Even if you were nearly attached to your partner before the pandemic, you still had some time apart. You’d go to the gym, you’d go to work, you’d go out with friends, you’d go shopping…you had some natural time away from one another. And that was a good thing. Studies have found that many couples believe time apart is more important to the health of their relationship than date nights. The pandemic has, of course, robbed us of many of our common ways to take time to ourselves. It’s not as if you were going to go to a spa or take yourself on a date to a movie theater when COVID-19 cases were soaring. If going into an office was your way to take space, that probably went away during the pandemic, too.
No matter how much you * thought * you knew your partner before the pandemic, sharing the same space, 24/7, might have shown you things you’d never seen before. Furthermore, the completely novel and strange circumstances of a pandemic brought out sides of all of us that we didn’t know were there. Maybe you learned you can really hustle when you have to, and rise to the challenge when times are hard. Maybe you learned you’re a hermit and didn’t miss people…like at all. While you witnessed these things in yourself, you were witnessing them in your partner, too. Here are things you may have learned about your partner during the pandemic – whether you wanted to or not.
How much he talks to himself
You may not have realized how much your partner spoke to himself until now. Maybe he was always someone who said his thoughts out loud. Research has found there are actually benefits to talking to oneself, particularly when it comes time to find something. So if your partner often mutters to himself when looking for his keys or a book, he’s onto something. And if he’s just practicing an argument he’ll later have with a coworker, maybe that’s helpful, too. Between being in the same space as your partner all day, and the fact that we literally do not have as many people to speak to as we did before the pandemic, you may find your partner is always gabbing with himself.
How he behaves “at work”
If your partner used to go into an office for work and did a good job of leaving work at said office, you probably didn’t witness his business face before. You didn’t know how he sounded on work calls. Maybe he’s a lot more aggressive than you knew he could be. Maybe he’s not assertive enough – in your opinion. It can also just feel strange to be physically around your partner while being so mentally disconnected. When he’s in the zone, he has his game face on, and doesn’t notice anything going on outside of his laptop. You’re probably used to being around each other when you are ready to focus on one another, and only then. So to have your partner be within arm’s reach but ignoring you for hours on end can feel strange.
How much time he spends in the bathroom
This is something you learned about each other. Maybe you didn’t know your partner spent 45 minutes on the toilet every morning – you used to be out of the home long before he began that process. Maybe you didn’t realize how long it took him to shower. So that’s why the water bill is so big. It just seems like he’s in there all of the time. It’s gotten to the point when, if you’re wondering where he is in the home, you know he’s probably in the bathroom. You’re beginning to worry about the guy, seeing as research shows most humans have a BM somewhere between three times a day or down to every three days. Now you think he goes too much. Or…if you know a lot of details about what goes on in there…not enough.
His cooking misunderstandings
Perhaps you had no idea what your partner did (or didn’t) know about cooking before this pandemic. He’d tell you what he had for lunch or breakfast, and you didn’t think much of it. You weren’t there. For dinners, you did most of the cooking, or you ordered in. Now you watch him make every meal and learn all the weird – dare you say wrong – ways he does things. I learned that to make broccoli, my partner just cuts a big crown of broccoli in half and places it in a pool of hot oil. That oil continuously burns away, long before the broccoli is anywhere near cooked, and my husband just adds more oil. No wonder we keep running out of olive oil! Has this man never heard of steaming his vegetables?
How social he is (or isn’t)
You may have learned just how much of an extrovert or introvert your partner is during this. Ironically, if your partner is an introvert and conforms to what studies have shown, he may not be thriving the way many expected introverts to do during this time. He may be even lonelier because introverts are less likely than extroverts to stay in touch with loved ones via phone calls and video chats. Maybe your partner claimed he was an extrovert, and now you see how quickly he gives up on talking to friends in the pandemic. Maybe he said he was an introvert, but you now watch him go out of his way to keep Zoom hangouts on his schedule with buddies.
The weird shows he’s into
You knew he was kind of into documentaries about murders or collectible coins or retired athletes. But now you see just how deep he’ll dive into this genre. With plenty of free time, we’ve all become more familiar with our film and TV tastes. You may be shocked to find just how many documentaries on unsolved murders your partner can watch. You may be disturbed…You may be shocked at how many episodes of “The Great British Baking Show” he can watch. You may, again, be disturbed. But you can’t really judge him because you’ve consumed every episode of “Tiny House Nation” and “The Joy of Tidying Up.”
How he responds to a crisis
Research has found that different personality types responded very differently to the pandemic. There were even some troubling responses from sadistic and narcissistic personalities, who derived some pleasure from watching others have a difficult time. You might have learned things that either impressed you, or upset you, during this crisis. Was your partner a martyr who wanted to do all he could to help others? Or did he selfishly slam the door on a neighbor asking if he could spare some toilet paper? Did he panic and prepare for the worst, building a bunker in your home and ordering weapons built for the apocalypse? Or did he remain calm and trust things would work out?
His real hygiene habits
Maybe all of this time together showed you that your partner only washes his hair once a week. Or that he washes it twice a day (so that’s why you’re always out of shampoo). Perhaps he claimed that he flosses twice a day and has no idea why he keeps getting cavities. But you barely saw him floss once a week throughout this. And after being present for most of his trips to the bathroom (not actually present but, close enough) you’ve learned that man does not wash his hands every time he uses the toilet. Gross! You don’t want to act like his mom, but you may need to talk to him about that.
His online preferences and behaviors
Here’s another thing many of us did with our spare time: flock to the Internet. Even those who weren’t that into social media before the pandemic might find themselves poking around on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter a lot more than usual. And now you’re learning that your partner is that guy on social media. Maybe he’s that guy who posts very long, politically charged posts. Maybe he’s that guy who posts a lot of silly memes. Maybe he’s the one who gets wrapped up in all the sad stories out there, sharing every GoFundMe and Kickstarter for every dog’s surgery or homeless housing initiative.
His real cleanliness habits
Some would say it’s easy to keep a clean home when you don’t use it much. And now, you’re using it a lot. You’re making every single meal at home. No Tupperware lunches at office desks. Every cup of coffee comes from your coffee machine – not from a disposable cup in the break room. You’re setting up temporary workout and crafts areas in the living room. You’re cutting your own hair. There’s a lot going on. The same goes for your partner. You learn how naturally tidy someone really is when the messes keep piling up. How does he keep up?