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Articles from July 2020

July 13, 2020

Too Much Togetherness?

Whether it's because you're recently retired or laid off or working from home during a pandemic, it's possible to find yourself suddenly spending a lot more time with your spouse. And at some point, it will stop feeling like a vacation. What can you do about this?

First, remember that most of us need some quality time together, one of Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages. It might even be your spouse's primary love language, the one he or she needs to feel loved. Quantity does not substitute for quality. Be sure to schedule or spontaneously create quality time together. Quality time blocks out other distractions. You stay present in the moment, whether that moment is a conversation, playing a game, dancing together, fishing, playing tennis, paddling a canoe, or meditating together.

We also both need contact with friends and family. Create a place in your home where you can join them on video chats or phone calls in private and sometimes as a couple.

And don't forget privacy. You might need a few new customs in your home to make up for the loss of privacy provided by your work breaks away from home or your commute to and from work. How can you signal, in a friendly way, that you don't want to be disturbed for anything short of an emergency for now? It might be where you sit, the hat you place on your head, or something you hang over the doorknob, any friendly way to say, "not now, please."

You might run out of things to say after so many hours together, especially without the stimulations offered by vacation travel. Awkward silence can strain a relationship. So, if either of you is an extravert, consider a video dinner party where you converse with friends while you two eat together. For introverts, a travelogue video or a recorded concert, with the pause button right on your table for commenting, might be what you need.

And if you live with children, be sure to give yourselves some adult-only time. You don't want to start communicating through your interactions with the children. It happens to lots of folks, but it's not healthy.

It's been 16 years since my husband and I began the together almost all the time lifestyle. It's a little tougher this year, without the ability to safely gather with any friends in person or travel, but once you work out the kinks, it's actually fun.

The Author

Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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