marriage pandemic fatigue

Your relationship feels as on hold as the rest of your life during quarantine. You're ignoring each other instead of saying, "good morning, honey!" You're getting frustrated with things that never used to bother you. You're not connecting. You're worried something's wrong with your relationship.

Your marriage isn't the problem. It's just the pandemic.

This is hard.

You might be experiencing the surge depletion and emotional exhaustion that months of quarantine and nonstop togetherness with your partner can bring on. All that closeness can take a toll. Always being in each other's space doesn't give you a breather from home life, or each other.


You are together, but feel alone.

This is really hard.

Being together all the time, while also being stressed out all the time, can lead to feeling detached and disengaged from your partner, which might cause you to wonder if there's a real problem brewing. But most likely, your emotional reserves are burned out, leaving you with no energy left for emotional connection, let alone everyday pleasantries like just saying "hello"...

Having the opportunity to spend quality time with your partner during quarantine is nice, but you might have way more of it than you want.

This is really, really hard.

In addition to emotional exhaustion, science tells us that overfamiliarity may also interfere with a desire to connect with your partner when you are mostly confined to your home. It's difficult to balance connectedness with personal autonomy when you are with each other all the time. That lack of individuality can result when your lives have become so intertwined that there is no longer a sense of each of you having a life that is separate from the other.

In this state of overfamiliarity, it can be difficult and emotionally depleting to maintain boundaries between each other. So, acknowledging your partner with a simple hello over your morning coffee can feel positively draining—like the simplest connection is an invitation to sap your already-depleted self dry.

It might seem counterintuitive, but you can feel disconnected from your partner because you're together too much. And recharging with your partner is a way to reconnect with them. Here's how to combat closeness fatigue:

  • Do something you actually like doing together. Go back to the old rituals of connection you can do during quarantine—like a daily walk in the park, or a glass of wine in the backyard. These gestures make deposits into your joint emotional bank account that can be drawn upon to spark more connection.
  • Try something new together. Find new values and activities to establish a sense of shared meaning, purpose and partnership.
  • Make time to be kind to each other. Try to praise, validate, thank or appreciate your partner at least once a day—even if it feels weird. Your partner wants to be seen just as much as you. Even if you are together all the time.
  • Remember the good. Focus on your partner's strengths—and all the things they do right. Dwelling on the negative and annoying will just fuel your worry and stress.

If recharging together seems like too much effort at the moment, that's okay. Another way to combat emotional depletion and reestablish individuality in your relationship is to take time for yourself.

Emotional burnout and feeling disconnected in your relationship doesn't mean there is cause for worry—it might just mean that you could use some self-care. Not only is it okay to need some alone time, it's important for your health as an individual and for your relationship to maintain whatever self-care means to you.

As a team that has gone through a lot together, you can grow even closer by working together to battle your emotional exhaustion and closeness fatigue. Talk about it and be sure to give each other the space to feel and be seen. A little goes a long way. By using these unprecedented circumstances to grow stronger together, you can develop a resilience that better enables you to weather even more than a prolonged, high-stress time, like the quarantine of a global pandemic. Learning more about what it takes to support and empower each other will sustain your relationship and well-being, and that's good for your lives in or out of a pandemic.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

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    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

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    Janod wooden doll stroller

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    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

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    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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