Uncertainties cause anxiety and kick stress hormones into overdrive. Many things people used to rely on to reduce tension are now unavailable or deemed unsafe due to the virus. This pent-up worry and fear fuels the way we navigate through hardships. It affects how we communicate with our partner and how we manage conflict within our relationships.The widely seen deterioration of relationships throughout the COVID-19 outbreak can be referred to as a pandemic within a pandemic. Official is a new relationship app meant to help strengthen connections and can directly help combat this problem. So, whether you are newly coupled or have an established connection, by enacting these tips and utilizing the tools on Official, you can prioritize your relationship and maintain its strength during these difficult times. 

1.      Agree on Quarantine Rules. Sit down together and discuss in detail what quarantine dating will look like for your relationship. It is essential both partners know what to expect. More often than not, there will be one partner that is more conservative than the other about going out. Having this conversation will ensure that the two of you are on the same page and will limit future disagreements with clear boundaries. While going out to a bar might be too risky, perhaps outdoor dining at a new restaurant is a compromise. With Official, you can take the guesswork out of planning dates during quarantine. Each partner can swipe on dates individually within their comfort zone. When there is a match, everyone is happy. Just remember to mask-up!

2.      Communicate, Listen and Validate. Priorities can change during times of crisis, and it can be confusing to identify where your relationship fits into your new quartinine lifestyle.  Communicate your thoughts and voice your needs to your partner.  Instead of “you need to do this…” try “I need…” followed by a positive need. Sometimes when emotions run high, it may be hard to express yourself constructively. To articulate your thoughts more clearly, try writing them down ahead of time. Use your phone so they are easy to access, and keep all of your relationship’s notes in one place with Official.

Remember, it is you and your partner versus the pandemic, not you versus your partner. You are in it together. Be patient and seek to understand your partner’s point of view and validate their feelings. Feeling heard and understood is an important part of every relationship. If your partner seems particularly irritable, there might be more at play than you think. Ask them how they feel when something seems off. Learning to read your partner’s emotions will show that you understand their cues and respect their feelings.

3.      Self-Care. Pay attention to your own needs and well-being too. If you are not taking care of yourself, you will not be able to fully care for your partner and their needs. Self-care can decrease stress and anxiety, while simultaneously increasing focus, paving the way for a healthier lifestyle. It does not have to be every day, but just enough to help you feel more emotionally centered and revitalized. So, call a friend, set up a Zoom meeting with family, meditate, go for a walk or bike ride, read a book, take up a new hobby or start journaling. Taking care of yourself is a vital part of taking care of your relationship.

4.      Quick Connections & Small Gestures. Even though quarantine is tough and COVID might keep you apart more often than you would like, make it a priority to check-in with your partner. Use Official’s daily check-in feature to see how your partner is feeling. Use the messaging feature to send a quick good morning message while making your coffee before work or send a quick I miss you during lunch to get your partner through the midday slump. Post a picture of a happy memory and tag them. They may need a reminder of pre-COVID life. These small instances of connection can help refresh your relationship. Also, appreciate your partner for their efforts. Right now, even small acts can take a lot of energy.  

5.       Quality Time, but Respect Each Other’s Time and Space. Keep in mind, most people are working and going to school from home. Just because your partner is home, doesn’t mean they are available to talk or hang out. Respect each other’s work hours and keep distractions to a minimum during this time. After work, use Official to swipe through dates, and when you have settled on a destination enjoy your time together. Because physical time together might be limited, appreciate every moment you have with your partner in-person. Put away your phone while you are out, except to take photos of your date to make memories. Laugh, look into each other’s eyes, hold hands, and just enjoy the presence of one another. 

Bonus: Love, Laugh and Practice Gratitude. With all the world’s ugliness right now, remember to love. Practice empathy because everyone else is in the thick of it right alongside you. Remind people you love them. Love yourself. It is okay to laugh and keep things light. Remember life is full of indelicacies and might not always go according to plan and that is okay. Lean on your partner when you need to. Embrace all of the happy moments that you create together and know that this pandemic is not going to last forever.