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.