We usually don’t eat crackers, but we do like to entertain people who might, especially if there are cracker toppings and wine involved. Throwing crackers away was a sad reminder of all the gatherings we would have had but didn’t because of COVID.
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It first struck us when we had to throw away all the crackers in the pantry because they were past their expiration date – it’s been a very, very long time since we’ve entertained a group of friends at home.
Jen: Nick and I have loved entertaining guests since before we were married. I am an extrovert, and I am invigorated by interactions with others. As many memes have expressed, COVID has been extremely difficult for extroverts because of the isolation. While Nick and I have a big family at home and any number of online meetings through work and volunteering, the inability to have in-person interaction with friends has had an effect on me and on our relationship. It has become a missing piece in the puzzle of our lives.
Nick: I’m the introvert. Before COVID came along, if you’d told me there was something coming that would make everyone slow down and I’d get more time at home, I would have told you it sounded too good to be true. Yet, the reality of this time, its fears, and the isolation from our friends and family has worn on me. It’s been a stark call-out on the fantasy I had that there was no such thing as too much alone time. I don’t like big, anonymous crowds, but not being able to have our close friends over is no fun. Even when we have a small number over, norms of social distancing and mask wearing are a constant reminder that things are not normal.
Jen: Balancing our calendar pre-COVID was a challenge because of the ways we are different (extrovert vs. introvert). I thrive on activity where Nick mostly sees it as obligation. Since March, our balancing act has changed. For me, the new challenge is helping Nick step out of his tendency to be content on his own. I have to push past my tendency to fill my need for interaction with social media or streaming shows and reach out to draw him out into interaction outside of his head.
Nick: Knowing Jen is an extrovert, I need to be especially aware of her need for authentic, in-person human interaction. I have to challenge myself not to just retreat into my own head when I’m coping with things. I need to be patient with Jen and even more willing to listen to her now than before the pandemic. I realize that most days I’ll be the only outlet my extrovert has.
How about you? What does your introvert/extrovert spouse need? We encourage you to take some time this week to reflect on the way the pandemic has impacted your spouse.
|Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova via Pexels|