The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty in dating and relationships. Many couples learned how to share a small living space while working problems out together in quarantine. Fast forward to the recent CDC guidelines and now couples are facing re-entering the real world. Partners are getting back to in-person work and back to their life, but the intimate relationship bubble they created is now expanding while thinning its wall of protection. As these new pandemic relationships face less restrictions and more freedom, many are sensing the loss of what they shared together. Many are wondering if their relationship was a matter of love and commitment or simply a way to avoid being alone during a critical time.
You cannot make someone love you or want to commit to you, but if you are both invested in the relationship and want it to continue to grow, I have 5 suggestions that can help you and your partner make the transition from a pandemic bubble to a vibrant and social real world.
1. Acknowledge and talk about the changes that are happening. Life post-quarantine is different. When partners discuss this openly and give each other the space they need to adjust and feel secure without judgment, each can feel more supported.
2. Begin investing in your personal goals. During lockdown you were stuck inside and many of your personal goals were put on hold. Relationships grow stale when a partner quits investing in their own interests. In a healthy relationship when couples share their interests, it adds spark and excitement to their relationship, deepening intimacy.
3. Be honest with yourself about your trust and fears. If your relationship is going to survive in the real world, you need to be able to trust each other. Ask yourself if you’re secure enough to allow your partner the freedom they need to feel safe and committed to the relationship. In a healthy relationship, people choose to be with each other. Feeling desperate or afraid to hurt someone is not a reason to make it work in the real world.
4. A healthy relationship in the real world needs a support team. During lockdown, it may have seemed like it was the two of you against the world. In a healthy relationship, family and friends help stabilize you. Instead of worrying about losing your partner with increased socializing, relish getting out with friends and family again. If your relationship excludes others that is a warning sign of a fragile union. One person should never be put in a position to support all your needs.
5. Communication is key. The most important component of a healthy relationship is your ability to communicate directly with your partner. If you’re able to communicate up front about what you need and want from your relationship, you put you and your partner in the best position possible to make it work.
If you now find that the choices, socializing, and limitless opportunities available cause conflict in your relationship, accept the fact that some relationships are no longer enough to commit a lifetime to salvaging. A big part of loving someone is knowing when it isn’t working and being able to let them go. It doesn’t mean you didn’t love them; it means you care enough about them to want them to be happy with or without you.