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How to Survive as a Couple While Quarantining

How to Survive as a Couple While Quarantining

By | Relationships | No Comments

 

Let’s start with the good news:

 
My husband got home from Europe! Woop! After four hours of screening at the Dublin airport (and none at LAX…!) he’s feeling just fine. So for the most part, everything is all good.

Here’s the bad news: We are now living together again after FIVE! MONTHS! apart, and we can’t, shall we say….ease back into it.

So the million dollar question is: how are we not going to kill each other during the process?

From what I’m gathering, if you’re in a cohabiting relationship, you’re probably wondering the same thing – even though you haven’t spent the last few months apart.

Quarantining and social distancing have been jarring for everyone. I’ve already jotted down a list of tips on how to stay mentally healthy, but I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t totally taking social distancing together into the equation. So many of us aren’t blessed with Texas style 3,000 square foot homes and large backyards. The majority of us are living in apartments or condos with maybe a bedroom or two.

On that note, let’s all take a moment of silence for anyone who is sharing a bathroom with their spouse during this time.
 
 
 
Okay, as we were.

We have to find a way to navigate our relationships during this phase of intense quality time. Here’s how to survive as a couple while quarantining.
 

Create Physical Distance

 
I know this is going to be a tough one to maneuver, but we need to create an *illusion* that there’s some physical space between the two for you.

For example, right now as I’m writing this, I’m in my office (which also moonlights as the guest bedroom YAY LA!) with the doors shut. There might be a cat in here (I should probably be aware of that, now that I think about it), and I’m blasting Treacherous by Taylor Swift on repeat because I saw a bracket on Twitter for the best Taylor Swift songs and it wasn’t included and I’ve just been like ?????? ever since.

The point is, I feel like I’m totally alone. In a good way. I don’t feel the pressure to talk to my spouse or like he’s even aware of what I’m doing. In fact if he was, he’d probably have a few comments to add. I don’t feel like I need to play music we both like (but he arguably does like T-Swift more than I do). And I definitely don’t feel the need to entertain him or to stop working because he’s bored. If he is, that’s his problem.

Some of you out there are both still employed under one roof – and to that I say BIG congratulations. Most of us are not in that same boat. So…yeah…I have to give my husband credit for entertaining himself while I vent blog in the other room.

Point is, we all need space to work or not work. We CANNOT be up in each other’s business all day for the foreseeable future.

If you’re in a studio, pick a corner (The Michael Scott Paper Company style!) and create an arrangement for yourself. Put in your headphones. Walk around the block (again, if you’re feeling fine and remain six feet away from humans, you are in line with expert recommendations) and call your mom. Do not include each other in every activity throughout the day. It’s just too much. Pretend like you two are still at work and come together for meals and in the evening.

It will help make this not seem like the date that never ends.
 

Have Friend Dates that Don’t Include Each Other

 
On the whole “taking space” note – I think it’s also a good idea to maintain your “outside friendships” that do not correlate with your current relationship.

Way back when, when I first moved to Los Angeles, I was really homesick and barely had any friends. To curb my feelings of intense loserness, I would go out for wine with my best friend from New York.

It was really cute. We call each other on Skype, each get a bottle of red wine, pour to our heart’s content, and catch up on stuff. He even suggested we dim the lights to create “mood lighting” so we felt like we were at an actual wine bar. I started trying this with a few other friends – and it worked.

Try doing this with your friends a few days a week. Get coffee in the morning (play a “Coffeehouse” playlist on Spotify and crank those lights up!), grab some lunch in the afternoon (make sandwiches and use paper napkins), do a group happy hour with quarantinis, and share a nice dinner (if you have enough quarantine snacks you could even have an appetizer!). But do this all without your partner. 

I know it sounds like the key to a happy relationship is to never spend time together – but I promise, I will get to that eventually. It’s just so important that you still feel like a complete individual during this time. Without your daily activities and solo commutes to work and separate friendships, you’re going to start feeling like an extension of your spouse. Don’t let that happen.

Keep your independent spirit alive. 

