Ways My Partner and I Have Staved Off Boredom During Quarantine
When you’re with your partner on a long enough timeline, you’ll find yourselves falling into a relationship rut now and then. However, when you throw in an unprecedented pandemic that shuts down not only any activity you could possibly want to do, but also cuts you off from all your friends and family, therefore effectively trapping you in your apartment alone with your significant other as your sole point of human contact and entertainment, things can get … more complicated.
I’m in an enviable pandemic situation in a lot of ways. By the time COVID hit, my fiancé and I had been together for over five years and living together for three. So, we had already built a comfort level in our relationship where we knew how to live together and were used to spending large quantities of time together uninterrupted. Now, that’s not to say we haven’t had the odd cabin fever-fueled tiff during quarantine — I’m not running for Gandhi over here. But overall, we’ve done a great job of supporting each other through this nightmare of a year.
A year that necessitated a type of support I don’t think either of us had ever anticipated needing. Every few months (or is it weeks, maybe days? What is time?), one of us will reach our wit’s end from the extreme lack of external stimulation that comes with complete and total social isolation. Okay, so it’s mainly been me, but that’s beside the point. But in order to stave off our eventual descent into madness for as long as possible, the two of us have had to get awfully creative to keep us entertained during quarantine.
"The problem with virtual solutions is that they can only carry you so far."
At first, when the stay-at-home orders were still supposed to be temporary and not an endless, soul-crushing hellscape with no end in sight, we amused ourselves by turning to the same things that a lot of other people have — Among Us, JackBox Games, and Zoom happy hours. Then, as the pandemic chewed up, spat out, and heartlessly stamped on the remains of the spring, we gave into temptation and purchased a couple of Nintendo Switches.
The problem with virtual solutions is that they can only carry you so far. When your work-from-home workday requires you to spend eight-plus hours in front of a screen, it can be hard to rely on more screen time when it comes time to unwind. So, that means we had to start getting creative. Now, I won’t pretend to be unaware of how privileged I am that one of my biggest complaints about the pandemic is mind-numbing boredom. But, there you have it.
Due to my numerous autoimmune conditions, the two of us have had to lock down pretty tight, only venturing out to go to the grocery store. A few months into the socially imposed house arrest, I turned to my fiancé, on the verge of tears, and announced, “I miss going out!” He reacted with kindness and empathy, the pandemic fatigue having worn us both down. “How about we turn the living room into a restaurant and go on a date night at home?”
The next Friday night after work, we both got changed into our now neglected going-out attire. We set up a table in the living room, turned down the lights, cooked up a couple of steaks, and opened a bottle of wine. Before we knew it, four hours had passed, filled with nothing but intimate conversation with the person with whom I had spent the majority of the year trapped inside. It’s one of my favorite dates that we’ve ever been on.
"While the pandemic has essentially eaten a year of our collective lives, we can try to focus on the (very, very few) blessings it has given us."
As the weeks of isolation continued to bleed into summer, I knew we’d need more energetic solutions to replace our usual active summer plans. Enter the online toy store. A children’s archery set became a fiercely competitive drinking game in our hands. The mini laser tag set gave us an excuse to chase each other around the house like lunatics. And who could forget all the themed board games we’ve managed to blow through in between?
But still, months later, the pandemic continued to rage on, and my well of at-home activities had begun to run dry. My fiancé took up the challenge and ran with it, planning and executing two different scavenger hunts around our apartment for me. Both ended in virtual tickets to live comedy shows starring some of our favorite performers. Getting to attend a live event, even virtually, definitely helped soothe my craving for pre-pandemic normality.
While the pandemic has essentially eaten a year of our collective lives, we can try to focus on the (very, very few) blessings it has given us. For me, I will always be grateful for the even stronger bond that I’ve been able to forge with my fiancé. In the midst of a global crisis and a year where reasons to celebrate are increasingly limited, I’ve been lucky enough to have someone by my side who will go through great lengths just to make me smile.