Let’s face it, the majority of us have been lucky enough to be ‘locked up’ with our significant others for going on a year now. With little to no contact with our friends and family, we’ve relied on each other for all social contact and entertainment. In some ways it’s been like an extended honeymoon or a practice-run for retirement. It’s drawn many of us closer together with our partners and in other cases, some couples have discovered that a relationship they thought would stand the test of time couldn’t stand the first 3 months of lockdown.
In extreme circumstances like this, it’s very easy to become complacent and start taking your partner for granted. Those little things that they do to help you out throughout the day start to go unnoticed and instead become ‘expected’. Those chatty conversations that you used to have after work become too much to process after a day spent sitting in front of a computer screen, so you start inadvertently tuning each other out. Some days you just get on each other’s tits and all you want is a bit of quiet time to yourself where you haven’t got to ‘do’ anything or interact with anyone.
If you’re starting to worry that you and your partner are no longer making the effort with each other but have no clue what to do about it then we have a few ideas for you. As Valentine’s day draws near, we’ve scoured the land for some hints and tips on how to keep the romance alive in Lockdown and we humbly present them to you below. We hope that they get you thinking and relight the fires of your stay-at-home romance:-
Just because we’re in lockdown doesn’t mean that date night needs to be missed. After all, does anyone even remember what going to a restaurant was like? All that springs to my mind are faded memories of food brought to a table and many glasses of wine – you can easily recreate that atmosphere in lockdown….But seriously, just because we can’t go out anywhere, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a romantic meal together at home.
Nominate a couple of nights a month where you really make the effort and get into the spirit of the evening. Dress up in your fanciest date night clothes, turn off the telly and light some candles, get Alexa to play you some smooth jazz and crack open a bottle of wine together. When it comes to the food, the choice is yours. You can take turns cooking and nominate a meal theme every date night. You could order your favourite takeaway and serve it up on your fanciest plates. You could be adventurous and plan a winter barbecue or a cocktail and canapes evening.
Whatever you end up doing, the point is that you are making the effort for each other and injecting a bit of excitement into your lives. If things go well, you could even have dessert upstairs….
This idea is pretty out there but stay with us on this. If you want to plan a surprise for your partner but don’t know where to start, why not set up your very own scavenger hunt? Life in lockdown can get pretty dull so introducing a bit of an adventure into your romance can be a fun challenge. You could create a list of meaningful items from your relationship and hide them around the house for them to find (try not to make them too obscure, the point is for them to win not test their knowledge of your relationship at an atomic level). You could make it clue based and have them solve a riddle to find the next clue until eventually, they get their prize – you! (Please note, rather than clues, you could also use your clothes instead….)
Why not set aside one night a week where you put your phones away, close the curtains, make some popcorn, turn off the lights and watch a movie together. How many of us actually watch movies without looking at their phones? Recreate the cinema experience and snuggle up with your partner on the sofa. If you’re looking for some movie inspiration why not check out our recent romantic movies blog for a bit of inspiration.
Walk and Talk
Staring at four walls all day can induce quite a bit of cabin fever and leave you feeling irritable and anxious – not great feelings for romance. Why not take an hour out of your day to wrap up warm, leave your phones at home and go out for a walk together. The change of scenery will do you both the world of good and a bit of exercise will get those endorphins going. Without your phones glued to your hands, you could even enjoy a bit of conversation…
Reminding your partner that they are the most special person in your life is something that many people take for granted. They’re supposed to know without you having to say it right? But if you haven’t said it for ages, your partner can end up feeling underappreciated and perhaps assume that your feelings for them have dimmed from what they once were. It’s irrational but that’s love baby.
Take some time out to show them that you care – write them a love letter and post it so that it actually arrives back at your house and they see the effort that you have put in (everyone loves getting unexpected letters from their loved ones). If that’s not enough, start leaving them little love notes around the house in places where you know they will find them but they wouldn’t expect, like in the fridge or the wardrobe, inside the case of their favourite DVD, under their pyjamas, inside their sock drawer – the wackier the better. You could also leave them a message on your bathroom mirror, so the next time they get out of the shower, the first thing they see will be a message from you.
Before Lockdown, I used to pick up a little gift for my partner every time I went shopping. It would often be something small like a funny keyring or his favourite chocolate bar. There’s no reason we can’t do the same thing in lockdown, with the added bonus that it gets delivered straight to your house. Set aside a little £10 budget every month and find your partner a funny treat on the internet. If anything, it will guarantee a new conversation starter and show them that you’ve been thinking about them and looking for ways to make them smile.
Breakfast in Bed
Quite possibly the most decadent stay at home treat is breakfast in bed. I honestly can’t remember the last time it happened. There is nothing finer than waking up to the smell of fresh coffee and frying bacon and knowing that it is going to be brought upstairs to you by the person you love. If I feel that way, I’m sure a lot of other people do too! Also, just to clarify, this doesn’t have to only happen on a special occasion. It could happen once a month or every weekend – the choice is yours!
Here’s an idea for you. Get two empty jars – one for you and one for your partner. Write down a list of things that you do to make them smile or chores they don’t like or even compliments that you want to give them and get them to do the same for you. Cut your lists up into individual things, fold them up and put them in your jars. Now exchange them. Once per week or how ever often you want, you and your partner can pick out a treat/compliment/chore that the other person has written just for them. It’s personal, it can be ongoing and it shows each other just how thoughtful you can be.
Struggling to connect with each other after months of lockdown? Why not take up a hobby together and develop a shared interest in something you can both enjoy. It will help you to grow closer together, give you something new to talk about and provide you with something fun to do. You could get your pottery on, like Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost or take up dancing (plenty of online tutorials) or gardening like Monty Don. There are plenty of new online classes and videos popping up all the time so have a little look on the internet and get inspired!
The great Greek storyteller, Aesop, was right. No act of kindness is ever wasted and being kind to our loved ones in Lockdown is really important. We’re all going through stress and anxiety and our whole way of life has been put on hold. Having the person we love treat us indifferently or badly is only going to make a bad situation even worse.
Try to remember to say thank you for the little kindnesses we normally take for granted – like a cup of tea made unexpectedly or putting the washing away without being asked. If you can see they’re really busy with work, make them some lunch without being asked. If their back is cracking at the end of the day, give their shoulders a little rub or run them a hot bath. It’s the little things in life that make each day worthwhile, so why not help make their day?
Remember, love is a journey, not a destination. It’s the little moments and actions we take that build the foundations of a strong relationship. Take time out to do something special with your partner this weekend. Valentine’s Day may have been made up by a card company but it still provides us with an opportunity to show them we care. Make sure you use it.