ideally, this dialogue will promote better understanding and lead to sound compromises.”

Dr. Calbino suggests that long-term couples living together should “discuss which elements of pre-pandemic and post-pandemic life they want to incorporate into their post-pandemic life together.”

Couples met during quarantine need to prepare for another discovery stage. “They only know each other through a lens called a pandemic,” said Panganivan. “It is important to enter this period with the knowledge that as the world reopens, they will learn new things about each other. During this time, it is important to keep the communication lines open.”

Dr. Calbino encourages new couples to discuss how their lives were organized before the pandemic and how they would like to organize their lives in the future. “Maybe they were early risers who went to the gym before going to the office, worked in the office 12 hours a day, and went out drinking with colleagues after work,” she says. “This routine information would have been organically revealed relatively quickly in the pre-pandemic world, but it is possible that many of these activities and social interactions were not possible during the quarantine, which was impossible. There is sex. “

Regardless of the current state of your relationship (new, old, struggling, prosperous), it will be retested when you exit the quarantine. If the pandemic period was more of a burden to your partnership, Pandenivan said, “While waiting for things to start changing, we will continue to work on addressing the issues of the relationship in the best possible way.” Is proposing. She said it was a good time to “handle some of the pain that occurred during this period and discuss what you want to do to move things forward.”

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How to prepare your relationship for a post-pandemic life

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