What To Do If You And Your Partner Disagree About The Pandemic
As Coronavirus cases continue to soar, so have our stress levels while living in a pandemic. But as the world continues to slowly open back up, everyone has an opinion of what precautions should be taken. So what happens if you and your partner don’t see eye to eye?
Perhaps one of you is taking social distancing measures supremely seriously. Maybe the other believes it’s all a big crock. It doesn’t matter how much you did or didn’t fight before. This pandemic has ushered us into a whole new ballgame. One in which communication with each other has never been more critical.
If you and your partner disagree about the pandemic, here are a few tips for learning how and if you can get on the same page and cope with the COVID craziness.
FIRST OFF, WHAT’S UP WITH ALL OF THE FIGHTING?
Before diving headfirst into how to actually resolve the issue, it’s important to take a step back and assess why we’re so testy to begin with.
Most of us are working from home, eating at home, and spending virtually all of our time at home. The lists of things to do and places to go has obviously drastically shrunk. Most couples have been spending more time together than ever. So with that comes having to experience each other’s ups and downs all day, every day. This, as you would imagine, can get pretty old pretty quickly.
Under these conditions, more disagreements are likely to take place. Remember that conflict doesn’t necessarily signal the end of a relationship. In fact, it can be super healthy! Especially when it serves as a crash course in working through adversity and ultimately strengthen your overall bond.
HAVING THE CONVERSATION
So when it comes to addressing your partner’s differing feels about how to handle the pandemic, there are a lot of things to keep in mind to prevent a Real Housewives-worthy fight.
STAY CALM, COOL & COLLECTED
When you’re throes of disagreement, it’s essential to keep your cool as much as humanly possible. Absolutely everyone’s emotions are running high right now. Thanks to extra stress, being cooped up for months, and feuding with someone you deeply care about little disputes can quickly escalate into fiery brawls. However, keeping your mindset, tone and general demeanor as grounded as possible can make a huge difference in keeping the chat productive and on track.
Believe it or not, we don’t always listen as much as we think we do. But when the listening is about something as life-altering as a pandemic, it’s one of the most critical moves we can make.
Your partner may have a totally different (and in your mind, 1000% incorrect) viewpoint on how we should be approaching life right now. If it’s not a dealbreaker for you, it’s important to truly listen and get a handle on their perspective. Don’t tune out what they’re saying in order to brainstorm the next way you’re going to defend your own viewpoint. Try asking questions about why they feel the way they do and not make sharp assumptions. That way, you can understand what’s at the heart of each other’s positions and figure out how to work through the real sources of tension at hand.
- BE SELF-AWARE
In addition to listening to your partner, it’s important to listen to yourself as well. While expressing your own opinions, make it a point to process what you’re saying out loud. As the conversation goes on, it’s additionally important to keep your emotions in check and realize that if things begin to get heated, it’s far more beneficial to do your part and move toward resolving it ASAP…instead of egging on the conflict just to have the last word.
READ THE ROOM
We’ve talked a lot about the idea of not having conversations about sex inside of the bedroom. Similarly, it’s best to not initiate this kind of chat at an inopportune or already stressful time. You already know that it’s a topic that you don’t agree on. So lowering the level of confrontation in the setting of the conversation can be helpful. Have the discussion on a walk together, or spending time at the park. This generally provides a much more positive setting where you can actually make productive headway.
As opposed to, you know, the middle of a busy workday or when one of you is already peeved the other person ate the last slice of sourdough. Or seated across a table from each other staring each other down and playing a game of moral chicken.
COMPROMISE IF POSSIBLE
Too many times do people think about arguments as determining a “winner” and a “loser”. In reality, the goal should be striking a compromise. As long as your difference of opinion doesn’t affect your desire to continue the relationship.
You may feel very frustrated in the moment, but being open to hearing both sides is one of the only sure-fire ways to find common ground. If your partner doesn’t take the pandemic seriously, it might be worth understanding why. After all, you love each other, you care about each other, so doing whatever you can to help make your partner feel safe and at ease is a win-win in the end.
REFRAME, REFRAME, REFRAME
Just like the virus itself, preventing issues can be just as vital as treating them once they bubble up.
While arguing can be healthy in terms of communicating your thoughts and venting emotional energy, it shouldn’t be an unending cycle of disagreement. In times like these, petty arguments are often manifestations of larger issues like anxiety and fear. Figuring out how to effectively calm the nerves and resolve the matter together is a fantastic pathway to emotional and intimate growth.
If there’s one thing we’ve come to accept, it’s that the current state of the world is what it is. So instead of expelling energy on things outside of our control, we may as well refocus that power onto what we can.
Relationships are always a two-way street. This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last that you hear that “we’re all in this together,” but it’s especially true when cracking the code of how to stay safe while at the same time supporting each other.
Both during the pandemic, and beyond!
Alex Anderson is an LA-based lifestyle designer proactively raging against the cultural grain. By day she works in television production, and by night enjoys writing, sewing and seeking guidance from the stars. She also finally has an all black kitty named “Cher.” You can follow her alt-lifestyle blog MSFT Living and on Instagram!