Have you met someone great while you’re staying at home, or maybe right before…
And you want to use this time to get to know each other, deepen the connection and to make sure he’s the one?
The good news is, this can be the perfect (not so perfect) time to make sure he’s in alignment with your vision of the loving relationship you want… without falling into any old destructive patterns that may have held you back in the past.
As a country we are somewhat divided in how each of us is going to define social distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some are choosing to self-isolate and forgo any social contact, period. Others are comfortable socializing at six feet distance and choosing to be outside with friends and family whether they are on a walk, a hike, or even sitting in the backyard. Some locations are enforcing a mask rule, while others are merely making it a suggestion. Some are working at an office or on the front lines. Some are working from home. Add in to the mix the possibility of children who are living in two houses that go back and forth, possibly being exposed while outside the bubble that one parent may have created, or having to have elderly parents move back, and it can be complicated when you are trying to stay safe and healthy. The bottom line is that when it comes to your new relationship, how you will spend time together during the Pandemic can become a source of controversy.
The good news is that the Pandemic is an excellent opportunity to see how you and your potential long term partner manage conflict, as well as evaluate his and your communication skills, examine your ability to express your own needs, discuss values, practice empathy, be resilient, manage stress, and build trust and commitment.
Here’s how you can prepare yourself to deepen your relationship with the right man for you:
- Get clear on your needs, first. Rely on your core values and determine which value you can deepen into to decide how you want to interpret the worldwide #stayathome edict. Whether you value freedom, security, spirituality, health, or integrity, identify which core values are underneath your choices. To ensure it feels right, take a moment to close your eyes and get quiet with yourself to connect to your intuition or ‘gut feeling.’ Use this ‘litmus’ test as a guide to what you need to be in alignment and authentic.
- Be specific. Once you know what your needs are, get clear on what behaviors are a match to living into this value. If your number one value is health or well-being, what are the behaviors you (and your family) are choosing to engage in that and honor this value? The more specific you are with these behaviors, the more easily able you will be to communicate them to your (new) partner and explain why it is important. Having a deeper conversation that involves values and the choices you make to honor those values will put you and your partner on the road to having a conversation that is based on having mutual understanding versus one that is merely ‘positional’ in which one of you is trying to simply coerce or convince the other to do things your way because you are “right.”
- Be confident. Once you know what your needs are and why these needs are important to you, do not second guess yourself or choose to put his needs before yours simply to avoid rejection. It is healthy to have boundaries and if your (new) partner does not support yours, you may discover that you have different values that might keep you from being together long-term. If you can successfully create win-win compromises that work for both of you in the short term, (even if it means that you choose not to see each other in person) you may discover qualities in him that suggest you are a couple that can go the distance. With the right person, the process of communicating authentically and developing understanding of each other’s needs will deepen your relationship overall.
- Don’t avoid the difficult conversations. Most important, be direct with your partner as soon as you can. You can use feminine communication that is both empowering and loving. It might look like, “I am feeling scared that we might not be able to see each other as much right now because we seem to be defining quarantine differently. I need ten minutes to discuss it with you.” Share your feelings vulnerably to start the conversation and then make your request. Put a time limit on the conversation so that he knows what to expect. And, be open to scheduling the conversation for a time when you both can be present without distraction. This kind of start-up will ensure that both of you approach the conversation from a place of curiosity versus defensiveness.
- Remember the Pandemic is temporary. Anxieties are high for many men and women right now, and going into the conversation with the belief that everyone is doing the best he or she can will help you see the Pandemic as a way to further identify whether or not this is a person you want to share your life with long term. Stay in alignment with your values. Communicate authentically and be curious. Hold boundaries. And, whether he is, or is not your long-term person, practice empathy.
When you adopt the belief that the Pandemic may be the best (and fastest) way to see how someone you are dating manages conflict, stress, and uncertainty, which you will both encounter again in your lives, you can be sure that you are still moving forward with your vision for healthy, romantic love.