Human Contact: Too much and too little

When they first announced the lock-down I thought it would not affect my life much. Except maybe I needed to be more economical with toilet paper. I was already working from home for the last eight months taking care of my daughter. My daily routine consisted of waking up, starting work, waking her up for breakfast, work, making lunch, playtime at home, nap at home or a walk trough the park, playtime until my wife came home from work. As you can see the lock-down would not affect anything here. In fact I was looking forward to my wife doing more home office so we could share some childcare.

But lots of small things changed or simply vanished. My meetups and support groups stopped coming together, little pieces of human contact like chatting with my favorite saleswoman went away, my wife and I spent way more time cooped up together than before, museums, galleries and yoga studios closed, even playgrounds were off limits. And after a while I really felt that something was missing. Human contact. I did not have less human contact, in fact whatever contact I lost outside I made up with more time with my immediate family. But it is a funny thing. Something was too much. Human contact.

Loosing my meetups, contact with friends and acquaintances and my close access to art (which is for me quite important) made me unhinged and unstable. I am already not the most stable person around and it made my mood swings more intense. But what I was missing on human contact this way became too much at home. My wife was constantly around. There was no quiet time for me. And the worst part was that I more and more saw what kind of human contact she could not provide me with. The kind I had with other people. And yes she felt the same way.

Now I don’t believe that a partner should be perfect. I am totally fine with knowing what we can give each other and what not. A relationship has always some compromises and besides it seems to me quite unhealthy to rely on one person for all your relationship needs. That is why we have friends, family, coworkers, kinky play dates or some even enjoy multiple partners.

So we began to grate on each other. Me more than her because my balance is easier to disturb I guess. It was too much close contact. We both missed different kinds of connections, different perspectives and different experiences. We no longer missed each other and anticipated our “reunion” after a day of work. We saw each other all the time. It was like the show “Big Brother”. People were cooped up without much to do and the only thing they did was fighting. My life felt like this except for the cameras. So we fought and cried a lot.

It hurts to see that there are things your partner needs and that you can’t provide and vice versa. And there is no one else to show my disappointment which starts a bad cycle anyway. It is better now. We discovered what made us so edgy and stressed out with each other and we try to acknowledge what we both miss. Being working parents is difficult and it is even more taxing when no one can leave their parental and familial role behind for a few ours to do some yoga with others or visit an art museum with a friend.

Even with the lifting of some restrictions it will take a long time to recover our social lives. I don’t know at what point we will have meetups, yoga sessions or even parties and concerts this year or if people even want to do such things before there is a cure or vaccine.

Human contact is a weird thing. Either too little or too much is unhealthy. Everyone’s balance is different but I suspect the lock down has messed us all up a bit.

Wicked Wednesday

10 thoughts on “Human Contact: Too much and too little

  1. Modesty Ablaze

    Yes everyone’s balance is different … and the difficulties of this situation will be more difficult for some. But I am hopeful that people’s resilience and acceptance of new challenges will eventually prevail.
    Xxx – K

  2. Posy Churchgate

    Very true – interesting post. My family are all quite insular, I am the most sociable of us all, but it has meant no ‘quiet’ time for the ones that need it. No change of scenery for me, and I need that. I find i really look forward to the early morning walk I take with just the dog for company, and I really need to try and go different routes each day.
    I am glad you’ve been able to communicate with each other about your struggles – thanks for sharing.

  3. missy

    We are lucky in that the four of us here together have got on really well. I realise they it can be hard though and it has made me reflect that much of our life is online and so we don’t have as much to give up as some people. I hope that you will find a way through 😊

  4. May More

    You are so right – it feels a little like the big brother TV show. I agree it is very difficult to not grate on each other. I am glad you have worked through that bit – I think it is my turn to do that in my life now 😉

  5. a mental switch Post author

    Thanks. I can’t really give you any advice but maybe it helps to acknowledge to each other that the beloved partner can be quite annoying at times and then laugh about it together 😉

  6. Jupiter Grant

    Yes, it’s interesting that every individual has their own balance of human contact that they need to feel that their equilibrium is being maintained, and balance is such a tricky-, well, balancing act! It often doesn’t take very much to knock it off kilter, and that small movement can have big consequences. It must be very difficult to never have your own time and connections. I know for myself that I find such situations terribly claustrophobic. I wish I had some pearls of wisdom to share, but all I can offer is to say that I empathise with your situation, and hope that you can both navigate this tricky time where the balance of human contact is being thrown off so markedly.

  7. Marie Rebelle

    I am in the lucky position that my husband and I love being together 24/7, but understand that it can’t be like this for everyone. What I really miss is seeing our adult children, and our grandchildren. And also going out for lunch or dinner or drinks with friends. I haven’t thought about it that way, but that indeed is the kind of human contact I miss. It’s good that you and your wife could talk about it, and know what it is you miss. I think that, in a way, makes the burden easier to carry. Take care!

    Rebel xox

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  9. Alethea Hunt

    You can’t be everything to everyone all the time and taking time away from family, even within your own walls, is really important. Multi-tasking your down time while never actually getting away from anyone is really difficult. With three YP at home, my partner and I organise separate downtime, while one of us takes the children out, and we are mindful this is not frittered away on something meaningless. An hour with your favorite museum on the TV in an otherwise silent house might be soul-feeding. Making space is never a failure in a relationship, but a sign you are responsive to each other’s needs…and I am sorry lockdown is difficult for you in this way. I hope you find balance in the weeks to come.


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