16 Indoor Date Ideas For Staying Romantic During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Couples everywhere are facing a common conundrum, thanks to coronavirus: When your favorite restaurant is only accepting takeout orders, your go-to bar is closed for business, and basically every event in your area is canceled, what does that mean for date night? If you’re isolating with your SO, fret not. Even the coronavirus outbreak can’t squash romance, thanks to the countless indoor date ideas you can try.

As an eternal optimist, here’s my take — circumstances like these force you and your boo to get creative. If you were stuck in a rut of eating at the same go-to gastropubs or grabbing drinks at the same speakeasies on a Saturday night, now is a great time to shake things up. Just because you’re hibernating doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun, and in fact, you may be surprised at how indoor dates can boost the intimacy in your relationship.

The best indoor dates are the ones that not only allow you to bond in meaningful ways but also potentially learn new things about each other. So, it’s time to think beyond Netflix and chill. Who says you can’t get out of your comfort zone right from the comfort of your own home? These indoor dates will get the sparks flying — and the best part is, you can stay safe because you won’t have to set foot outside.

One of the many indoor date ideas is to compete in your own two-person cookoff.
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1. Compete in a cookoff.

Find a recipe that you can both realistically tackle, set up two stations with the same ingredients, set the timer, and start whipping up your own versions of the same tasty dish. Then, sample each of your creations together and compare cooking tips.

2. Engage in a sweat sesh.

Who says you can’t squeeze a workout in just because your local gym is closed? Check out apps like Dailyburn and Fitness Blender, which offer a wide variety of workout videos, from challenging HIIT classes to strength training sessions. Or, you can scour YouTube for free classes.

3. Have a candy tasting.

Satisfying your sweet tooth is a foolproof way to survive isolation. Stock up on different colors of Starbursts, Gummi Bears or Worms, Sour Straws, Hi-Chews, and whatever else you and your SO are craving — and then eat your way through the rainbow together.

4. Take personality tests.

Do you and your partner know your love languagesMyers-Briggs types, and Enneagram types? If not, consider getting to know each other better by taking one of the many online tests that are available (some of which are totally free). After you take the tests and share your results, you can look into podcasts or online resources that will offer additional insight into both of your “types.”

5. Go camping.

Channel your inner kid and build a fort out of blankets, pillows, and furniture (or set up a tent if you have one). Once you’re inside your cozy hideaway (with a batch of s’mores, of course), grab some flashlights and exchange spooky stories.

6. Get handy.

Now’s a great time to dive into that home improvement project you’ve been putting off (provided you can order the necessary supplies) — besides, painting a wall, installing shelving, or upgrading your light fixture can serve as an incredible bonding opportunity. Once you’ve completed the project together, reward yourselves with dinner delivery from your favorite local joint.

One of the best indoor date ideas is delving into a home improvement project, like painting a wall.
Shutterstock

7. Make your own beer.

Rather than getting a six-pack of IPAs delivered, shop online for a beer-making kit. Make a day date out of concocting your own suds (which will taste so much better knowing you brewed them), and sip on the fruits of your labor while watching a flick or playing a board game.

8. Plan a future adventure.

Got a case of cabin fever? While taking a romantic getaway may not be realistic RN, you can totally start plotting your next trip so you have something to look forward to down the line. Create a Pinterest board with some inspiration for destinations and activities, and start researching hotels so that when jet-setting becomes feasible again, you can finally take the #baecation of your dreams.

9. Film your own baking show.

You and your SO could be one video away from becoming YouTube sensations. So, whip out your smartphone and film your experience trying out a brand new dessert recipe. At the very least, documenting this date will offer a nice dose of nostalgia down the line.

10. Watch a concert.

Even though live performances are currently canceled, you can still find a recording of your favorite band or solo act and recreate the experience (with the added bonus of no strangers spilling beer on you). Best of all, you can sing along as loud as you want to. Check out NPR’s Tiny Desk series, which features intimate video performances from such artists as Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, and the Jonas Brothers.

11. Have a couple’s casino night.

Bust out the cards and chips and make a few friendly wagers — and if you don’t want to place bets using real money, consider chores or fun personal favors to cash in on.

