The lockdown is hard for everyone. Our relationships are being tested in ways that no one could have anticipated. Some of us learn to adapt, while some of us find out that we are, maybe, not equipped to deal with this. Most couples went from meeting every day or every week to not seeing each other for over two months.
Questions have started to arise. Can your relationship survive without physically being next to someone? Do you have things to talk about? How safe is technology to send nudes? For someone who has a mental illness, things are a little different. There are a whole set of voices that are reinforcing doubts that both exist and don’t exist. Additional questions I think about include: Does he still love me? I haven’t seen his face in five days, what if I have forgotten what he looks like? I’m running out of things to talk about so does this mean he’s not my soul mate? He woke up an hour ago and he has still not sent me a good morning text. Does he not like me anymore?
Routine is very important for me. Routine helps me stay sane. I know that I have to wake up at 7 AM, leave for work at 8 AM, and arrive at 9 AM, and so on, I know that things are going to be okay. It gives us a sense of control over our lives. Minor setbacks can just change, but we learned to understand that you can’t control the little things, and that’s okay.
The Coronavirus imposed a quarantine that not only locked us in our homes, but threw away the key, and the hope of things returning to normality in the foreseeable future.
The first few days of quarantine were rough. My partner and I were thrown into a pattern that neither of us recognised. We lived more than 20kms away from each other. We were angry and frustrated. We had to be at home, we had to deal with work from home and people at home. There was no way to escape. There was anger that we couldn’t release in healthy ways. I don’t go to the gym, but for me to stay sane, I needed sunlight and a good 30-minute walk. I had access to none of those. Standing on the balcony of my apartment wasn’t good enough.
In the first few days, we were total nightmares. We called each other names. We said things to each other that we couldn’t say to the people that were actually frustrating us. Our relationship was already on pretty shaky grounds. We did not need the lockdown to throw us off. We were like dynamite in each other’s life. We were blowing things up for each other and it was inconceivably challenging to stay rational. Until, we took a step back. We gave each other space. We took time and made a list of everything bothering us, and we were not allowed to use each other as an excuse for becoming triggered and acting the way we did. We realised there were so many things that made us flip.
We were overworked and stuck with family members we usually tried to avoid. For both of us, getting away from home and being around friends and each other was how we coped and that was taken away from us. We realised that the lockdown was toxic for us and difficult for us to stay happy. But instead of taking it out on each other, we helped each other. When either one of us worked on shifts that were too long for us to handle, the other gave them space. We sent each other memes and puppy videos. We realised that we had to start prioritising space for each other over anything.
It has been more than two months since we last saw each other. That last time, we didn’t do the things we should have. I keep thinking about how I would have hugged him more, or kissed him more, or bought him a bar of Cadbury because nothing made him happier than chocolate.
But the lockdown will end someday. We will be reunited someday. These petty arguments won’t matter then, but our strength and faith in each other would have made us stronger.
About the Author:
Skye Cardoz writes articles, stories, and poems, mostly about love and mental health. She has had an article published in Thought Catalogue and has self-published a short story on Kindle. She lives in Mumbai, India with her family and pet plants.