At times of crisis, our relationships are put to the test. To help prevent the spread of COVID 19, an unprecedented “Shelter in Place” order has required all California residents to remain at home except for essential trips. Now, after several months of sheltering, some counties have started to lift the order, while Santa Clara County—the epicenter of the state’s Coronavirus outbreak—continues to enforce the quarantine. For families living and working together 24×7, this has brought on new levels of togetherness as well as stress.
For families with children, the challenges are many. For example, how does a parent keep a child entertained and quiet, and at the same time take on a Zoom video conference call? If you’ve seen Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show: Home Edition” taping his TV show from home1 with his wife and two young daughters, you know that not everything goes as planned. You’ll also see a family that’s patient, kind, and having fun as they strive to work together.
For working couples, especially those who have never seen each other work from home, seeing another side of their significant other can be enlightening and amusing, as seen in this recent article on BoredPanda.com.2 In other situations, sheltering in place may reveal qualities about a loved one that can be unsettling, and at times, unacceptable.
But no matter how one views the significant other, it’s important to take the time now to assess the quality of the relationship. In these uncertain times, the pressures of daily life with COVID 19 can either cause cracks in our relationships—or bring us closer together. We have the unique opportunity to assess and savor the relationship, work on improving it, or in some cases, understand why it may be best to end the relationship to preserve one’s own happiness and well-being.
To help you assess the relative health your relationship, here’s an excerpt from an insightful article featured on RealSimple.com:
“14 Realistic Signs That You’re in a Healthy Relationship”2
1. You Speak Your Mind
As a couple, you express yourselves freely and honestly.
2. You Have Your Own Space
You take the time to pursue your own interests—even while you’re growing as a couple.
3. You Fight Productively and Fairly
You strive to understand your partner. And when you’re wrong? You apologize.
4. You Like Yourself and Your Partner as You Are Now
You recognize that neither of you is perfect, and you value each other as is.
5. You Make Decisions Jointly
You make decisions together and listen to each other’s concerns and desires.
6. You Find Joy
Life together is happy in simple ways. (Making dinner, laughing at the same things…)
7. You Find Balance
While your partner works long hours, you tackle chores or vice versa. You’re fair.
8. You Treat Each Other With Kindness
You treat the person you love with care, consideration, empathy, and appreciation.
9. You Trust Each Other
Healthy relationships are built on trust and a commitment to communicate – not secrets.
10. You Let Things Go
You’ll annoy each other. It’s ok to say you’re disappointed—but then let it go.
11. You Are Intimate
If you’re in a healthy relationship, you’ll feel connected—in and out of bed.
12. Your Relationship Is Your Safe Place
Your relationship should be a safety net—especially during these trying times.
13. You Talk to Your Partner, Not to Other People
When you have concerns, you share them with your partner, not your coworkers.
14. You Say the Magic Words
“I love you,” “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry.”
If your relationship fares well according to the checklist, that’s great news. However, keep in mind that no relationship is perfect. Each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, “sheltering in place” can magnify those qualities, bringing out the best and worst of us in our relationships.
For those who find themselves in a challenging relationship, now is a good time to see what you can do to make the relationship better—as well as assess if you can make it better. One problem that has been on the rise due to “sheltering in place” is domestic violence. There are other issues that couples may not be able to resolve as well.
For those of you who are trying to decide whether the relationship is too negative or harmful to continue, here’s a checklist to assess your relationship from an informative article on WomansDay.com:
Should I Get a Divorce? Experts Say These Are the Signs that You Should.3
1. You start to feel self-doubt.
When your relationship starts negatively affecting your self-worth, maybe it’s time to call it quits.
2. You find that you’re asking all of the questions.
If your partner isn’t interested in talking with you, this could be a sign of unhappiness.
3. You’re always the one being blamed.
If your partner is unwilling to compromise and work things out, it could be indicative that they are no longer meant to be in a relationship.
4. You can picture life without them.
You know things are bad when you feel nothing anymore.
5. You no longer care about fixing the problem.
If you’re no longer interested in marriage counseling, it could be another sign that you need to get a divorce.
6. You experience deep-rooted personality changes.
If you no longer have things in common, it could be a sign to call it quits.
7. Someone has unrealistic expectations.
The ability or inability to adapt to change in married life depends on having realistic expectations about one’s spouse.
8. The blending of your families failed.
Stress from failed relationships with children, step-children, parents, in-laws, and siblings are all major sources of marriage failure.
9. There’s no effort to share common interests.
When there are zero overlaps, you may have a problem.
10. Signs of contempt start to show.
Contempt is toxic to a marriage because it conveys disgust and superiority on a deep level.
11. You’re depressed.
If working to save your marriage for years leads to personal suffering, then you could be headed towards a divorce.
12. You disagree about whether to have children or not.
If one of you is absolutely sure you want a child and the other does not, you’re in trouble.
13. You’ve already “uncoupled”.
Couples whose marriages are nearly over often uncouple, or disconnect from each other, before it legally ends.
14. One spouse is a serial cheater.
Some men — and stereotypically this is men — are just not cut out for marriage; they are unable to remain monogamous, even if they seemed to have wanted to get married.
15. You’re fighting more frequently than in the past.
The arguments are redundant and never get resolved.
16. You’ve had a decrease in frequency and quality of intimacy.
There is a definite lack of interest in sex and they don’t communicate about it and don’t do anything about it,
17. One partner changes their spending habits.
The shifting of bank accounts is far more telling than a spouse may let on. It’s a sign that one is already ready to move to the divorce stage.
18. You’re constantly daydreaming about being single… or being with someone else.
This is the most serious sign of all because daydreaming often happens right before the divorce.
When it comes to relationships, only you can know what works and brings you happiness. If you find that life is going smoothly while spending this extended time with your loved ones, that’s great news. If your relationship could use improvement, we hope you find this information helpful. Or, if you have doubts about your relationship—and find that “Sheltering in Place” is bringing marital issues to the forefront—you may want to seek out a professional marriage counselor for help.
If you’re thinking of possibly filing for a divorce and need to learn more, feel free to contact a law firm that specializes in divorce and family law. At Gomez Edwards Law Group in Santa Clara County, California, we provide a free consultation. Our top attorneys are known for their expertise, compassion and savvy legal acumen. They work hard to keep you well-informed so you can move forward with confidence.
For a free consultation, call 1-408-413-1200 or visit gomezedwardslawgroup.com.
1Jonas Grinevicius and Inga Korolkovaite. “24 Times Partners Learned New Things About Their Significant Others While Seeing Them Work From Home. BoredPanda.com, March 2020, https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-partners-working-from-home-tweets/
2Corneal, Devon. “14 Realistic Signs You’re in a Healthy Relationship.” Real Simple, September 25, 2019. https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/relationships/healthy-relationship-signs
3Denise Schipani, Lenore Skomal, and Nicol Natale. “Should I Get a Divorce? Experts Say These Are the Signs That You Should.” Women’s Day, August 5, 2019, https://www.womansday.com/relationships/dating-marriage/advice/g2587/signs-your-marriage-might-be-over/