Healthy Living Blog – Quarantining Together? Signs of a Healthy Relationship During Quarantine Part 2
We’re excited to be continuing our conversation on healthy relationships during quarantine. A few days ago, we released Part 1, which talks about respect & equality, personal freedom, and consent & boundaries- don’t miss it! Read it here:
With so many of us at home with our partners and other loved ones, our relationship health has never been more important. How we handle stressful events (such as a quarantine) can bring us together, but it can also cause more tension in some relationships. Having regular and thorough check ins with yourself and your partner can keep you in the loop on your relationship.
There are 6 foundational behaviors and practices for a healthy relationship:
- Respect & Equality: Partners treat each other as equals, regardless of differences in race, gender, money, family, and more. They have a balanced power relationship, and each partner has input on the relationship’s direction.
- Personal Freedom: Partners understand that their relationship is one of many valuable connections in life. Each partner is their own individual with unique personality, beliefs, self-expression, relationships, and interests.
- Consent & Boundaries: Partners feel comfortable discussing shared activities together, expressing feelings about risk, and agreeing or setting boundaries. Each partner is responsible for checking in, getting agreement from the other, and respecting boundaries.
- Safety & Trust: Each partner makes an active effort to create a physically, emotionally, and sexually safe environment for each other. As a result of safe experiences, partners feel comfortable around each other, relaxed, unguarded.
- Mutual Support: Partners encourage each other’s interests, goals, and desires. Both recognize that life has ups and downs and see the relationship as a comfort.
- Communication: Partners feel comfortable expressing their feelings openly, honestly, and considerately. Partners listen to each other without judgement and aim to understand the other’s views. Partners do not always have to share the same views, but use communication to bridge differences.
A relationship can’t be fully healthy without all 6 traits- although they might look a little different from couple to couple.
In Part 1, we shared what respect & equality, personal freedom, and consent & boundaries looked like in a healthy relationship. Today, we’re focusing on safety & trust, mutual support, and communication.
Want to see how your relationship is doing? Check below!
Safety and Trust
- Prioritizing each other’s health and safety, and accepting that your partner may have different health considerations
- Trusting each other’s judgement to not put you at risk of COVID, knowing exposure is out of both partner’s control
- Feeling physically and emotionally safe and comfortable around each other even if the outside world feels risky
- Examples: Extra precautions if partner has a health condition; feeling safe to snuggle and be close to each other
- Not prioritizing safety as a foundation for every decision and activity
- Feeling paranoid whenever your partner is outside, constantly worried they will contract COVID
- Being unable to relax indoors around your partner, feeling as if there is no safe place with COVID
- Examples: Feeling anxiety when your partner goes to the grocery store; avoiding contact with your partner when you would not have pre-COVID
- One partner disregards the health and safety needs of the other, exposing them to risks without consent or consideration
- One partner controls and tracks the other’s movements, locations, etc. to feel safe instead of trusting partner
- Feeling that your home is emotionally and physically dangerous as a result of living together
- Examples: Pressuring partner to share phone locations; feeling fearful of partner at home
- Acknowledging that extra support may be needed during quarantine
- Making time for stress relieving activities that facilitate connection
- Feeling as if they are on the same team, working together with shared goals
- Examples: Making time for a fun activity indoors; having more conversations about feelings
- Not reflecting on or being unaware of your or your partner’s support needs
- Feeling disconnected, that there are no experiences connecting you two together
- Competing in the relationship to be the best partner, or who has adjusted to quarantine “better”
- Examples: No quality time together; Bragging about being “better” at zoom calls
- One partner disregards the other partner’s needs and is disinterested in providing any support
- Feeling like the relationship itself is a source of stress and turmoil
- One partner belittles/puts the other down for how they have responded/adjusted to quarantine
- Examples: Not caring if partner is feeling sad because of quarantine; making fun of partner for not understanding zoom
- Discussing topics that may be uncomfortable, but necessary such as COVID testing
- Expressing feelings about changes in themselves, relationships, and/or life and listen to each other without judgement
- Taking time to share, process, evaluate options, and come to an agreement
- Examples: Feeling open to talk about feelings as they come; Turning off distractions to focus on partner speaking
- Avoiding addressing topics that are necessary but uncomfortable in favor of silent peace
- Detecting changes behavior and mood, but not discussing them or they are unaware
- Serious conversations are spontaneous and reactive rather than calm and planned
- Examples: Changing the subject after a topic is brought up without setting a time to revisit; feeling as if your feelings have built up
- One partner shuts the other down, or lashes out whenever a tense topic arises
- One partner minimizes how the other feels about quarantine, and all the changes that have resulted
- Discussions and conversations often quickly escalate into fights and arguments
- Examples: Telling partner that they need to “get over” feeling sad; Partner begins yelling as soon as you begin asking questions
If your relationship is matching the healthy signs, great! Keep up the good work. Remember, no relationship is perfect, but we always have the chance to treat our partners well. Continuing to check in with yourself, your partner, and relationship resources can support your effort.
If your relationship is matching the unhealthy signs, take some time to reflect. Were you and your partner healthy before quarantine? Has shelter in place got both of you feeling down? This is a good sign that you and your partner have some serious work to do. Perhaps a conversation, quality time together, or professional support can help your relationship grow into a healthy space. It’s ok if you ultimately decide that this relationship isn’t working- break ups can be healthy and necessary.
If your relationship is matching the abusive signs, please consider chatting with a caring advocate from our Asian Women’s Home. Many people think it’s shameful to be in an abusive relationship, but 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be, or have been, in an abusive relationship. It’s normal to need support, and we believe that you deserve a safe, loving, and respectful relationship. Our advocates can emotionally support and connect you to empowering legal, housing, and other important resources. You can call us at (408) 975-2739 or chat online at https://safechatsv.org/.
We’re glad to be commemorating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month by discussing what a healthy relationship looks like. Everyone can have one, and we are all better off in every part of our lives when we do.
We hope you got to learn more about healthy relationships this month, and that you continue the conversation throughout the year. To start a dialogue in your community, get educated, or support AWH as a community advocate, please contact Neba Zaidi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can all create a healthy community.