6 Ways to Help Your Relationship Survive During Quarantine, According to Experts

Thanks to the pandemic, you're stuck with your significant other for an indefinite amount of time. How do you make it through without breaking up?


I’m officially in the fourth week of social distancing in a tiny Manhattan apartment with my boyfriend of almost two years, and it feels like the world’s longest sleepover in the twilight zone.

Coronavirus has taken its toll across the United States, hitting our state of New York the hardest, and it’s safe to say we’re feeling a lot. We’ve had the livelihoods of our friends and families put on the line, and and our fast-paced, hypersocial lifestyles are on hold indefinitely. We’re learning to adapt to our new way of life while learning a lot more about each other in the process: how we deal with our emotions, how we prioritize cleanliness, and now, since we're both working from home, how we behave with our co-workers. 

Through disagreements, difficult conversations, and extended periods of seeing each other’s faces, I’m wondering how we—and other couples—intend to manage time in such close quarters. According to Bloomberg News, Chinese marriage registration offices are reporting an increase in divorce filings, now that the country is coming out of extended quarantine. Does this serve as a warning to the rest of the world?

New York City-based divorce lawyer Scott Orgel, of Eiges & Orgel, PLLC, says that he’s seen a significant rise in family dispute consultations (via the internet or phone calls) since mass quarantines began. “More people are accepting that the person that they thought they enjoyed being with just isn’t the one for them anymore,” he says. “When you're stuck with someone you don't want to live with, three weeks can feel like a lifetime.” 

Bloomberg News,  can help reduce stress, relieve stress, CDC, WHO, Healthy Living

Hoping to get a more positive take on how self-isolation is affecting couples, I reached out relationship experts. In their view, quarantine doesn’t have to mean doom for your marriage or relationship. Here’s what I learned about “coronavirus-proofing” your love in uncertain times.

Create some structure for yourself and each other

“Most people are simply not together all day, married or not,” Gail Saltz, MD, clinical psychiatrist and voice behind the Personology podcast, tells Health. So when you're suddenly thrown together and forced to upend your usual separate routine and habits, it can lead to unease and potential conflict. “Creating some semblance of structure and individuality in your daily schedule can help,” says Dr. Saltz. 

If you’re used to waking up, exercising, and making a cup of coffee, do it. Stick to your regular day-to-day as much as possible, or develop a routine that feels uniquely yours in this time of change—and give your partner the freedom to do that as well. Structure lends a sense of order to your time together, and that helps you feel productive and positive.

Talk out your anxieties and fears

Between scary headlines about hospital shortages and fears for loved ones who are more at risk of COVID-19, we're all in a heightened state of alarm.  “Anxiety is driving a lot of people's irritability right now and creating a crucible for the worst of what’s occurring in your relationship,” says Dr. Saltz. Recognizing the specific anxieties that are fueling interactions with your partner—and then talking about them—can help diffuse the panic.

However, stick to talking out your anxieties during a specific time of day. “These kinds of conversations can definitely permeate every hour of the day and take a toll psychologically on your relationship,” says Terri Orbuch, PhD, author of 5 Simple Steps To Take Your Marriage From Good To Great and professor at Oakland University in Michigan. “Setting aside time to talk about it daily keeps it from spilling over into other parts of your life and causing more stress.”

Embrace that you and your partner may be more different than you thought

You like to watch the latest news about the virus every morning, but your partner absolutely hates it. You wash dishes after every meal, but your partner lets them pile up until the end of the day. Does realizing you don't share the same TV or kitchen cleanup habits mean you’re over? Not exactly. “Differences can bring excitement to relationships, and we can share those passions with our partners,” says Orbuch. “Those differences doesn't mean your relationship is doomed. What’s mainly important is that your underlying core values are similar.” If you’re curious about your partner’s core values, now is the time to really pay attention and talk about them.

Carve out time to have fun together

Studies show that laughter can help reduce stress, so why not turn on your favorite Adam Sandler movie or play your number one childhood board game? “Consider this a time to get to know and appreciate your partner again,” says Orbuch. Do things that you enjoy together, anything that will get you smiling and relieve stress. Having fun or just relaxing helps you remember why you fell in love with your partner in the first place.

Give each other space, physically and emotionally

Social distancing as a couple means a lot of face time. That's tough for even the tightest couples—and leaving the house for a walk or grocery store run isn't always enough of a break. Alone time is healthy and ncessary, but you may have to ask for it.