And of course, if you want someone a little more *professional* to talk with about your *ahem* annoyances right now – Blush is still up and running. We offer unlimited chat and video sessions, so you won’t be in violation of social distancing. And remember, the video sessions can always be conducted outside if you need some distance to vent to your heart’s content 🙂
 

 

Accept Each Other’s Coping Mechanisms

 
One of my long term clients and I talked yesterday about how so many couples have completely different coping mechanisms in general…and man, oh man are they coming to a head right now.

Specifically, we talked about how she feels like Chicken Little right now. Everything is scary, everything is bad, nothing will ever be okay again. The sky is falling! 

I can relate. I’m a future-forward thinker, and the future seems rather….terrifying at the moment. I completely related to her and tried to help her walk through her worries by offering facts, comforts, and suggestions. Did it work? I don’t know, you’d have to ask her. But my gut says yeah, I think we both felt better after our session and will continue to work through this together, because that’s what Blush does.

Anyway.

The interesting part was that her partner has a *completely* different coping mechanism than her. To him, it’s easier to assume everything is going to be okay, remain calm, and take things day by day.

Okay, so while I will admit on the surface, it seems like his take is healthier. Sure. I get it. But what happens when he tells her this? What happens if he’s egregiously underplaying this and is mentally and physically ill-prepared for the next few months????

Yikes.

She has a right to feel like everything is spiraling out of control. This is COMPLETELY unprecedented. No one knows what next week or next month is going to look like, and our phones keep blowing up with updates that frankly we’d be better off not reading since the vast majority of us are already well-informed enough.

But he has a right to stay calm and try to take things day by day, because other than practicing social distancing, there’s really not much any of us can do. And panicking doesn’t help much.

So what do they do?

They accept that none of this is personal.

Neither coping mechanism is the “right” one. Both of their brains are trying to grasp any straw of control during this exceptionally bananas time. And how that manifests is going to look different for everyone. So instead, they can try to learn from each other.

She can prepare him for what’s next and make sure the house is prepped. He can teach her how to breathe through it.

Together, they’re stronger. 
 

Be Intentional With Your Time Together

 
This is going to sound weird…but don’t just hang out to hang out.

Create quality time with your excess time. 

Pretend like you’re back in that time of your relationship when the two of you were just dating. What would you do when you hung out? You’d talk about interesting topics, watch a new movie, maybe play a game, and YES YOU WOULD GO OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE BUT YOU CAN’T DO THAT RIGHT NOW so.

Be intentional. Grab a deck of cards and Google the rules to Gin Rummy or whatever people play when they play cards. See if you own a puzzle or order one online (delivery!) and get that up and running. Twister seems like an interesting game to whip out right now. Maybe do an exercise date together where you scroll through Yoga videos on YouTube and find one you like. Read a book together. Pretend like you’re cooking a nice meal together even if it’s just macaroni and cheese.

When you’re not in the mood to “do something” – have quiet time alone. Don’t force yourself to spend time with your spouse because you feel like you have to. You don’t. Put your headphones in and meditate. Listen to a podcast. Take a bath. Take a nap for all I care. Just don’t FORCE yourself into spending time with your spouse, because you will grow resentful.

Everyone gets sick of each other. Feeling indifferent about time with your partner right now is not a sign that you two aren’t suited for each other. It’s a sign that you are stir-crazy.

The key is to find something that doesn’t involve sitting on your butt and worrying about what the economy is going to look like a month from now or whether or not we are going to be stuck in this stupid condo for the next six weeks. That’s not helping. Instead, use this as an opportunity to reconnect with your relationship. If you throw this time away, you’ll regret it…and maybe come out of this weaker than you were when you entered. Don’t do that. That would be such a shame. Focus on playing. That’s going to help you survive this.
 

Create a New System Together

 
You’re wigging out. I’m wigging out. She’s wigging out. He’s wigging out. They’re wigging out. We are all FREAKING wigging out.

So to feel like a unified front, you’re going to have to come up with a new system. Together.

Y’all might have had separate finances before….and that might pose to be a little tricky right now if one of you, or both of you, is unemployed. (Moment of recognition for Andrew Yang whose bold policies may actually save our economy’s ass – let’s do this UBI!) Some of you might have forgiving landlords, and…..some might have the typical kind. One of you might have been in charge of the cooking or cleaning while the other spent more time working, and that’s going to seem a bit out of touch at the moment if you ask me! One of you might be an introvert, and one of you might be an extrovert.

