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Surviving Stay At Home Orders With Your Partner

A lot of couples have found themselves in a situation they may never has expected. Suddenly working from home or being out of work at home 24/7 with their partner and maybe even kids. For those of us used to being away from the home 8-12 hours a day it may feel really nice to have more time to spend with our loved ones. For the first few weeks it may have given us time we've been dreaming of having. After a while spending so much time together you may begin to feel trapped. You may be learning of your partner's quirks and habits you didn't get to see before. If you start to feel your emotional bank account draining you may need to set some new boundaries.


If you're both working from home perhaps setting up workspace in separate areas is a good idea. This way you get time and space to focus on your work and some privacy as well. If you have kids to juggle try making a schedule where you can take turns watching the kids and doing work. Identify when you have meetings or tasks you need to be 100% present for and create a schedule for when you will take turns.


Don't forget to keep investing in your bank account as well. Voice appreciations to your partner, keep the positive interactions at at east a 5 to 1 ratio, and make time to spend positive quality time alone. There are still a lot of things you can do at home as a date. Bring out your favorite board games, take a walk, plant some flowers, have coffee on your porch, just do something together.


Another important thing to remember is to continue to use a gentle startup when you feel upset. Instead of shouting "You always leave your coffee cups on the counter, it's so messy!" try "I'm feeling overwhelmed by the clutter of dishes, can you help by putting your cups in the dishwasher when you're done?". It's ok to have a complaint for your partner but a criticism is an unhealthy behavior that contributed to divorce in Gottman's research.


You can use this feelings wheel to help identify the underlying emotion you may be experiencing. You can find a pdf version here https://www.gottman.com/blog/printable-feeling-wheel/

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