One of the indoor date ideas you might not think of is having your own casino night.
Shutterstock

12. Plan a DIY paint night.

YouTube is a goldmine of free step-by-step painting classes, and you and your boo will no doubt have a blast working on your individual interpretations of the artwork — even if they don’t come out looking like masterpieces. Order supplies on Amazon, or just use whatever tools you already have at home. You can even swap paintings at the end to hang in your respective abodes.

13. Have an indoor picnic.

No bug spray required for this romantic indoor date — all you need is a towel or blanket, a basket or bin with nosh and libations, and perhaps a game or two to keep you occupied.

14. Plot out a scavenger hunt for each other.

Using sticky notes, write out clever clues that lead your partner to different locations around your home until they hunt down their thoughtful prize.

15. Start a two-person book club.

Listening to the same book together can prompt all kinds of inspiring discussions about your relationship, your goals, and your own life experiences. If you have a library card, you can try connecting your account to Hoopla, a digital service that boasts a vast selection of audiobooks.

16. Create your own mindfulness retreat.

There’s hardly a better time than now to focus on being present and aware of your thoughts and feelings. Turn your home into a mini retreat for a day, complete with meditation and yoga sessions, mindfulness exercises, healthy eats, and a steady supply of hot tea.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. 

 

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Hidden Deal Breakers In Dating You Never Notice Right Away — But Should

While the first weeks (or months) of dating can and should be the fun, carefree stage in which you’re simply learning the dynamics of a potential relationship, they are also crucial in that they can determine overall compatibility. As intense as it sounds, these initial dates can be very telling — especially if you pay attention to hidden deal breakers. And although some signs of trouble can be more obvious — difference in life and relationship goals, negativity, aggression, etc. — some are carefully secreted under the surface, peeking out discreetly and sneakily here and there.

“Red flags are one of the most important things to look out for in dating because they tell you what kind of person you are dealing with,” says Melissa Hobley, the Global CMO at OkCupid. “Women in particular tend to make excuses for red flags — but take these seriously. As the saying goes, ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.'”

That said, the more under-the-radar the issue, the more cause for concern, as these little deal breakers can often manifest into something truly catastrophic if they go unchecked for too long. Hobley offers this example: “Excited about a new person you’re seeing, but he or she seems a bit too concerned about the fact that you have other guy or girl friends? You could be dealing with some serious jealousy issues, so don’t ignore these.”

An example like the one mentioned above can easily fall through the cracks, especially when you’re in the full infatuation phase. You could easily misidentify jealousy for devotion or avid interest. Sometimes this red flag radar doesn’t truly kick until you’ve had a couple bad experiences under your belt. “The more people date, the more they learn about themselves and what they are looking for,” says Hobley. “We know that 66 percent of OkCupid users say they become more specific over time in what they want in a potential partner, and I think it’s equally important to figure out what you don’t want as it is to know what you do.”

So what are some of the more under-the-radar deal breakers you should be wising up to, you ask? Ahead, six major ones that should be detected early on, even in their subtlest states, according to relationship experts.

Viacheslav Boiko/Shutterstock

Too Eager To Impress

Although it’s natural to want to make the best impression possible on your date or potential partner, you don’t want someone who is inauthentic. “It may be tempting to put on the best face or to tell your dating partner information about you that you think he or she will find impressive,” says Rachel Astarte, psychotherapist, transformational life coach, author, and educator. “Certainly this is something that we don’t want to do, but it’s important to be aware when the person you’re on a date with is doing the same. Pay attention to how eager he or she is to impress you with stories about his or her life. It may be that they are not entirely factual, which you will find out down the line.”

Conversation Monopolizer

There’s nothing better than those long, open talks with the person you’re interested in. You know the ones — the dates that last for hours and you never want to end. However, be aware of the dynamics of your conversation and who is doing all the talking. “Beware of a dating partner who monopolizes the conversation,” says Astarte. “Not only could this be a sign of narcissistic tendencies, but it may indicate low self-esteem, hence the need to control the conversation. Again, we should not have to build ourselves up in order to be liked.”

Piggybacking off the above, lack of empathy can really shine through in these initial conversations. Again, in the haze of lust, you might not notice little flaws in your emotional connection with your date. Try to be aware of how they respond to deeper and more vulnerable discussions. “If you share your emotional distress and they respond in unkind ways then it’s a red flag,” says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage Counselor.