The old system isn’t going to work anymore. The rules have changed and our behavior has altered. So you two have to adjust. And instead of just assuming things will fall into place (lol ya right) – y’all are going to need to talk about it.

It may be uncomfortable, but if you two have already decided to cohabitate, then you’ve already intertwined your lives to the point where these types of conversations should be invited.

Ask for what you need, and be ready to compromise for what your partner needs. Understand that these changes will probably not be permanent – but they will be your lifeline for the next few weeks (or longer).

This is what strong foundations are made out of – tough conversations in order to adapt to uncertain times. 

Don’t shy away from it. Give your relationship the tools it needs in order to survive.

 

I know this time is stressful for so many reasons – mind, body and spirit – but we’re still here for you.

 
As I mentioned earlier, Blush Online Life Coaching is releasing a new app which features unlimited chat with a personal masters level life coach, and due to these unforeseen circumstances, you can begin using it today. We know this is a tough time, and we are here to offer our support, guidance, commiseration, and short-term, personal solutions.

Stay safe everyone, and please don’t kill each other!

setting boundaries

9 Benefits of Setting Boundaries

By | Career + Academics, Friendships, Relationships, Self Improvement | No Comments

 
Let’s talk about the benefits of setting boundaries.

But, before we go into the benefits…what exactly is a boundary?

A boundary is an imaginary line that separates your body, feelings, thoughts, needs, and responsibilities from others.

 
They can come in many different forms, but are typically put in place to protect yourself from poor treatment or situations. In its simplest form, boundaries are one word: “No.” But they can become much more complex than that, such as “I will not stay at the office past 6pm for my own mental health,” or “I will unfollow people on social media who bring up my feelings of insecurity” or “I will not stay in friendships or relationships with people who disrespect me.” 

Typically when you set a boundary, it has to happen more than once. The best way to know if a healthy boundary has been set, is to see how fiercely people push back. The stronger the pushback, the more necessary the boundary. 

While boundaries are definitely not easy to set, the rewards and benefits that come with them make boundaries more than worth it. Read more about nine benefits of setting boundaries:
 

1. Setting Boundaries Means You’re an Actual Adult

The most obvious benefit of setting boundaries is not having to do the things you don’t want to do, so you can do things you do want to do. Even if that means doing nothing.

Being an adult is hard enough. We have to constantly think about paying bills, to-do lists, performing at work, taking care of whatever critters back at home, being nice to strangers, and not getting abducted walking to the grocery store (wait, that’s just women!). But you get the point.

So the L A S T thing we want to do is take over some bullshit committee at work, arrive early to a dog’s birthday party to help set up, or write some unpaid article “for exposure.” We just don’t have the time or energy for it. And frankly, even if we DID, that doesn’t mean we need to be jumping out of our seat for every favor someone asks of us. We don’t need a reason. We are fully functioning adults with agency and we can spend our time HOWEVER we LIKE.

But we forget that rule! Like, every day!

So next time you’re thinking about setting a boundary and feel a bit iffy about it – remember that you’re a full blown adult. And you can do whatever the fuck you want.
 

 

2. Boundaries Protect Your Energy

Ok so if the whole “I’m a Big Girl Now” logic didn’t quite stick with you, I’ve got another one for you.

When you continuously jump through hoops for others, you leave little to no time to energy for yourself. And you need time and energy. You need time and energy to do house chores, you need time and energy to play with fur babies…(or actual babies)…you need time and energy for your job so you don’t get fired, and you need time and energy for your friends/family/spouse.

So if my math is correct…you need a lot of time and energy.

Which means you can’t be giving it away all willy nilly! No ma’am! You have to be really selective!

Creating boundaries with others protects you from totally depleting your energy before using it up on things you actually need in your life. You need to be present for people and you need to take care of yourself. You don’t need to listen to a neighbor vent about their grandchildren’s poor decision choices for an hour.
 

 

3. Boundaries Reduce Resentment

We all know what it feels like to be taken advantage of. It’s the actual worst.

