How to Quarantine with Your S.O. and Still Be Independent

When this pandemic became our everyday reality, we all had to find our quarantine buddies. Some went home to their families, while the rest of us chose to stay indoors with friends or partners. As many of us may have realized, living with someone is very different from quarantining with them. Without a regular school or work schedule, we find ourselves being with the people we live with a whole lot more. 

If you’re spending quarantine with a significant other, having your own life outside of the relationship might seem less and less possible. Personally, I’m quarantining with my two roommates and my boyfriend, and I’ve found it difficult to keep doing my own thing when I spend a majority of my time with my partner. If you’re like me, here’s some tips on staying independent while in quarantine with a significant other.

  1. 1. Designate a Space That is Your Own

    MacBook Air on white desk beside gold-colored study lamp and spiral books

    This one can apply to significant others as well as roommates. Coronavirus means that everyone is home together a majority of the time. Have a space that you don’t have to share with anyone, even if it's just a side of your room or a desk. Being in quarantine with someone means you’re bound to spend a lot of time together, so it's nice to have an area where it's all your own.

    For me, this place is my desk/makeup table. I know that none of my boyfriend’s things will end up among my makeup brushes and palettes. It's a space dedicated to my interests and hobbies, completely unrelated to my romantic relationship. 

  2. 2. Have Your Own Personal Hobbies

    watercolor painting

    Don’t feel compelled to try and share every one of your interests with your partner. It's perfectly fine to like things that they aren’t necessarily into. Spending time doing your own thing while your partner does the same will ultimately keep you from getting sick of each other. 

    While it may be easy to fall into a pattern of doing things together all the time during quarantine, doing things separately can remind you that you’re an individual beyond this relationship. While I spend my free time writing quarantine-themed articles like this, my boyfriend leaves me alone and plays videogames with his friends online. 

  3. 3. Don't Forget About Your Individual Friendships

    Facetime! Zoom! Email! Letters! Literally do anything to keep in touch with your friends during this time. With everyone stuck at home for the most part, it's easier than ever to call up your friends and talk for hours. Right now is not the time to be completely consumed with your romantic relationship and forget about all the other relationships in your life. 

    Setting a daily or weekly time for both of you to talk to your own friends also helps to create some semblance of a schedule. Being stuck at home makes time seem like it's not really passing, so something as simple as a regular schedule for talking to friends can make everything feel a little more normal. 

  4. 4. Split Up Household Responsibilities

    a woman stands over the stove cutting an herb out of a pot on the window sill with a pair of scissors. there are pans of pasta stirfry on the burner.

    For couples in quarantine together that aren’t used to spending this much time in the same house or apartment, navigating household chores might be something new. If one person in the relationship is more inclined to cook or clean, the other person could become dependent on them. In my apartment, I started to get used to my boyfriend cooking dinner for us almost every night. I forgot that I also like to cook sometimes, so we had to make the conscious effort to switch off every once in a while. This way, our daily routine doesn’t cling to the idea that he has to make dinner and I have to clean up after every night. 

    Having individual responsibilities keeps everyone from getting too dependent on each other (and prevents one person from having to do all the housework). It also creates an activity to perform separate from your partner, one you can possibly take some pride in. 

  5. 5. Set Aside Time For School or Work

    Depending on the person, it might be hard to work or be productive around your significant other. For those of us who are doing classes online, it's important we schedule out when our work is due and set aside a time to do schoolwork. If you and your partner have different work/school demands, make sure you’re both aware of this so everyone can have the time they need to get their work done. 

    If you’re like me, having online classes and a lot more free time almost makes it harder to stay focused. Quarantining with a S.O. can make it even easier to get distracted, as my boyfriend and I figured out about three days into online classes. We figured out that we both work best in the morning, so we dedicated that time to not bothering each other while we work.

If you’re having a great time being in quarantine with your partner, then don’t overthink it. Just remember that you’re still your own person, even though you might find yourself spending all your time with your partner now. It's about creating a balance between the hours-long Netflix binges with your partner and the time you dedicate to yourself and your interests.