If your marriage has been struggling for a while, maybe the thought of leaving your spouse has taken up a permanent space in your mind. Or maybe you had planned on trying to work things out with marriage counseling, better communication, etc. But with the recent stay-at-home orders and social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, life, as we know it, has changed.
Perhaps being quarantined with your spouse has made you realize that your marriage is truly over. But, this time of isolation isn’t over. So, how can you survive the time at home with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, knowing what’s to come?
Be Kind and Compassionate
Just because you’ve come to the realization that your marriage is done, it isn’t an automatic excuse to treat your spouse poorly.
Choose kindness and compassion, even if things are tense. Now isn’t the time to purposefully be cruel. Remember, you still have to stay with this person, in close quarters—at least for a while! With that in mind, it’s also a good idea to put off any difficult discussions that might result in even more tension or arguments.
That doesn’t mean you need to walk on eggshells or fake your way through the rest of your time in quarantine. But these are uncertain and strange times for everyone. We’re all looking for comfort and peace. By focusing on the negativity in your marriage, you’ll only make things harder for yourself.
Focus On the Right Behaviors
It’s okay to keep your end goals in mind as you work through this time. Remember who you are and who you want to be. Re-evaluate your beliefs and values and focus on behaviors that get you where you want to be.
You may have a lot of extra time on your hands right now. Maybe you’re working from home or spending extra time with the kids. Use that time to figure out what it is you really want to do (and what you’re going to do) when social distancing orders lift. You can start planning and preparing now, so you’ll be more in control of the outcome when you decide to talk to your spouse about it.
Take Care of Yourself
Because these are uncertain times, it’s easy to feel tired, stressed, and overwhelmed. That can lead to even more discord with your spouse.
Take time out for yourself when you’re feeling these things, or even if you’re feeling vulnerable about your marital situation. Find things that help you to unwind and de-stress. Remember, you can still get outside, take walks, plant a garden, etc. Getting some exercise can help you to feel better, as well as the fresh air.
If you really feel like you’re stuck inside, try reading a book, listening to music, or cooking. Wake up at the same time each day (as tempting as it can be to sleep in!), and try to follow a similar schedule as much as possible. Finding ways to stick with a somewhat normal routine can help you to feel more relaxed and grounded.
Don’t fall victim to letting your feelings during this strange time dictate the way you act. People often say things when they’re stressed or overwhelmed that they either don’t mean or later regret. While that can be especially tempting when you’re stuck in close quarters with someone, it’s better to wait until things calm down and you feel somewhat normal again to talk through those decisions.
The Bottom Line…
Remember, this situation won’t last forever. While things might seem strange and tense right now, consider the fact that it has also given you more insight and clarity into your marriage and into doing what’s best for you.
If you’re going through a divorce or you need help re-establishing your sense of self, please contact the San Diego Divorce Counseling Center at www.DivorceCounselingCenter.com and click the Book Online button, or call us at 619-865-3203, to set up an appointment.