Not only do you feel betrayed by someone you trusted who completely abused the relationship, but you also feel pretty stupid for getting yourself into this situation in the first place. Very rarely do you not have a hand in getting yourself trapped into a thankless dynamic. You are responsible for deciding how you spend your time, and when you say “yes” to a small thing…and another thing…and oh yeah, that other thing…people start to think you have all the time in the world. Or that you’re super woman. Or that you don’t sleep. So they keep piling it on. And then eventually, you grow pretty freaking resentful that you are even involved in whatever it is in the first place.

So let’s avoid those situations, yeah?

It’s really easy to do so, too. Whenever someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, just say no.

That’s all. It’s pretty easy.

Don’t worry, you won’t turn everything down. There are plenty of people and plenty of events and plenty of situations where you’ll actually want to help out! I promise. We are all surrounded with enough inspirational causes and humans that lending our time or energy will feel like an honor instead of a burden. The important thing is that you are taking pause to THINK about how your time and energy are being spent.

When take the time to decipher whether or not something sounds enjoyable/honorable/exciting/rewarding, then we feel a sense of control. We feel power in our decision. When we don’t, however, we can easily feel resentful. For instance, if a relative of yours is in the hospital and someone asks you to visit them, you’d probably say yes. Not because trips to the hospital are your secret guilty pleasure, but because you want to be there for someone. Being a good person to others makes us feel good about ourselves. Trust yourself to make the right call in the moment, because when you actually take a second to think things over, you’re going to realize it’s SO EASY to make the right call. It’s just a bit harder to say no.

But you gotta do it. Otherwise, you’re going to become resentful as hell. Resentment is essentially cyanide to any functioning relationship. It will poison everything in its path, and you will lose so much more than you anticipated. So don’t let resentment take over. Set the boundary instead.
 
benefits of boundaries
 

4. Boundaries Let You Show Up For The People You Love

We all have those people we would do ANYTHING for, and when the time comes, we’re so excited to be able to show them how much we love them. But the problem occurs when we have too much on our plate, and aren’t really able to be there for them because we’ve promised ourselves away earlier. So in order to create space for the people who deserve it, we need to set boundaries across the board.

I’m going to take it even a step further.

In my humble (not really humble) opinion, I think it’s better to OVER set boundaries than to under set boundaries. That way, if you are all rested up with some time on your hands, you can call up whoever you need to and volunteer your time. Otherwise, if you under set your boundaries, you’re going to show up for the people in your life tired and drained – or worse – not show up at all and make the situation even worse.

I can tell by the way you’re cringing that you’ve totally done that before. Tsk tsk.

So by over setting your boundaries, you surprise people with your generosity instead of causing additional stress and anxiety by letting them down at the last minute. I mean, think about it: Would you rather be a superhero, or an unreliable twat?

Your choice.

Give yourself the time and space to show up for the people you love by protecting your energy from distractions. Focus on what you love, and you’ll have the energy for everything you want to do.
 

5. Boundaries Increase Relationship Longevity

Boundaries are paramount to keeping relationships healthy. Without boundaries, relationships have a tendency to become messy and unruly. They need structure to thrive. And you have to be the one to provide it.

It seems counter-intuitive to those who are new to boundaries (or maybe that was just me!) and might take some practice. You may think, “Telling people ‘no’ all the time is going to help my relationships? Everyone is going to hate me!!’ and to that I would say – YES, saying “no” to people keeps relationships healthy, and also you might need new friends if you’re seriously concerned everyone is going to hate you for telling them ‘no.’

By protecting your own energy and decreasing any future opportunities for budding resentment, you are establishing the expectation that you are not on call for others. You have a life, you have your own responsibilities, and you have your own priorities. If others can get on board with that, then there will be less things to quarrel over. People won’t have false expectations or assumptions about you and your time, and you won’t feel taken advantage of by others.

Realistic expectations + not being taken advantage of = healthier, happier relationships that can last a lifetime. Everyone stays in their lane, supports each other when they can, and focuses on how to be the best person they can be. Trust me, you’ll like it!
 

 

6. Boundaries Weed Out Toxic Relationships

Deep breath: not all of your relationships are going to survive your boundaries. 

