As I write this blog post, is 9:00 p.m., and the power has just gone off at my house. There is no wind, no heatwave, and things just got a bit tougher as we entertain ourselves and our daughter during the COVID-19 crisis. So, I’m wondering how those of you who are quarantining with a spouse who you do not get along with are doing. Even if you have not yet filed for divorce, being cooped up at home with someone you can’t stand can be close to unbearable.
Do you find your self daydreaming about kicking her or him to the curb right this very minute? Is the sound of their loud chewing getting on your last nerve—or is it getting to you that they don’t understand the importance of not eating you out of house and home, making it necessary for you go to the supermarket three times a week?
Here are some simple tips:
- Take a time out. If you can, take a break from direct exposure to your spouse to get some “you time.” Read a book, journal, or rediscover that old hobby that kept you occupied for hours before you got married. This break can help both of you reset and reduce tensions.
- Avoid “hot-button” topics. We all know how to push our partner’s buttons. Forget that you have the roadmap to what irritates them. Avoiding triggers dampens both your and your spouse’s stress.
- Leave the Conversation. This is the “exit stage left” strategy. Before things get heated, diffuse the situation by leaving the scene. After all, there’s no need to subject yourself to your spouse’s desire to lash out or argue. It takes two to argue. Bow out. Walk away.
- Divide and Conquer. If there are issues about which you and your spouse disagree, decide now who will be responsible for certain tasks in the house. This step will keep you from arguing about the task, how it will be done and when it will be done because the task is now the compete responsibility of the person assigned to it.
- Homeschooling the Children. If you and your spouse have children and are homeschooling them during the crisis, you two should attempt to get onto the same page as to the schooling responsibility schedule. Perhaps you home school one day, your spouse the next. Perhaps one of you is good at math, the other at language arts. Dividing responsibility based upon ability reduces stress.
- Pay Attention To Your Mental Health. I am a big proponent of having the support of friends and relatives. But sometimes we need the help of a paid disinterested party, such as a counselor, social worker, or psychologist. Having to quarantine, work, and be a caregiver 100% of the time is hard. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to a paid counselor during this or any other time. There are several professionals who have remote access services available to you. Just reach out
And, if you need additional help to actually plan for a divorce or separation, I am here now to help you Turn Fear Into Power When Happily Ever After Fades Away®.