As companies and industries from all over the world are moving towards a “Work from Home” policy; doing their part to combat the spread of the #coronavirus and Covid-19 the term #socialdistancing is quickly becoming part of our everyday lexicon.

We are being asked to essentially stay away from as many “non-essential” people as possible relegating us to our homes and whatever significant other(s) we may reside with.

A recent Washington Post article, on how to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus depicts an incredible realtime graph on how “socially distant” maybe our best bet for slowing down the spread.

There are many challenges that arise from working from home while remaining social distance but your relationship to your partner shouldn’t be one of them.

Closed quarters.

Lack of privacy.

Competing schedules.

For millions, this could be the making of a combustible situation that doesn’t end well. Our relationships are already either a top priority and something we strive to improve daily or it’s at the bottom of the list and distant thought.

No matter how you cut it, social distancing (and working from home) is a stressor we can all use help with which is why I went to a trusted source, relationship expert Bryon Remo, M.Ed., LMFT to learn what couples can do for the next few weeks to ensure their lockdown doesn’t become a life sentence in loneliness.

Here are excerpts from our conversation:

Me: What are you seeing at this time regarding relationships, and what should couples should be aware of?

Bryon: Many couples inadvertently become a bit cut off from their relationship for a variety of reasons; career, work, self-care, social life, etc. And although this may be considered a normal part of the adult journey, for many, overlooking their relationship is an unintended consequence of actually trying to help it. When couples fail to provide their relationship with the maintenance it needs, it can accidentally create a slow disconnect. In our pursuit of success, we need to be cautious not to leave our partner ourr scraps.

Me: Is there an opportunity for couples right now amidst the uncertainty?

Bryon: Because of the current social dilemma we have a unique opportunity to take stock of the health of our relationship and feed it a bit more attention. For some, this will be an awkward initiative as sharing frequent and intimate space with their partner has not been customary. But still, it is an incredible opportunity for those willing to reboot their relationship.

Me: What would you say to couples who aren’t in the best place right now?

Bryon: This can be tricky as couples who have lost their playful spirit may need to first do a bit of repair work. It is no surprise that when relationships are put on the back burner, they will need to confront some hard truths. But for those willing to recalibrate their love, they can begin by asking each other a few questions:

  1. Hi there…I’m (name), it’s so nice to meet you under quarantine, what name do you go by?
  2. Would you like to talk about our relationship and see whether we can become reconnected?  (making a safe offering)
  3. When we are at our best what is your favorite part of our relationship? (creating positive remembrance)
  4. What do you think interferes most with our closeness? (asking the hard question with respect)
  5. What one thing can I do for you that would make you feel more loved? (action planning, gauging willingness)
  6. Do you want to try and take advantage of some of this time to have some fun? (lighter side potential?)
  7. What do you feel about setting some guidelines for how we argue? (putting up guardrails to protect the relationship)

Me: These sound great, but do they work?

Bryon: These questions are designed to gauge you and your partner’s willingness to share openly and honestly. They also provide an opportunity to become more vulnerable with one another and to determine some of the things that may need to be taken out of the relationship (anger, criticism, isolation) as well as ingredients that may need to go into the relationship (patience, understanding, engagement).

Couples should consider what is working in their relationship and what is interfering with their closeness. Because some problems cannot be solved, but only tolerated, we need to ensure that our time is well spent closing the gap on the issues most important to the health of our relationship.

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IN SUMMARY: Relationships of all kinds will be tested as we combat this pandemic for the foreseeable future. At this time, Antarctica is the only place not affected by the coronavirus and the likelihood of you moving yourself, your job or your relationship south is probably unlikely. Try using this time to not just work on work, but work on yourself and each other.

The Floor Is Yours: 

How do you stay productive

working from home?