15 Ways You're Causing Relationship Problems in Quarantine
Life in such close quarters is tough. But don't make these mistakes, or risk a post-pandemic break-up.
With tensions high and stress levels skyrocketing, couples are being tested more than ever in quarantine. And that may lead to the kind of behavior that A) you're not exactly proud of, and B) could be detrimental to your relationship in the long run. If you want to make sure you make it out of lockdown with your relationship intact, we've got you covered. We talked with top relationships experts to get their take on the ways people are ruining their relationships in quarantine without even realizing it. Take note of these silent relationship killers! And for more tips on how to maintain a healthy marriage, check out the 50 Best Marriage Tips of All Time, According to Relationship Experts.
You're being overly critical.
Being stuck inside may lead you to become hyper-focused on your partner, which is not always a good thing. "This can lend itself to becoming overly critical of your partner's choices during the quarantine," says relationship expert and writer Carmel Jones. "You might not like the way your partner is coping with the pandemic, or perhaps [you] are critical of the fact that they aren't making an effort to exercise."
While this may be relatively common, Jones warns that it could have a lasting negative impact on your relationship because "placing your partner under a magnifying glass while you are already in a pandemic is going to drive your partner away." And if your relationship has become long distance amid the pandemic, check out these 12 Tips for Couples Who Have Become Long Distance in Quarantine.
You're getting too involved in your partner's work life.
If you and your partner have the benefit of being able to work from home, you're probably learning a lot about each other right now. But just because you're sharing a space, that doesn't mean you're working together per se. It's still important to keep your romantic life separate from your work life.
"Your partner knows how to handle his or her job, but you might feel the need to ask questions, intrude, or make suggestions as to how they can do the job better," says Jones. While boundaries are challenging to maintain during quarantine, they are essential to keeping your relationship healthy. Without them, you're bound to be dealing with increased conflict, arguments, and feelings of suffocation.
You're being negative.
There is an endless list of things to complain about during quarantine, starting with all the alarming news alerts that pop up on your phone. While it's OK to get upset sometimes, it's not healthy to constantly invite negativity into your life or your relationship. "It's healthy to express yourself to your partner, but it's also important to take notice of when your negativity is bleeding into the relationship," Jones says.
To help out with your mental state, consider easing up on your news consumption to create a more positive environment for both you and your partner. And for more tips for taking care of yourself in quarantine, check out 15 Effective Self-Care Tips That Are Made for Quarantine.
You're not giving your partner enough space.
We could all use a bit more personal space right now, but it's hard to achieve that in lockdown. Jones suggests couples designate their own areas at home so that each partner feels like they have a personal domain. "It can be as simple as a side of the couch or spot at the dinner table," Jones says. "Designating space is a great way for individuals in a relationship to maintain their sanity and not feel over-crowded."
You're taking your frustration out on your partner.
Frustration is running high as we roll into another month under quarantine, and it's unsurprisingly resulting in shorter fuses. "You might not realize that your shorter fuse has caused you to take your stress out on your partner in ways that he or she doesn't deserve," Jones says. "Try to be self-aware about how being stuck inside is affecting your mood, and make sure to not use your partner as a punching bag." And for some relatable relationship rifts you may be going through, check out 9 Real People Reveal the Petty Arguments They Have With Their Spouses.
You're not checking in with your partner.
It's easy to get caught up in your own stress during this time, but forgetting to check in with your partner can be hurtful and can send them the wrong message. "Asking your partner how they are doing is an easy way to show that you care about their feelings," says Jones. "Allowing each other to open up will strengthen the trust within a relationship and allow your home to remain a safe space for both of you to express yourselves."
You're getting codependent.
There is such a thing as being too attached to your partner, which is something that could very well come up in quarantine. "If a relationship was codependent to begin with, a pandemic is surely enough to push that codependency into overdrive," says Jones. While it's nice to be able to rely on your partner during challenging times, being too reliant on each other could place an unnecessary and unhealthy burden on the relationship.
You're putting zero effort into personal hygiene.
When quarantine began, we were all very excited to be able to work from home in our pajamas and not bother with our hair, but it's been over a month now, and that look can start to get old. We're not suggesting you get all dolled up to sit on your couch, but a little self-care can go a long way. "In order to maintain a sense of romance and intimacy, a level of self-care needs to be put in place," says Jones. "It's as simple as cutting your nails or changing from one set of lounge clothes to another. But that tiny amount of effort might salvage the attraction and intimacy while stuck in quarantine with a partner." And for more tips on how to enhance the intimacy in your relationship, check out Over 40? Here's How to Spice Up Your Relationship.
You're not doing your part around the house.
Being in your home 24/7 means there are more dishes in the sink and there's more laundry to be done. If you're not holding up your end of the chores, this could certainly cause an imbalance in your relationship. "It can be a struggle, especially if only one person takes care of everything in the house while the other becomes a couch potato," says Sam Whittaker, relationship expert and editor at Mantelligence. And for tips on what not to say to your significant other, check out 65 Things No Spouse Ever Wants to Hear, According to Relationship Pros.
You're misusing social media.
As your screen time goes up during quarantine, the chances of you overusing and abusing social media platforms is also higher. Whether you're shaming your significant other, looking for approval online, or reaching out to exes, these actions can drive a wedge in between you and your partner. "Of course, you'll get annoyed being quarantined, but does everyone need to know about it? Beware of airing your dirty laundry in public and putting down your partner," warns licensed counselor Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, co-founder of The Marriage Restoration Project.
You're not getting on the same page about parenting.
Quarantine is significantly more challenging for those stuck at home with children. You have to parent with no reprieve of school for them or the office for you. "With you both at home, you are likely to clash regarding parenting, especially if one of you has been the primary parent," says Slatkin. As tension is already high in quarantine, it's easy to get into arguments about parenting styles or unintentionally undermine your partner. But you should do your best to operate as a parenting team, not as opponents.
You're shutting down.
Anxiety is manifesting itself in relationships in multiple ways in quarantine, says psychologist and relationship expert Carla Manly, PhD. And one of those ways is by shutting down emotionally, which is an unhealthy coping mechanism for you and can cause harm to your relationship, too. If you're personally experiencing anxiety and struggling to talk about it with your partner, consider seeking online therapy.
You're nagging too much.
You might be frustrated by your partner leaving their clothes on the floor, working too late, or not cooking enough. But while you're stuck inside together, it would be wise to pick your battles. "Constant nagging and lack of gratitude can contribute to the deterring of any relationship, even more so for a relationship that is enduring quarantine during this time," says writer and relationship expert Stephania Cruz. "Nagging can lead to feelings of resentment. For the nagger, resentment can stem from feelings of not being heard, cared for, etc. For the person receiving the nagging, the resentment can stem from feeling that nothing they do is good enough."
You're drinking too much.
When quarantine boredom or blues hit, it's easy to rely on alcohol as an escape. However, drinking your way through lockdown might not be the best thing for your relationship. Manly says overindulging in this addictive behavior could harm your bond.
You're not having enough sex.
A relationship's sexual health is a very clear indicator of how the rest of the union is fairing. If you're not having sex in quarantine, especially with precious few other things to do, that may be a sign of a deeper issue. Manly says if you feel so exhausted or stressed that you have minimal desire for sexual intimacy, it could have lasting effects on your relationship.