“Don't say ‘I need space,’ that's a confusing message,” says Orbuch. Privacy and space can occur in the same house, or even the same room. “Say instead ‘I need some time to do XYZ,’ or ‘Can I have two hours to read a book on the sofa this afternoon?’ A specific request doesn't send a confusing signal. Enjoy your me-time and don't feel guilty about it.” 

When things get hard, take a breather

No relationship is perfect, and we’re all stressed right now, so conflict is inevitable. “People are looking for solutions to how they feel, and they may think it means getting away from the people they were with when they felt this,” says Dr. Saltz. “When you feel your anger or anxiety spiking, take a beat for yourself before you say or do something that’s hard to take back.”

Go to another room (or even just the corner of the room your sharing) and listen to soothing music, write out your emotions in a letter or text message to your partner and don’t send it, or sit on your fire escape or front porch if you really need some air. Always remember to come back to the catalyst for your feelings when negative emotions are high. “If it's much more difficult now, that doesn't mean it will be more difficult when this is over,” she adds.

 At the end of it all, remember that there can be positive outcomes for relationships that make it through quarantine—like learning to appreciate the little things about your partner. For example, “waking up with each other and saying ‘I see you,’ ‘I love you,’ and ‘thank goodness I have you,’” muses Orbuch. “Because of the outer world, the stresses and people dying and getting sick, we'll come out of this more appreciative.”

Another positive is using the quarantine as a way to build or even rebuild your bond to your partner. “There is something life-affirming about connecting or reconnecting with someone,” says Dr. Saltz. “That life can go on.” 

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

    • By Taylyn Washington-Harmon
    Internet Explorer Channel Network
    News Related

    OTHER NEWS

    Some Hospitals Are Preventing Unvaccinated Patients from Getting Organ Transplants—Here's What to Know

    © Provided by Health Getty Images A growing number of hospitals across the country are refusing to do organ transplants for patients who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. The Cleveland Clinic ... Read more »

    EU anunciará si habrá refuerzos de vacunas anticovid de Moderna y Johnson & Johnson

    © Proporcionado por Milenio Refuerzo J&J Mientras muchos estadunidenses que recibieron las vacunas de Pfizer contra el covid-19 ya se están arremangando para recibir una inyección de refuerzo, millones de ... Read more »

    Politician Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Reveals Why She Chose to Have a Double Mastectomy Weeks After Her Husband's Death

    In 2005, my boyfriend discovered a lump on my breast. I went in to have it checked out and the doctor recommended a biopsy. The lump turned out to be ... Read more »

    Is There a Diet for Psoriasis? 5 Foods That May Be Beneficial and 5 That Probably Aren't

    If you’re a psoriasis sufferer, then you’re already well aware that those red, itchy, and sometimes painful patches of scaly skin can be triggered by just about anything. © Provided ... Read more »

    OMS podría aprobar vacuna Sputnik V para fin de año si se firman documentos legales: investigadora

    © Proporcionado por Milenio La cancillería boliviana informó que existen demoras de parte de Rusia para la entrega de unas 200 mil segundas dosis de su vacuna Sputnik V. | ... Read more »

    Maryland woman contracts rare melioidosis bacteria from fish tank: report

    The woman may have contracted melioidosis while cleaning a fish tank. Shutterstock/Sergiy Akhundov A Maryland woman is believed to be the first in the world to contract an extremely rare ... Read more »

    Bersaing dengan India-Korsel, Bagaimana Peluang RI Jadi Hub Vaksin?

    © Disediakan oleh Katadata HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/VACCINE Organsiasi Kesehatan Dunia (WHO)  berencana menunjuk satu negara di tiap kawasan sebagai hub produksi vaksin virus corona. Untuk kawasan Asia, Indonesia harus bersaing dengan India dan Korea Selatan ... Read more »

    Next on FDA's agenda: Booster shots of Moderna, J&J vaccines

    1 / 4Virus OutbreakFILE – In this May 19, 2021, file photo, a licensed practical nurse draws a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a mass vaccination clinic at ... Read more »

    How to Turn a Guy On

    Turning a guy on is easy once you know what to do. To turn on a guy, you need to have confidence, know how to flirt, and learn to be ... Read more »

    WHO Rekomendasikan Vaksin Booster Bagi Orang Dengan Gangguan Kekebalan

    © WHO WHO Organisasi Kesehatan Dunia (WHO) merekomendasikan agar orang yang mengalami gangguan sistem kekebalan diberi dosis tambahan vaksin Covid-19. Kelompok tersebut memiliki risiko infeksi yang lebih tinggi setelah vaksinasi ... Read more »

