Being together the whole day, preparing and having meals morning, noon, and night, sitting next to each other in your home office—sounds like the ideal romantic situation for couples, right?
In theory, yes. But if this togetherness is composed of working, parenting, and generally just trying to survive through the uncertainty of “the new normal”, it may not be as romantic as it seems. Even the calmest of couples can experience a bit of cabin fever in this situation, and the overall fatigue and anxiety can leave you feeling more and more distant from your partner.
You may decide to brush it off, but Dr. Rica Cruz, a psychologist and sex relations therapist, says that you immediately need to nip it in the bud. “So, when do we start rekindling that romance? NOW! N-O-W,” says Dr. Cruz in her parenTeam RealTalks video Keeping the Romance Alive.
Cruz says that this lessened intimacy, coupled with tension from the problems brought about by the present situation, may lead to more problems in your relationship. She also cautions that the lack of intimacy may lead the couple to a sexless marriage.
You have a sexless marriage when you have sex with your life partner only ten times or less within the year—that’s not even once a month!
Prioritize each other as partners
But how do you reawaken that intimacy, during this time? Dr. Cruz stresses that you start out by prioritizing your partner.
“Romance needs to be constantly nourished and fed. You do not de-prioritize it; because your partner is your priority,” Cruz explains. “The longer you de-prioritize that space between you, the longer and harder it is to rekindle that fire.”
This may seem incredibly difficult to do if you’re just going through the motions every day, but prioritizing your partner can be as simple as asking him or her how they are. This simple act of checking in on your significant other shows them that you are mindful of their needs and that you are there for them.
Don’t forget about self-care
Due to the present situation’s generally disrupted schedule, grooming and exercise might slide down your list of priorities. Not being at your physical and confident best may make it more difficult to get intimate with your partner.
Because of this, it is essential to practice daily self-care, in spite of the challenges. Eat healthy and try to create a regular exercise routine at home, be it climbing the stairs, hitting the elliptical, or following yoga videos.
“Dressing up” for work instead of lounging about in your pajamas, shaving, and putting on a bit of makeup can help you feel better about yourself.
Self-care can also mean rediscovering your own intimacy, according to Dr. Cruz.
“Intimacy starts with ourselves…you need to embrace your body and be comfortable in it. You’re beautiful, you’re sexy, you’re amazing. And if you reawaken that sexual self again, it can help you become more intimate with your partner.”
Create pockets of time for each other
Work-from-home setups and the crush of daily responsibilities can make it seem nearly impossible for couples to create time for each other, but you can carve out pockets of time by separating home and work life.
It could be as simple as taking a break by turning off your laptops for just an hour to reconnect with your spouse.
“It feels like we are busier [right now], as the delineation between work and free time seems blurrier than ever and the sense of being always ‘on’ is hard to get away from,” says Joni Martinez, a web designer and mother, about how she sets aside time for her husband Denver, a medical journal writer, who also works from home.
“So physically stepping away from the computer and consciously spending time together reminds both of us that the greater world is still out there.”
Plan for a date safely outside—or inside
Dates are essential to couples, as it adds to romantic moments and fun that we all need these days. Going on a date in the present time may seem impossible, but there are ways to do it safely, and enjoyably.
“We have stretched the definition of ‘date’—it’s any non-grocery outing that’s just the two of us,” says Martinez. “Or we go on masked walks around our neighborhood, not much for exercise, but for fresh air and a chance to talk. We do this every weekend for our sanity.”
For couples who opt to stay in, having a romantic and cozy “indoor date” is still possible, according to Wendy de Leon, a marketing specialist who is married to Coco, a graphic designer.
“Because we’re already together at home 24/7, our idea of a date is consciously doing something chill together with pleasure—ordering in (instead of having to cook), and watching a movie we’ve both been looking forward to. These really simple things make us enjoy and celebrate each other’s company.”
Build intimacy through little connections
Intimacy between partners can be revived through small gestures of love. These could include gentle physical connections like holding hands, cuddling, hugging, and spooning.
Another way would be to revisit the early stages of your relationship—think of your honeymoon period, or when you just started dating. How did you flirt with each other? What was your playful banter?
Dr. Cruz also suggests doing this little physical trick: “Kiss each other for six seconds every night.” The kiss shouldn’t be a chaste, friendly kiss, she says; but a deep, passionate, spine-tingling type of kiss that could lead to something sexier!
Be kind to one another
Being in close quarters the whole day can stir up couple arguments more frequently, but don’t let this anger linger—talk it out gently instead. Perhaps this is where the old saying: “Don’t go to bed angry” should actually be heeded.
“There are just going to be bad days, but we want to bank on the good and intimate days,” says Dr. Cruz reassuringly. “These days are the ones that will make your connection as a couple… [you should] appreciate each other, be kind to one another.”
“Remember, intimacy begets intimacy,” she adds. And intimacy begets a better relationship—in these unusual times and beyond.
About The Writer
Rachelle Medina has covered the shelter and lifestyle beat as a writer and editor for almost twenty years. Formerly editor-in-chief of Real Living Magazine, Rachelle now freelances for different lifestyle outlets like Spot, GMA News Lifestyle, and ANCX, creating content for both print and web.
She has also worked as a consulting content editor for the websites of SM Home and Manila FAME.
Rachelle is a licensed interior designer with a degree from the University of the Philippines; and is a single mother of a wonderful nine-year-old boy who loves to draw.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and do not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.