A&A Spending 24/7 With Your S.O | Quarantine Life Or RV Living?
End of Week #47
Lake Havasu State Park, Lake Havasu City AZ > Catalina Spa RV Resort, Desert Edge CA
Miles traveled since last week's post = 196
Total miles traveled to date = 7,354 with trailer
Since the last time I wrote we have crossed over into California, and have been sitting in a windy valley north of Palm Springs for almost a week now. Leaving Arizona after 2.5 months was a bit of a transition, but it feels good to be on the move and getting closer and closer to Gualala. We have been grieving the loss of our plans while we are here, as this was a spot we were supposed to meet up with some of our good friends (after not seeing them since September). This place is also a lot hotter, windier, and more deserted than Camp Verde so there really hasn't been an opportunity to hit the hiking trails either. More so than not, Adam and I have been sitting around twirling our thumbs, just impatiently waiting for Wednesday morning when we head out to start our 600 mile journey north.
Each day we have been taking time to go for independent walks around the campground and take turns laying in the bedroom to get out of the living space. Simple things like spreading out from each other has been a great way to not drive each other insane when there is nothing better to do. Today Adam even went down to the pond here at the RV park where they had catch and release fishing, just to get out of the trailer.
But the energy has been tense for us too, like it is with couples all over the world - spending extra time together and dealing with so many more stressful thoughts and situations. I've been seeing a lot of memes about couples and how sick of each other they are getting - meant to be funny of course, but I still think it's a topic worth talking more about.
A&A Spending 24/7 With Your Significant Other
For the past 11 months we have been spending mostly every second together, minus the times Adam has worked cash jobs, and not including when we go for separate strolls or errands. But either way it has been a huge transition from our "old life" where we worked opposite schedules and only saw each other 1-2 weeknights and half of the time on the weekends. Going from structured alone time and separate "lives" to being around one another 24/7 can be quite a change to get used to. Similar to what a lot of couples are going through now with state ordered quarantines and stay at home orders leaving them out of work or working from home, I know the feeling when I see the memes circling the internet about being annoyed with one another. (Or locking your husband outside - I've thought about doing it before.)
So I think it's important to talk about ways we have found to strengthen and improve our relationship while spending so much extra time together. Living with someone isn't always easy, and it can be especially challenging in smaller spaces. We are not perfect, but we have figured out ways to adjust and adapt with each other that have made for a more beneficial experience for us both. We have learned to work with each other in ways we have never had to do so before and in turn it has strengthened our relationship together too.
By no means do we know the 'right way to live with someone', but after spending so much time together for almost a year now, we have learned certain ways to make things better for each of us, and to strengthen our connection too. Ultimately only you know what's best for your own relationship and it is only something between you and your partner to figure out. But hopefully in reading through ways that we have found to work best for us, you will find something useful for yourself too!
Here is the framework we implement in our daily lives to build the foundation of our relationships with ourselves, each other, and those we care about.
Talking it out
Clear communication is key. If there is something bothering you, if you are feeling a certain way - whatever it is, you've got to talk about it. For many months now we really haven't had any other choice because you can't hide from someone in an RV, and that has forced us to learn how to communicate more clearly on our feelings, wants, and needs. Whenever anything comes up we discuss it right away and get each person's point of view, and over time we learn where to compromise in different situations - because that's how you really win! Of course it's not always easy and there are always ways to continually improve our communications, but since we have more time on our hands why not focus on it now?
Calling our friends & family
Virtual connections are more important now than they ever have been before so make sure you take time to connect with your friends and other loved ones. I've learned to get creative in ways I interact with loved ones back home and try to make video calls and updates part of a regular routine. And honestly sometimes all I need is just to talk to someone else other than Adam and the cats. :)
We have found that video happy hour calls help best to drown out reality. ;) But for real though, interacting with our friends and family on video helps make it feel like we aren't just alone together all the time, and sometimes it even seems like we are hanging out with other people in real life too. It's at least a positive way to use technology to your benefit right now and to communicate with someone else besides the person you live with while we are all at home anyway right now.
