Stuck together and sticking it out in a quarantined uncuffing season

Q:

We joked all winter that we met during cuffing season, and that cuddling through dark cold nights would be nice only while they lasted. Well, spring is here, sunshine hours are growing longer, and the jokes are starting to gnaw at me a little.

After three months of indoor life, we’re out more, and temptation is everywhere. Not only that, but the monotony of being cooped up wears a little thin. We are familiar with each other’s every move and utterance, and tempers can be shorter than they once were.

How can we keep it interesting — and keep each other — through this season and all the ones to come?

Dear Cuffed & Cooped:

One of the best things about spring is the relief of more sunlight hours and opportunities to shake the shackles of winter climates. Spending so much time together through winter, some couples do expose the cracks in their relationship until spring cleaning their love life means it’s time to bolt.

This year, little did you expect to be cooped up together even longer with the pandemic pandemonium of 2020. You may be literally required to stay together as an increasing number of people are being told to stay inside or do outdoor activities only with the people who live in the same home.

Luckily, there are things you can do during any “uncuffing season” to strengthen your bonds even as they are stretched and tested.

Nurture Your Affection. Resist the rabbit hole of who else is out there vs. your partner’s idiosyncrasies. Spend time thinking of what you love about them. Go out of your way to show you care. Flirt. Keep the butterflies in your stomachs with sweet nothings and special surprises.

Don’t Shut Them Out. If you’re angry, go out of your way not to avoid them. It’s really just game-playing, and it doesn’t solve anything. If you don’t talk it out, the problems will persist.

Compromise. Relationships are not about winning. It’s not about seeing who gives in first. Start with small stuff, like where to eat and what to watch, then giving a little on the big stuff will be easier.

Only Argue About Solvable Issues. You can work out who gets which side of the bed or who takes out the trash. You shouldn’t try to change religious or political differences. Stop harping on core beliefs that are part of who they are.

Value Their Opinions. One of the big reasons we seek out relationships is for support during tough times. When you ask for advice, make sure they know it’s because you value their input, even if you choose not to follow it. No need to put each other down or try to sway every opinion.

The Q is intended for entertainment purposes and not as professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected]

Illustration by Brad Gibson

This column originally ran in Q magazine. Read the full issue below:

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