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Covid 19 blog #5 should we be together or separate?

An occasional lite blog reflecting on the impact of the virus from a therapeutic setting.

I received a phone call yesterday from a couple that I had been seeing for counselling. They were spending time together, but this was very new, normally they lived very busy lives and met up at night and weekends; now they were on top of each other and it was driving them crazy, cramped up in a small house.

I reminded them that a healthy couple relationship is a balance between togetherness and separateness; too much togetherness and it feels like suffocation, too much separateness and it feels like the whole thing is falling apart.

But here’s the thing: every couple has their own sense of what is the right proximity from and to each other, its actually called the intimacy gap (not really such a great name, perhaps).

Were going to have to learn new habits, the old motto in couple relationships about spending more time together wont work; our whole lives will have to be led in a mindful, deliberate, aware manner if we are to get through this. Jon Kabat-Zinn says of mindfulness that it “means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

Be mindful, deliberate in your connections and distancing; when this ends (and it will) you will need this skill to recalibrate new habits (which are old habits) all over again.

At this time of crisis, with the virus chomping at our heels, we just might be experiencing too much togetherness; if so, use that morning exercise and go out on your own, store up your “alone battery” and bring it back into the relationship, it’s one  way of keeping your relationship fresh and alive.


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