photo by 6-year-old charlie henderson

Well, here we are trapped together. When we get married or move in together we all love each other a lot. “Best Friends!” We say. But what if you were told that someday you’d be quarantined together, for 10 weeks or more, essentially trapped in your home. And what if inside this pretty “trap,” you have children that you have to entertain, feed, bathe, TEACH ALGEBRA TO, all while staying on top of work so you can pay your trap bills??? Before you say “I do,” do you like this person THAT MUCH? I obviously think the answer would still be yes, because cracks in relationships don’t present themselves til hardships do, but still… it would be an interesting scenario to present before the vow exchange.

This is hard no matter what. Brian and I are super lucky in so many ways but have still had to find our footing and some days are fine, even good. However, the days when I have to work a lot (trying to, you know, survive this financially – THANK YOU for being here) he has the kids far more than 50%, which he is honestly fine with and amazing at, but it’s still very trying. I’ve never been more grateful for him, truthfully. I just think about all the couples that didn’t share responsibilities before this, all the men or women that were gone 50 hours a week (now home 100% of the time and expected to help with all of the chores). Brian and I were talking about how much this is going to test and change relationships. Will this speed up divorces by couples that didn’t know how disconnected they had become? Or bring them back together? Will it create a super solid “we can get through anything” bond? Will the partner that works outside the home finally empathize and really SEE the work that the stay at home parent has always done? As the cracks in the relationship start to widen with such claustrophobic pressure some might not make it out. OR again will the fact that we are spending so much time together actually help some relationships become more close and healthy? Will people learn to communicate better because they are forced to or will the fights just now start? What’s it going to be????

We are only 2 weeks in so it’s hard to make big statements, as we have weeks to go. But as a family who was actually lacking time together, we are getting a lot of it which is the current silver lining. We are doing things together that we used to do separately – working out, cooking every meal and yes shooting for this blog. I’ve secretly always wanted to work with Brian, have him shoot the video content and go full “Young House Love” (a husband/wife family blog) or “Chris Loves Julia“. So last week as I was crying about how to keep this blog up and running, he totally stepped in and he’s actually pretty into it. He’s been shooting the DIY photos, videos and actually likes being in them – and he’s so funny so he adds a lot (in my opinion). We don’t know what we are doing and of course, I miss having my professional team with me in the same room. But I suppose being forced to do this (not having my team to rely on) has made us do it together, with kids around, and it’s a new shift in our relationship. Ha, hopefully for the good (I can hear John and Sherry and Chris and Julia about to email me with the warnings of running a blog with your spouse).

But there are challenges. I’m writing this with headphones in but can still hear his frustration trying to get the kids to sit and do the one hour of reading and writing that we do every morning. And we both feel like we clean all day every day, but at least we can see that each other is doing their part whereas in normal life it’s hard to really see what each other does all day and how much each is contributing. So much goes unnoticed that now is noticed – there is no hiding, which I think has to be a good thing. Ultimately I realize what a lucky position we are in, I promise. I know that just having each other and a nice space that has nature nearby is keeping us not only sane but enjoying this time together. So no real complaints here – just lots of conversations about it. Ultimately right now we are focusing on the gift of time together and trying to only read the news once a day.

But since talking about relationships is my favorite thing to do, I’m so curious about how a couple who is relatively new in their relationship was handling it and Julie was happy to chime in. So if you want to hear about a real interesting situation, let’s hand it over to Julie…

I officially/unofficially moved in with my boyfriend about nine days ago. A day before LA went on our version of a lockdown my boyfriend, Sean, came over to discuss our options for the quarantine. He suggested that I move in with him temporarily so that we weren’t separated during this time. But in my head, that meant that we would be spending 24/7 with one another for who knows how long. Were we really ready for this? That is A LOT of time together, in an apartment with 3 other roommates who I had never met before. 

Mind you that we have officially been together for only 2 months although we have known each other since 2016. We were friends that never lived in the same city until January of 2019 when we started our round one of dating which lasted for about 5 months (the timing was off). Then last October we started hanging out again as “friends,” hahahaha. That quickly turned into a full-blown relationship and here I am writing this from his bedroom. Yes, that’s right I gave up that cute desk set up to sit either squished between his bed and dresser or straddled across from the bed to type (it’s kind of a good leg workout though. Don’t tell him that). But that is love, people. 

Since I’ve been here we have spent a ton of time in his 10’x13’ room. When I’m not working, we are filling the days with “fun activities” like yoga, workouts, reading, hangboarding, playing Magic the Gathering (which is brand new to me so I’m still learning), binge-watching The Outsider and meditating. But if I’m honest it’s beginning to feel a bit like I’m living in the movie, Groundhog Day. To shake things up earlier this week we had a dinner and a movie “date night” where we ordered pizza and rented The Invisible Man on Amazon, which I would highly recommend.

So, why didn’t we decide for him to just stay with me, you ask? Good question. Don’t you have more stuff that you’d need to bring over, you wonder? Yeah, I did. And there are of course the mini-projects that I wish I could be doing at home like painting my bathroom or finally organizing the storage unit. At the same time though I hate to be stuck inside all day and his apartment has a huge patio and backyard with a garden. That ultimately was a big yes in my book. Oh! Did I mention that there are FOUR cats and FOUR dogs on the property?? As an equal lover of cats and dogs you know I am taking my breaks from work playing with those cuties.

The reality is that as much as I wanted to sleep in my comfy bed at my house that didn’t matter as much to me as being with my person. This is not an easy time but Sean has been there for me to make it as easy as possible. Still, every day I question if this was the best decision for our relationship in the long run. I guess only time will tell. Literally.

Emily again! So let’s make this is a conversation – obviously with any tips you guys have for keeping the peace and the love strong. Nobody on my team has kids so admittedly it’s going to be easier for them – or maybe harder because kids actually break up the day? I don’t know! But for those of you trapped in your house with your partner with or without children, tell us – HOW IS IT GOING??? (and yes you can be anonymous). Is being trapped together actually going to be good for your relationship, parenting or marriage??

The post Relationships Under Quarantine: Twenty Years Together vs Two Months Of Dating. HOW IS IT GOING? appeared first on Emily Henderson.
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