    Climate change is "single biggest health threat facing humanity," WHO says

    A new report released by the World Health Organization on Monday warns that climate change is the “single biggest health threat facing humanity.” The report points out that climate change ... Read more »

    Now you can just remove a Twitter follower instead of blocking them

    © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Twitter has fully launched a new feature on its web version that lets users remove a follower without blocking them. The option prevents ... Read more »

    Constipation Can Cause Nausea—Here's What to Know if You're Experiencing Both

    © Provided by Health Getty Images You know the less-than-comfortable feelings of constipation—fullness, cramping, and bloating are all too common when you just can’t go to the bathroom. But sometimes, ... Read more »

    What Is Misgendering? Here's Why It's Harmful and How to Apologize If You Do It

    © Provided by Health Getty Images As a nonbinary, transmasculine person, I have accepted that my existence looks to be a complicated one to most of world. Oftentimes, I feel ... Read more »

    Mosquirix, Vaksin Malaria Pertama yang Direkomendasikan WHO, Ini 5 Hal yang Perlu Diketahui

    TRIBUNNEWS.COM – Organisasi Kesehatan Dunia atau WHO minggu lalu mengumumkan program vaksinasi besar-besaran terhadap malaria, Stat News melaporkan. Program vaksinasi pertama terhadap penyakit ini dimaksudkan untuk mencegah jutaan anak terinfeksi ... Read more »

    Who ยกระบบดูแลวัคซีนไทย มีประสิทธิภาพระดับ 3

    © Matichon ภาพประกอบข่าว องค์การอนามัยโลก ยกระบบดูแลวัคซีนไทย มีประสิทธิภาพระดับ 3 รองอันดับสูงสุด เทียบ กาน่า-อินเดีย-อินโดนีเซีย-เซอร์เบีย-แทนซาเนีย-เวียดนาม  วันที่ 11 ตุลาคม 2564 ผู้สื่อข่าวรายงานว่า เฟซบุ๊กเพจ ไทยคู่ฟ้า เปิดเผยว่า WHO ยกระดับระบบดูแล “วัคซีนโควิด” ของไทยมีประสิทธิภาพ ระดับ 3 มีเนื้อหาระบุว่า องค์การอนามัยโลก หรือ WHO ประกาศให้ระบบการกำกับดูแลวัคซีนของไทย (Thailand’s ... Read more »

    Sandiaga: Lama Masa Karantina 5 Hari untuk Wisatawan Mancanegara Belum Final

    © Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Menteri Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif Sandiaga Uno memastikan keputusan masa karantina lima hari bagi wisatawan asing yang akan masuk ke Bali ... Read more »

    WHO Rekomendasikan Vaksin Malaria Pertama untuk Anak-anak di Dunia

    © Mia Vale WHO telah merekomendasikan penggunaan luas vaksin malaria pertama di seluruh Afrika. Jakarta: Sebagai hari bersejarah, Organisasi Kesehatan Dunia (World Health Organization/WHO) telah merekomendasikan penggunaan luas vaksin malaria ... Read more »

    Fauci says kids can enjoy trick-or-treating this Halloween

    Dr. Anthony Fauci endorsed Trick-or-treating this Halloween for children who have received or at least eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. EPA/SHAWN THEW Children should be able to safely go trick-or-treating ... Read more »

    Transcript: Dr. Scott Gottlieb on "Face the Nation"

    The following is a transcript of an interview with former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb that aired Sunday, October 10, 2021, on “Face the Nation.” MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to ... Read more »

    Fauci says COVID-19 deaths will soon start to go down

    White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says “both cases and hospitalizations,” of COVID-19 are declining. REUTERS Dr. Anthony Fauci has predicted that COVID-19 deaths will start to go ... Read more »

    Hari Kesehatan Jiwa Sedunia: Makna, Sejarah, dan Tema Tahun Ini

    LIFESTYLE Hari Kesehatan Jiwa Sedunia: Makna, Sejarah, dan Tema Tahun Ini Hari Kesehatan Jiwa Sedunia diperingati setiap 10 Oktober, sejak 1992. Ketahui makna, sejarah, dan tema peringatan tahun ini. October ... Read more »

    Donald Trump fights valuation on Park Avenue retail space, saying the property is being overvalued when compared with similar buildings

    © Frank Franklin II/AP Photo Traffic in front of the Trump Park Avenue building in Manhattan. Frank Franklin II/AP Photo Former President Donald Trump’s real estate company is fighting the ... Read more »

