The other day while lying in bed, I read my girlfriend a chapter of All about Love by Bell Hooks, as sunlight streamed through the windows and fell over our bodies.
Before the coronavirus pandemic started, my girlfriend and I were in the “getting to know you” phase.
We saw each other a few days a week and had the occasional dinner date at my home. We visited parks, attended a concert, and frequented restaurants and cafes.
We were enjoying getting to know each other without an agenda and without feeling like we needed to rush anything.
There was a healthy dose of curiosity, as we started to learn about each other; about our passions, our beliefs, our likes, our dislikes. Along with the occasional daydream about what this relationship could become.
Before we decided to quarantine together, she had only spent one night at my house.
We’d thought this quarantine was only going to last for one-to-two weeks.
We are now on our sixth week of quarantining.
Because our relationship is new, we are still figuring each other out as we shelter together.
She’s realized that I get up super early in the morning with a to-do list and I’ve learned that she likes to wake up slowly to process her thoughts.
We’ve both realized that we no longer have the physical distance to process our thoughts alone, if an issue or problem arises, so we dive right in and start working through it.
I have learned we like many of the same things.We both love music and we enjoy dancing with each other. We enjoy books. We enjoy thinking about the world and we like processing our thoughts together.
Quarantining in a new relationship has been a unique experience and I’ve learned that there are some things we can do to make it a positive one.
Here are 6 things to keep in mind while quarantining in a new relationship:
1. Keep in mind that this is a new relationship. My girlfriend and I are still learning about each other and exploring each other’s likes and dislikes. She found out that I often cry happy, joyful tears. And I’ve learned that she can hoola hoop and rap. When we occasionally say the “wrong” thing to each other, we bounce back easily, because we understand that we are still figuring each other out.
2. Feng Shui your living space. I live in a decent size home. It has an upstairs and downstairs, and one of the rooms is a small office that my girlfriend and I use when we need privacy. After my last breakup, I went through a year of self-discovery and made sure that my home represented the healing that I was curating for myself. My home is full of plants (which boost my mood), beautiful words of affirmations, love altars (to help us manifest the energy we want to create), books, and incense.
3. Keep a routine. Following a schedule really makes our days go by quickly. We’ve created personal routines for ourselves—I work out in the morning, she reads. As a couple, we have started our mornings by either reading, listening to music, pulling from mediation or affirmation cards, or burning sage and palo santo sticks. It sets the tone for the rest of the day.
We’re both working from home, and we created a schedule on a white board of the things we want to accomplish throughout the day. Having a routine makes us feel like we aren’t just sitting around waiting for the quarantine to end. We feel productive throughout our day. As we move through our schedule, we cross things off our list and feel one step closer to beating this social isolation.
4. Take midday breaks. We go for social distancing walks. We talk. We listen to podcasts together. We have dance breaks. We read books together. We give each other advice. We steal kisses and cuddles. We give each other essential oil scalp massages. We laugh at memes and silly videos on our phones. The midday breaks not only help us break up a day that could otherwise feel boring and predictable; it also brings us together as couple, which helps keep the romance alive.
5. Eat dinner together. We eat dinner—mostly over candlelight—every night together. This allows us to be present for one another. It gives us the chance to debrief about our day, explore our dreams, or discuss personal and professional frustrations. It also offers a sense of nurturing and connection during a time of social isolation from others. Candles are often used in celebrations, and I like to think that we are celebrating each other and the partnership that we are cultivating.
6. Honor your need for personal space. Before meeting my girlfriend, I had been single and living by myself for over a year and a half. I enjoyed that time of living alone, as it allowed me to re-center myself. My girlfriend and I both like having alone time. I carve out personal space by focusing on the things I like to do and that bring me the most joy.
Self-awareness is key in finding personal space while sheltering in place. During this time, I find a space in the home to workout, I go for a walk on my own, or read things that interest me. I often put my headphones on and listen to my favorite music or podcasts that my girlfriend and I don’t listen to together. I find quiet time in the home to write, journal, work on personal projects, or to stay in touch with my friends through zoom, text, or phone.
My girlfriend does the same in other parts of the house. Sometimes we are able to do these things while still in close proximity to one another, just without talking to each other.
My girlfriend and I understand that we are living in uncertain times, but we believe that when this is all over, we will look back on this time and smile, because of all of the memories we are creating with each other.
If we ever forget, I made a whole highlight on Instagram of this very moment.