Healthy Living Blog – Signs of a Healthy Relationship during Quarantine: Part 1
We’ve just completed 7 months of quarantining due to covid-19. Many of us have learned how to bake bread, mute ourselves on zoom, and live life on a “new normal.”
However, these are stressful times as we also navigate being in the same space as our romantic partners and families 24/7. In times like these, it’s especially important to check in about the health of your relationship with yourself and your partner. Healthy relationships keep us emotionally stable, physically strong, and mentally fit, but unhealthy or abusive ones can drain us emotionally and cause serious health issues.
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.
For part 1, we’re going to focus on how 3 of these equality signs may look during quarantine: Respect & Equality, Personal Freedom, and Consent & Boundaries. Stay tuned for part 2 for the other signs.
Want to see how your relationship is doing? Check below!
Respect & Equality
- Both partners equally contribute to maintaining the home
- Both have equal access to and feel comfortable using shared space and items
- Both partners have equal power in financial, lifestyle, and other decisions for the future
- Examples: Sharing chores and cleaning responsibilities; designing home with both partner’s tastes
- Both haven’t communicated how to split up tasks fairly, so one partner assumes responsibility
- Both treating the home as if it is owned by one partner and the other just lives in it
- Both are not actively engaged in shared lifestyle and financial decisions
- Examples: Partners unable to identify their household tasks and divide them; one partner takes the lead on important decisions such as where to move/live
- One partner is disinterested in taking on any home responsibilities, pushes this onto other partner
- One partner sets limits on how the other partner utilizes shared space
- One partner makes shared financial decisions that may impact the other, without regard for their approval
- Examples: One partner tells the other that the living room is off limits; one partner buys a car using the shared account even if the other does not agree
- Understanding that each person has their own lifestyle even in a pandemic
- Respecting when the other is spending time alone, working, or with others
- Encouraging partners to safely continue activities they loved before quarantine
- Examples: Partners encourage each other to find ways to spend time with friends; Establishing time to be spent alone, even if at home
- Feeling that because you are quarantined, you should spend all time together
- Treating time alone as not valuable, productive, or enjoyable
- Letting go of activities that personally bring you joy, and only doing what your partner likes
- Examples: Partners are spending all time together, but not quality time; Scheduling your time for others first, and not yourself
- One partner chooses what both partners do, leaving no room for the other partner’s individual choices
- One partner decides if/when/how the other partner will connect with others, even virtually
- One partner puts the other down for doing what they love, even if they are safe at home
- Examples: One partner thinks it’s silly the other is working out at home; One partner decides no Zoom calls after work for both
Consent & Boundaries
- Setting time and making efforts to check in about the risks of shared activities
- Understanding your partner may not feel the same way about risks, and respecting differences
- Feeling comfortable creating and setting new boundaries as a result of new situations
- Examples: Agreeing to get covid testing before seeing family together; respecting a partner’s wish to not bring guests indoors
- No discussion of risks or how partners feel about them
- Not acknowledging changes in risks for many “normal” activities due to covid
- Feeling uncomfortable to share your boundaries or disinterested in hearing your partner’s
- Examples: Not knowing what activities are still OK or no longer safe to do; avoiding discussions about how surges/re-openings impact you and your partner’s lifestyle
- One partner forcing, guilting, pressuring, or manipulating the other partner to do something they would otherwise not do
- One partner does not share full risks of an activity with the other by withholding information or minimizing potential damage/injury
- One partner feels afraid to say no, share boundaries, and enforce them out of fear for how the other partner will react
- Examples: telling a partner that you two are going to a small gathering, and they don’t know it’s really an indoor party; guilting a partner into taking a trip when they may not want to during a pandemic
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 partner. 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’ll chat about the rest of the healthy traits in a few days, but it takes a community to create an ongoing conversation. 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.