Having more fun together
I think over time we have learned a lot about how to lighten up with one another and spend more time having fun. I'd like to think we have less stress than we used to have in life, generally speaking, and we easily spend three times as much time together having more fun. Adam and I are pretty playful and in a teasing way we will bicker with one another, but it's all meant to be lighthearted and to not make every moment so serious all the time. When we are spending quality time together we try to make it as much of an adventure as possible - seeking out hikes and places to explore, including new happy hours too (when restaurants are open of course!)
I've generally found that people who spend more time having fun are overall happier. This includes both with themselves and with someone else. Having fun releases endorphins in our body and lowers our cortisol levels - thus making us feel better too! #WinWin
Quarantine Life or RV Living?
They are one in the same, really! Spending a lot of time together is not always easy - believe me, we have our moments. And we are just like you - we don't change out of our pajamas for days on end, and I rarely ever put any makeup on. Most of the time we are straight up wild looking over here! Which makes it extra important to carve out time to make each other feel special, to have "date night", and to have our alone time too!
This quarantine life is full-time RV living guys - welcome to our lives.
Okay I know it's not exactly the same thing, but there are a lot of similarities there. We all have to learn to accept our partners in a lot of similar ways and as who we are on a much deeper levels right now. So let's talk about some of the best ways to do that!
Here are some rules we try to live by to show up better for each other and keep our relationship going healthy and strong while living with each other 24/7.
Do separate things
I think it's important to maintain ways to keep your own sense of self through your own hobbies and interests, even while you're inside the same living space. Having things in common is a strong point of connection in a relationship but having separate interests is a way to maintain your own identities and ultimately hold onto the things that make you, you!
Examples of how doing separate things works for us: I use the back desk space, Adam does not. Adam primarily uses the recliner couches, I really don't sit in them much unless we are watching a show together. We take turns spending time in the bedroom. I workout outside and we take turns going for walks or bike rides. I like to read and write. Adam likes to watch YouTube videos and play video games. He also washes the trailer and the van occasionally and I work inside on my online business/community.
Figuring out ways to share the space is just as important as having separate interests so that you don't interfere with each other (all the time) and still allow the other person to do something that's just for them. This might get tricky - you might have to get creative and sometimes you also just have to have designated times for designated things.
Like for example, certain nights to watch netflix together, and certain nights for me to watch netflix alone while he plays video games. And speaking of video games we have a certain time of night where it is expected for video games to be turned off so Amanda can go to sleep. Boundaries even extend to our duties and certain things we each maintain and take care of in our relationship - such as I make coffee in the morning and he makes us a bomb breakfast a few times a week. Usually I get up first and he goes to bed last. We take turns doing the dishes. Simple boundaries have helped us to each contribute to the relationship, to compromise on sharing a smaller living space. Boundaries also allow us specific time together to spend quality time in our relationship too. Typically we spend the most time together while exploring in nature and going for hikes, but occasional we spend nights together binge watching new shows. When we are each listening to something on our phones we also put in headphones so the other person doesn't have to hear it, and to respect the fact that we share a tiny space together.
Realize where you need to grow
What better time than now to work on yourself and areas where you can heal and grow into your best self and the best partner in your relationship. Self reflection is a powerful tool and we should all strive to be on an everlasting personal journey towards growth and evolution as human beings. Learning where you are wrong or where you have historically been triggered or defensive in your relationship can cause a powerful shift. Working on communication skills can change the way you connect. Spending more quality time together, and less time attached to a screen can make a difference. Whatever it is, we all always have some area of our lives that we could work on and improve, and some way that will create a powerful shift in the way we engage with our significant others.
"The energy you put in is the energy you get back." - Fact of Life
By this time next week we will have arrived to Gualala on the west coast of northern California, and have had a couple of days to settle in too. I'll talk more about our journey to get there and what it's like under the current circumstances of the world.
*Currently under construction and paused at this time.*
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