Originally published on December 7, 2020.
The early stages of quarantine were an exciting time for me. My fiancé Jessica and I had bought our first cat together, and we were looking forward to what we thought would be a mini staycation with each other and our new fur baby. Granted, we both had to work from home, but being an introvert, I now had a legal and moral reason to not be social.
I finally had the time and energy to do both old and new hobbies: I got myself a skateboard and started cruising around the neighbourhood, much to the chagrin of my neighbours; I bought an online Japanese language course on Udemy and started making myself flashcards; I got back into web development in the hopes of landing myself a new job (I hated teaching ESL online); and I started exploring the expansive world of the Witcher 3.
A couple months in, the problems started to appear.
The unpredictability of everything became a dark cloud of anxiety and misery. Would I be able to hug my family again? Could I ever sit around a table with my friends and play D&D? When would I be able to sit in a cafe with a book?
And then were the effects on my relationship with Jess. Because we live in a basement apartment, there was nowhere either one of us could go to be alone. I would teach my online classes from our bedroom while she would go about her day in the living room. I began to associate my bedroom with work, while the living room was a shared living space. I didn’t have a space for me. And so I began to retreat inward.
All the while, Jessica was trying to cope with her own problems: a job she hated, the inability to see her family and friends, depression, anxiety, and a partner who was increasingly emotionally unavailable.
We began to resent each other. We got snippy. We bickered. We became roommates.
Jess eventually found a new job that required her to go in. I also found a new job that was more in line with my interests and allowed me to be creative. But even though we had a bit more space from each other and new jobs, it wasn’t enough.
We were still both depressed and didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to support each other. It’s easy to support a partner with their…