Eeeeeeeeeeeee sorry. I hate to be all negative and such, but it’s just true. If you’ve been living your life boundary-free, then you probably have some horrible friends that are used to your spineless style. It’s just how life works. People who like to take advantage of others tend to cling to those with weak boundaries. So yes, unfortunately, some of your friends are only friends with you because you say yes to everything.

Don’t! Shoot! The! Messenger!

What I am really wanting you to take away from this, is that you are a lovely, caring, beautiful person who deserves to have relationships with no strings attached. 

And if those “friends” don’t like an arrangement where you get to enjoy yourself instead of slaving away for them….then is this really a loss? Do you really care if these relationships slip away? To me, it sounds like a friendship that should have died a long time ago. If I were you, I would definitely be asking myself WHY I decided to stick around with such a selfish butthead who clearly cares more about themselves than anyone else…but that’s just me.

You are worthy of a friendship/romantic relationship/career that doesn’t ask everything from you while providing barely anything in return. And hell, even if you DO get something in return, isn’t that still weird?! Don’t you want friendships to be an organic flow of give and take, instead of a massive game of keeping score? That sounds exhausting.

So give boundary setting a try. Start saying no, and see who’s really a friend, and who can see themselves out the back door.
 

7. Setting Boundaries Help Solidify An Abundance Mindset

Quick refresher: subscribing to an abundance mentality means you believe there is more than enough resources, people, opportunities, wealth, nourishment, or whatever else in the word that will contribute to your happiness. And not only that, but there’s more than enough for everyone. Subscribing to a scarcity mindset means you believe there is a scarce amount of resources in the world, and therefore we must cling to what we have, because we don’t know if we will ever have the opportunity to have it again.

Meaning…some of you who have been holding onto shitty relationships may have been doing it because you’re scared you won’t find anyone else.

That kind of thinking practically invites a full-blown scarcity mindset to set up shop in your head. And it’s really not healthy for you.

The good news is, boundaries are in total alignment with an abundance mindset. When you set a boundary with someone who doesn’t respect it, they’ll try to pushback. Again. And again. And again. And you’ll be in charge of continuing to set the boundary – until you give up and decide to walk away from the friendship for good.

But you can do that. You can literally just walk away. You know why? Because there are plenty of people out there who will RESPECT your boundaries and love you for exactly who you are without any expectations. They’re just waiting for you to ditch your narcissistic buddies and come and find them.
 
boundaries

8. Setting Boundaries Sets a Precedent With Others

Here’s the lovely thing about setting boundaries with people already in your life: other people will take note.

Let’s take MoviePass for example. They started out about, what, two years ago? Their initial offering was unlimited movies per month for something ridiculous like $9. Absolute bananas. And because the deal was SO good, it caught on like wildfire. Until…MoviePass couldn’t handle the volume anymore. Passes were being declined, the app was buggy, and customer service took about 4 months to respond to any sort of claim. While I’m sure initially they fanatic about their ability to scale overnight, they quickly regretted it. It was a business nightmare.

So they recalibrated, and released an amended business offering. You could only see three movies per month, no opening weekend showings, blackout dates all over the map, and the price increased.

I think we all know the ending to this story, but if you can’t remember, they went out of business. Current customers realized, hey, MoviePass, y’all don’t know WTF you’re doing. And those who weren’t customers probably heard the complaints from their friends. So, with no customers, they went away.

So who are you in this metaphor? You’re MoviePass! The “company” that can’t figure out how to maintain giving an offering away for way less than it’s worth. I’m not sure what phase you’re in, but more than likely you’re in the HOLY F&(# THIS WAS A BAD IDEA phase. And we really want to get you to the going out of business phase.

Because the business you’re in is giving your time and energy away to anyone for free. And let me tell you – that’s just bad business. 

You don’t want to be known as the person who habitually says YES! no matter the circumstance. People talk. And more and more people will come out of the woodwork asking for this or that due to your reputation.

So let’s get the OPPOSITE of that in full force! Become the person who says NO! and needs a friggin Powerpoint presentation before agreeing to give your time away to ANYONE or ANYTHING. That way, when someone asks you for something – they aren’t doing it just because they think it’s an easy ask. They’re doing it because they believe it’s something you would actually enjoy or they truly need your unique help. And those are the exact kind of requests you’d like to field in the future.
 

