Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Happy together
As one week turns to the next, this stay-at-home order has me thinking about the state of relationships. It did not take me long to become a fan of internet-based social platforms and I have managed to contact friends and family — near and far — on a regular basis. My cyber time with some has meant more conversation then before the pandemic! It is at least one plus during this incredibly challenging time.
That being said, the joy of home time with my honey is beginning to lose its luster! Just a couple of weeks into this new way of living, I posted a message on social media exclaiming my gratitude for this time “stuck at home” with the man I love. “Lucky us!” And while I still feel we are incredibly fortunate to be in a happy relationship, I would be lying if I did not admit to some challenges during six weeks of physical isolation.
Until the pandemic, I enjoyed a couple of days each week working at home — alone. But now, my husband is working from home as well, so my time feels a bit discombobulated — dare I say “hijacked?!” While I have a flexible schedule, his workdays are full. He is taking calls, attending online meetings and working diligently to help keep a local business in operation.
Right off the bat, he took possession of the desk we used to share, so I decided to turn those lemons into lemonade. I moved to the family room and turned the bar into a makeshift desk (it serves double duty and, as it turns out, it is incredibly convenient when five o’clock rolls around.)
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Oh, those first few weeks were fun. It was like we were on an adventure, but I have noticed as days have turned to weeks that we may be losing a little bit of patience with one another. At first, we were both great about letting the little things slide. We both acknowledged the stress of this change in lifestyle and the overall uncertainty of the future and we gave each other a bit of grace.
However, lately, as we continue to adjust to an added 40 or more hours a week of togetherness, we must admit to a bit of snippiness here and there. As he so sweetly put it after a bit of back and forth over the proper way to assemble and bake a homemade pizza, “You need to go away for a long time.” Given my love of travel, I took it as the nicest thing he could have said at the time, but that is open to interpretation!
Still, that short exchange made me think about my previous marriage and what it might be like to be living in this situation with someone who is not so kind or loving or easy going.
I asked a friend who works in local law enforcement about the types of calls they are receiving, and it should bear no surprise that domestic violence is on the rise. These are incredibly stressful times under incredibly stressful circumstances. Lost jobs, kids home from school, food uncertainty, limited recreational opportunities — each of these factors can be a trigger for someone prone to violence, as they compound, it should not be a revelation to learn violent behavior is also increasing. And, while we primarily think of women as the victims of domestic violence, either gender can be found on the receiving end of abuse.
With that in mind, as we reach out to friends and family during this time of physical isolation, we should be mindful of checking in and taking a temperature of their home life.
Here are just a few questions to ask or consider:
Do they seem anxious or nervous around their partner? Are they reluctant to disagree with their partner? Does their partner embarrass or criticize them? Does their partner dictate who they can see or be in contact with? Do they make excuses for their partner? Is it difficult to have a conversation without their partner present?
If you suspect a friend or loved one is in an abusive relationship, there is help available to them. Locally, they can call the Community Beyond Violence hotline anytime at 530-272-3467 or the national hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Should they be unable to make the call themselves, encourage them to turn to a trusted friend, family member or you, who can make a call to on their behalf. Making the call does not mean they have to be ready to leave, but a trained counselor can offer ideas and assistance to develop a safety plan.
While the death toll from COVID-19 continues to rise, it is a grim reality that not all deaths will be limited to those who contract the virus.
It is normal to feel stressed, sad and despair at times. It is important to feel those feelings and know they are temporary. It is also normal and OK to feel hopeful, creative and happy. I have personally felt all those feelings in the same day! I thank my lucky stars I live with a reasonable partner who can enlist a few tools to deal with the many moods that go with this pandemic. Not everyone is in the same boat.
The mantra that keeps me going, is “This too shall pass.” I say it to myself, to my children and to my spouse almost daily. It is true. Until we get back to whatever the new version of normal will be, keep connecting with loved ones. Reach out to friends. Take a breath of fresh air each day and take a moment to express gratitude for at least one aspect of your life. This too, shall pass.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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