Your partner wants to go to a newly reopened restaurant, but eating in public gives you the screaming horrors. Opting to dine alfresco won’t cut it.
What can you do when your partner disagrees with you about issues like wearing masks and social distancing? When couples fight about virus risks, it can cause significant rifts in your relationship by revealing differences in values. Here are nine ways you can restore peace.
1. Open the Communication Lines
To communicate effectively, you have to set the stage. Arrange to talk when neither one of you is distracted or drained of physical and emotional energy. If you lay into your partner after a challenging day at work, neither of you are likely to hear each other out, and you might say things you don’t mean. Then, when you revisit the issue in the future, you hear echoes of your earlier argument, which further hinders open communication.
2. Try to Compromise
According to infectious disease expert Dr. Arnesh Adalja, you don’t have to worry much about contacting COVID-19 from food delivery. As long as you wash your hands and avoid touching your face after paying the driver, you should be fine. If your partner has a craving for Thai, but you can’t stomach the thought of dining around others, can you order through an app instead? You can support local businesses while keeping yourself safe.
3. Establish Your Boundaries
While you do want to communicate openly, you must draw a line in the sand or risk seething resentment over perceived disrespect. Do let your partner know what behaviors you will not tolerate. If this means asking your mate to take the Friday night poker party from the living room to the patio, that’s fair. You have every right to protect yourself from respiratory droplets flying freely from the mouths of squiffy houseguests.
4. Respect Their Feelings
You do want to treat your partner’s emotions with care. Instead of flying off the handle and accusing them of insensitivity or hypersensitivity, listen to their concerns. It’s okay to agree to disagree without resorting to criticism or bossiness — you can express your emotions without calling them names.
5. Evaluate Your Emotional State
You need to do a bit of introspection to understand that your reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic may be irrational. It’s understandable to isolate yourself if crushing anxiety causes you to panic at outside contact. It’s not reasonable to deny your partner of their need to go out and talk a walk around the block. Spend some time sitting in mindfulness meditation and try to identify how much of your self-talk is valid and how much is driven by irrational fear.
6. Express Curiosity
When you listen, try to do so with a curious ear instead of listening to respond. When you do the latter, you become an attorney on cross-examination. You might hear every word your partner utters, but you filter it through a mental lens of, “how can I prove them wrong?” Instead, ask questions. Inquire why they came to the conclusion that they did. Doing so takes them off the defensive and opens the door to compromise.
7. Re-Evaluate Your Plan Often
Maybe you already rescheduled your summer vacation, but the decline of cases in your area have you jonesing to hit the open road. Can you get away for a long weekend with your partner? The same goes if the virus cases increase in your region — can you postpone a little longer to flatten the curve?
8. Use Time-Outs When Needed
Sometimes, your conversations can grow heated. If you need space to cool down, take it. Hopefully, you and your SO don’t share a studio apartment, but if you do, can a privacy screen give you the illusion of separate space? Persisting in a discussion that makes your tempers flare can lead to saying things you later regret. It’s okay to say, “Out of respect for our relationship, I need to walk away for an hour or two.”
9. Prioritize Your Relationship
You might have a million competing pressures on your mind right now. Maybe you’re scrambling to find work or pulling double-duty teaching your kids from home. Make sure that you honor date night with your partner. It’s critical to cherish one another and remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Calm Couples Fights About Virus Risk Factors With These Tips
Couple’s fights about virus risk factors can quickly spiral out of control, with accusations of ignoring health flying. Use these nine tips to keep peace during tense times.