Fighting With Your S.O. in Quarantine is Inevitable (Here's How We Moved Past Ours)

More tipsy dance parties, please.
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emily and geoffrey

A little over a week ago, G and I got into our first fight of quarantine—and before going any further, let me just start by saying that arguing during quarantine is no joke. Tensions are particularly high these days for all of us, but the extreme closeness adds another tricky element to this strange time. There's no opportunity to "get some space" when you're rubbed the wrong way. 

In this particular instance, I woke up on Sunday morning just feeling off (I've been having a lot of those recently). I felt like I had nothing to look forward to besides laundry, cleaning, and a temperamental five-year-old. G left for our once-a-week grocery run, and I had agreed to clean the house while he was out. As soon as I was finishing the kitchen, he walked in the door with zero groceries—he didn't want to wait in the massive line that snaked around the market.

I didn't lose my cool, but I was frustrated that something as essential as getting food for our family was so difficult. It was in that moment that I just needed space. I put on my headphones and continued to clean, but when G saw that I was struggling, he tried to find a solution. He asked me repeatedly if anything was wrong (and I recognize how lucky I am, that this is what set me off), but all I craved and wanted was space. I wanted to be on a walk on a beach or at brunch with my girlfriends. 

Look, I know I sound like a monster because of course I should be appreciative of just how fortunate we are that we don't have to socially distance from each other, but in that moment, I didn't feel lucky. I felt stressed and stuck. 

Finally, I snapped at him and said I didn't want to talk. I told him what a bad head space I was in, and that's when G said, "So am I, but it makes me feel like you hate me when you won't talk to me or let me help you." All of a sudden, in addition to feeling sad, angry, and frustrated, I also felt like the worst wife in the world. Having your husband tell you that it feels as though you hate him is not what you want to hear on a Sunday morning. 

We ended up putting on a movie for Sloan so I could get out of the house on a walk and he could work out. I talked to my mom and one of my best friends, and came to the conclusion that I first needed to apologize to G—I never want him to feel anything other than loved and supported—but to caveat that there are times when I need my space. By the time I came back, we were both able to be civil.

G and I are normally really good at fighting, which feels like a weird thing to be proud of, but it's true. We typically move past things really quickly so we can get back to the space of loving each other. And this was one of the longest times we've ever gone before getting back to that space. 

We both "apologized," but remained resentful for hours. I felt resentful that he unloaded on me when I was having a rough morning, and he felt resentful that there was no room for him to unload. I'd like to say that our initial conversation after my walk cleared things up completely, but instead we stewed all day long

We avoided each other to the best of our ability, within the confines of a house, and took turns spending time with Sloan. It wasn't until I put her to sleep that we were able to actually come to a resolution. 

As soon as I finished explaining my feelings to him, he told me that it feels like there's never a good time to talk about his feelings. It was the first time he really opened up to me about just how terrified he was: about getting sick, being able to maintain our business, and so, so many things. He told me he was trying to keep his shit together and be strong for our family, and that when he couldn't get through to me earlier, he felt like he was failing me.

We realized we were both coming from similar spaces, but Geoffrey is someone who is stoic and keeps his head down. He will allow things to ricochet off of him until... it gets to be too much. And then, it can be the smallest, most insignificant thing that sets him off (like a wife that needs space, or a grocery store line). This time, I was able to have the empathy to actually listen, and be strong for him, until we reached a real resolution. 

Our goal moving forward is to not allow things to build up to that point; to communicate when we're dealing with heavy thoughts. But we're also making room for dance parties in our kitchen with wine in hand, because it's okay to find happiness among the unhappiness. It's not to say we haven't had small bickering moments since then—it's impossible not to when you're spending 24 hours a day together without an outlet—but we're better about moving past quicker so we can get onto tipsy nightly dance parties.