Recognize that it is totally okay to want alone time, especially right now, and that every couple is different. Some act as partners in every aspect of their lives, and others have very separate worlds. As hard as some moments or days may be with your partner, know that there are other people who are completely isolated through this. Use this time to keep the one you have close to you and to build each other up.
Be good to yourself,
Ask Andy: How Do I Learn How to Live Alone in the Middle of a Pandemic?
My roommate/best friend/coworker (all one person) left me to go isolate with her boyfriend about two weeks ago. At first I wasn’t mad because I figured I would have done the same, but now the loneliness of what is essentially complete isolation is starting to hit me. How do I keep myself from resenting my roommate, and do you have any tips for combating this isolation when FaceTime just isn’t enough? –Solo Steve
Dear Solo Steve,
First and foremost, you have to take a step back. Why cause yourself pain by being consumed by your roommate when, now more than ever, we should be thinking about the things that make us feel good? I’m constantly reminding myself that this is not the time to be critical of yourself or anyone else. This is time to be gentle and kind.
Give yourself a break, but continue to have structure by making a list of practices that you can look forward to throughout the day. Think about your needs, your desires, and how to keep yourself in a state of calm, acknowledging that, because of the circumstances we’re in, stability and happiness may feel elusive. Some people are trying to learn new skills like baking sourdough, hosting virtual dance parties, and cooking more than ever. It’s also okay to just survive for a bit, without feeling obligated to learn something new or be creative. I have days when I want to be experimenting in the kitchen or looking through The World of Interiors for design inspiration. Other days I am just trying to exist and maintain connections with people I care about by checking on friends, family, and coworkers more than I usually would. If someone doesn’t get back to me, I hold no resentment, because nobody knows what each of us is experiencing and when, since everyone deals with trauma differently.
Be honest about what will provide you with a sense of calm, because I think that is what a lot of us are searching for right now. Step onto your fire escape, walk around the block, go to a park and hug a tree for dear life. Ask yourself what feels most natural.
We take it for granted that we can text, call, and FaceTime whenever we want, but we should feel lucky that we have the ability to connect. Obviously it will never replace physical touch—a hug, a handshake, a kiss, sex—but it’s essential for our minds and souls to maintain connection. You can still make memories even though it feels like the whole world is on pause. You can still create those moments; they just might be different than what you’re used to.
When it comes to your roommate, this is not the time to turn our backs on one another. You’re already two steps ahead by acknowledging that you would probably do the same thing in their position and recognizing that you could develop a certain amount of resentment over time.
When I’ve experienced moments of resentment or anger towards someone, it’s never satisfying and does no one any good in the long run. It adds to our pain and keeps us from thinking clearly. When all of this settles down, I hope you’ll welcome each other back into your lives. Our minds, bodies, and hearts will be so in need of human connection, and the last thing I would want you to do is push another human away.
Be good to yourself,