    Donald Trump fights valuation on Park Avenue retail space, saying the property is being overtaxed when compared with similar buildings

    © Frank Franklin II/AP Photo Traffic in front of the Trump Park Avenue building in Manhattan. Frank Franklin II/AP Photo Former President Donald Trump’s real estate company is fighting the ... Read more »

    UN chief issues appeal for $8 billion to equitably vaccinate 40 percent of global population in 2021

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Thursday for $8 billion to help equitably vaccinate 40% of people in all countries by the end of the year, as the World Health ... Read more »

    Amerika Serikat Akan Terima Pelancong dengan Vaksin COVID-19 yang Disetujui WHO

    © Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Amerika Serikat akan menerima penggunaan vaksin COVID-19 oleh pelancong internasional yang disahkan oleh regulator AS atau Organisasi Kesehatan Dunia (WHO), kata ... Read more »

    New Ebola case confirmed in eastern DR Congo

    © Provided by Al Jazeera The 2018-2020 outbreak killed more than 2,200 people in eastern DRC [Reuters] One Ebola case has been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ... Read more »

    Countries in South-East Asia region must make mental healthcare reality for all: WHO

    COVID-19 numbers in Southeast Asia plateaued over past month mainly due to cases in India remaining stable: WHO On the eve of World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organization on Saturday urged countries ... Read more »

    US will accept WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines for international visitors

    Source: Reuters The United States will accept the use by international visitors of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and ... Read more »

    What Are Uterine Fibroids—And What Can You Do If You Have Pain and Bleeding?

    Hearing that you have a growth in your uterus is understandably unsettling. Although uterine fibroids are usually benign, they can be problematic—causing pain or heavy menstrual bleeding, says the federal ... Read more »

    Wedding of the week: Bronwyn Jones and Dusty Ellen provided more than just good food and music when they wed

    Wedding guests can usually look forward to a live band or DJ to dance the night away but on Bronwyn Jones and Dusty Ellen’s special day, the entertainment just kept ... Read more »

    What Causes Nocturia? 13 Reasons You're Constantly Getting Up to Pee at Night

    If you’re waking up repeatedly in the middle of the night to urinate, one of the biggest questions on your mind is probably why? We can’t change or improve health-related ... Read more »

    Queen Latifah Says She's Been Asked to Lose Weight for On-Screen Roles: 'I Have Felt That Pressure'

    © Provided by Health Getty Images For years, celebrities have been asked to lose weight for on-screen roles. Now, in an interview with model and body-positive advocate Hunter McGrady for ... Read more »

    Shannen Doherty Shares 'Truthful' Photos From Her Personal Journey With Breast Cancer on Instagram

    Shannen Doherty revealed in February 2020 that she has stage 4 breast cancer. And now, she’s sharing photos with her Instagram followers that she says are “truthful” of what she’s ... Read more »

    Kualitas Udara Jakarta 5 Kali Lebih Buruk daripada Standar Minimum Baru WHO

    © Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Relawan dan Konsultan Kesehatan Yayasan Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), Alvi Muldani, mencatat kualitas udara Jakarta cukup buruk. Per Kamis, 7 Oktober ... Read more »

    Covid-19: Five states show weekly positivity rate of over 5%

    Ahead of the festive season, the Centre struck a note of caution and said five states have been reporting a weekly positivity rate of over 5%. The ministry of health ... Read more »

    Hey Bestie: What do I do if my partner is jealous of my ‘work husband' and is it ‘emotional cheating'?

    My husband is jealous of my “work husband”, what should I do? He says it’s “emotional cheating” but we really are just friends who spend a lot of time together ... Read more »

    Adele Opens Up About Her Weight Loss Journey in New Vogue Cover Stories

    In case you didn’t hear the sound of the internet breaking, Adele is coming back. © Provided by Health Getty Images Earlier this week, the singer announced that she will ... Read more »

    Kelis' Husband Mike Mora Has Stomach Cancer—What to Know About Stage 4 Stomach Cancer Causes and Symptoms

    © Provided by Health Getty Images “Milkshake” singer Kelis’s husband Mike Mora shared a series of Instagram posts this week, revealing that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. ... Read more »

    Some Ellume COVID-19 Home Test Kits Recalled Due to False Positive Results—Here's What to Know

    © Provided by Health Getty Images Ellume, maker of an at-home COVID-19 test, is recalling some of its testing kits over concerns that users have an increased chance of receiving ... Read more »