9. Boundaries Are Great For Your Career

So some of you are reading this and might be thinking – Ok, I’ve got the relationship boundaries down, but what about work? 

Oh, girl. You need boundaries at work arguably more than you need them elsewhere! The entire concept of boundaries is to prevent you from giving your time and energy away for little to nothing in return…and I don’t know of a more egregious example than having a boss asking you to work FOR! FREE!

This is a little more cut and dry when you’re an hourly employee. If you’re not on the clock, you don’t work. It’s that simple. It’s also ILLEGAL for there to be any other sort of arrangement anyway. So just stick to that rule.

If you’re salary, things get a bit more dicey. There might be duties outside of your job description you’re expected to cover, and staying extra hours doesn’t get you paid more. So here’s my take:

Working past normal business hours isn’t a great look. Aside from the fact that it causes a lot of stress to grind it out beyond the conventional hours humans are supposed to work in a day, it also cuts into your personal time that you NEED in order to recharge (whether that be hanging out alone, being by yourself, spending time with family, etc). Plus, working long hours is telltale sign of inefficiency. Bosses don’t like inefficiency. It signals that you can’t handle the workload you already have…so why would they promote you?

Instead, set boundaries. Work on what you can during working hours, and go home. You’ll be refreshed, replenished, and ready to take on your workload the following day. Your ability to work smarter will increase when you have enough sleep and free time to disassociate from work and gain perspective.

What I’m saying is boundaries will make you a better employee. Don’t be afraid to set them whenever possible.

 

Having issues setting boundaries?

 
Don’t panic. Most of us aren’t that great at setting boundaries because we were not raised to do so. But that doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to live with healthy boundaries! All it means is you might need a little extra help. Luckily, that’s what Blush Online Life Coaching specializes in. Check out our affordable and convenience private life coaching memberships so you can learn how to set boundaries quickly for healthier and happier relationships.

How to Stop Feeling Desperate When it Comes to Dating

By | Being Single, Relationships | 7 Comments

 

The idea that women feel desperate when it comes to dating is not a new phenomenon.

Honestly, we all hear it all the time. Women are clingy, dependent, insecure, controlling, blah blah blah shut up shut up shut up.

While I absolutely despise any stereotype out there about any female EVER – I have to say that I think I am beginning to understand why this whole “desperation” might have a little bit of truth to it. Read More

Five Things You Are NOT Doing That Are Ruining Your Relationship

By | Relationships | One Comment

 

Relationships take work.

 

And the sky is blue. I don’t think I’m handing out any spoiler alerts when I say that a strong and healthy relationship takes true effort. You can’t bullshit your way through a great partnership – and if you want to give it a whirl – here’s my free breakup book. Trust me, you’ll need it later.

For those of you who are genuinely trying to make your relationship better each day, yay! You are a rockstar. And even if you aren’t the master of romance, I am sure there are plenty of big things you do for your relationship. You attend those tedious work events to impress your partner’s boss. You cook dinner every other night. You leave each other sweet notes. You talk each other up with your friends. You buy each other nice gifts for their birthday. Read More

7 Daily Habits You Should Practice in Your Relationship

By | Relationships | 3 Comments

I’ve been married for almost 9 years, and have been with my husband for over 11.

(!!!)

Clearly, I am no newbie when it comes to long term relationships, I am a little in the dark about new stuff like the russian dating site for example. Sometimes these numbers even take us by surprise because we keep waiting for things to get hard! Sure, we have disagreements, and don’t always see eye to eye (DO NOT get me started about politics!), but we still enjoy being together. And that’s what matters most. Read More

Questions to Ask Before Moving In Together

By | Relationships | No Comments
questions to ask before moving in together

 
 

before you make any moves, you gotta know the questions to ask before moving in together.

 

You love them. They love you. But will you still love each other after you’ve moved in together? Don’t be so quick to assume. You might think you know your partner inside and out – but moving in together opens up a whole new can of worms. So before you split that rent check…here are the questions to ask before moving in together. Read More