Thousands of people around the UK have been working from home for some time now, but with Boris Johnson’s address confirming the country is in lockdown – and that only key workers will be leaving their homes to go to work – we’re looking at another month of quarantine.
This reality presents different issues no matter what your situation; young families keeping children entertained, house shares can be difficult at the best of times, while those living alone could experience loneliness.
But this news means a drastic change for those living with a partner, too. The transition from dating someone to living with them always means getting used to your other half’s little quirks and it’s normal for some of the mystique to somewhat slip.
But living with someone, and looking forward to seeing their face at the end of the day, is quite different we think you’ll agree to being trapped inside with them for the next three weeks.
This, combined with feeling a little down and having spent the last eight days sat in your pyjamas with unwashed hair, is hardly conducive to romance, is it? So how do you keep the magic alive when your partner is literally the only other human you’ll interact with for foreseeable future?
In these strange, unprecedented times we’ve reached out to a host of relationship experts for advice on how to still create a bit of romance when quarantining with your partner.
Keep as separate during your working day
Natasha Briefel, dating app Badoo’s UK Brand Marketing Director recommends: “During the working day you should try and mimic your normal lifestyle - whether that’s by working in separate spaces or phoning friends and family for a chat. It’s normal to get on each other’s nerves as you’ve probably never spent this amount of time together, so try and ensure you’re not stepping on each other’s toes – this will do wonders when you do come together again.”
Start with the little things
Marine Ravinet, Head of Trends at dating app happn says simple things can mean a lot: “While ‘classic’ romantic gestures may consist of visits to restaurants and weekends away, in this time of isolated solidarity, it’s an opportunity to take things back to basics with your partner – no matter how long you’ve been together. Simple gestures can be romantic, from making that unexpected cup of tea or breakfast in bed.
Dress up at least once a week
Presenter and author of Where’s My Happy Ending?, Anna Whitehouse, says: “My wardrobe has edged towards unhinged – think thermals with a Totes Toastie sock and polka dot headscarf. Comfort is king, and while working in ‘the outside world’ made me slightly more presentable, my partner is about to be bombarded by my elasticated best. It goes for him too – he’s currently in a hoodie from the last millennium. We’ve decided to dress like our former selves once a week and have dinner together that evening to save turning into an advert for a retirement home.”
Recreate date night at home
Ravinet adds: “Make time for date night at home by replicating things you would do on a Friday night but at home. This could be creating a cinema in the front room for a movie night, or playing boardgames perhaps, all of these gestures will leave a lasting feeling with your loved one.”
Create some atmosphere
“Take the reins and crack open that bottle of champagne that’s been on hold for a ‘special occasion only’. Light some candles around the house, dig out old photos and memories, and get to know each other again,” says Ravinet.
Whitehouse says: “The ability to use outside events – other than the relentlessly depressing news – to stimulate conversation has gone. It’s just us, our mild disillusionment with each other and a Groundhog Day existence. Recognise that a cheeky bum squeeze by the recycling bin is the equivalent of date night, and things start to look up.”
Digitally detox for the night
Ravinet explains the importance of abandoning screens: “Put your phones away, and use this unexpected opportunity we’ve been given to reconnect, because who knows, this time of social separation could create an even more special connection in-house.”
Images: Getty / Unsplash