How They Treat Others

Even the most brief interaction can clue you in on someone’s character. Simple manners and kindness can really shine through when you’re out and about … or not. “When you’re going out to eat with the person on a date, pay attention to how they treat your server, bartender, Uber driver, and other folks around you,” says Hobley. “People overlook red flags in these scenarios that become huge issues later on.”

William Perugini/Shutterstock

Flakiness

Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, it’s normal for plans to change, but keep an eye out for chronic inconsistency. If your date is constantly flaking or you’re going too long in-between dates, it could be a warning of things to come. “The proof is in the pursuit,” says Dee Strickland, Certified Dating & Relationship Coach/ Expert. “If your new beau goes missing for days at a time or makes plans with you and bails last minute, or you’re getting stood up with no notice; ditch him or her. This person has no respect for your time. You want a partner that values and appreciates the time you’ve set aside for them.”

Disparaging The Ex

Yes, breakups are difficult, hurtful, and can leave you with a multitude of scars and baggage. However, someone who badmouths their ex openly and extensively could have some character issues that are cause for concern. “Sure, at some point, there may be a safe space created within your relationship to be vulnerable and share past disappointments or hurts caused by an ex, but this is a red flag that should not be ignored early on,” says Strickland. “This type of person usually tends to be an expert at negging (an act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or other negative comment to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need of the manipulator’s approval,) and you will only be signing up to be his next victim.”

wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Too Much Too Soon

It’s flattering and typically an easy boost to one’s self-esteem when a person you’re interested in wants to spend as much time with you as possible. However, there is such a thing as jumping in too quickly. “People who commit to quickly — this is exciting at first, but can speak to underlying, problematic issues or even mental health concerns,” says Lauren O’Connell, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Private Practice in Santa Monica, California. Also, the relationship guru warns against people who get vulnerable too quickly, as it can also reinforce the above point. “Too much too soon — I would be cautious about people who pour out their life story to you on a first date,” she explains.

 

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Sun Stories: Cassie – Chapter 1 – The Stewardess

It’s the busy season at the the salon. We’re mobbed every night. That’s why I need Amelia and Eileen to help me. They’re the best hires we’ve ever had and I adore them both.

I usually leave the girls to work the front counter because as long as I’ve been here I’m accustomed to doing everything. So when it gets crazy busy in here, I’m happy to just run around and clean beds and not have to deal with all of the complicated intake. That’s great practice for the girls, because that’s the nuts and bolts of the job and will make them more independent of me and they’ll be able to run the salon without me.

Unlike in my past corporate jobs, I as a leader train my employees to walk where I walk, not where I point. The more they know and the more efficient they become, the more valuable they become to the company. In the rat race I usually worked for loser no talents that had just been there longer than anybody else because they were mentally incapable of getting a better job so they became middle managers.

Losers. When they met me they saw the talent and they held it down. They spent most of their time having meetings and controlling the staff and pretending to do their jobs and justifying their positions.

I’ve always been a shark. Let me swim and I’ll run down and kill the accounts all day long. It’s not about the money, it’s just low self esteem and talent to be number one because your father told you were a loser.

I’m a deadly sales guy who will work until they pat me in the face with a shovel.

I happened to be at the front counter with Eileen for a moment last week when an attractive 30 year old, brown eyed, fit, blonde, came in to tan. She said she was a transplant from California. I was running my usual program of charm on her and wine had been discussed.

She lit up when I mentioned, oceans of free chardonnay.

“I’m a flight attendant and I’ve been recently sent here to be in Philly as my hub.”

Oh, baby seal that knows nothing about the city or where to drink?

“Oh, I love that. Flight attendant. You’re not around all of the time!”

I have to be honest, that would be a good gig for me. I love my time alone.

I can see we’re connecting and shes giggling. I can add her to my circle. Maybe.

A week passes and she appears again.

“Hey. I just got in from L.A. How are you?”

“I’m good. Great to see you.”

“You too.”

I walk her back to her room. “I’m actually off Saturday, (phenomenon because I’m always working) If you’d like we could meet up for a drink. Your new in town and i know all the good spots.”

“That would be awesome. Text me on Saturday.”

Cassie seems great. We actually joked about how I had lost a friend with her same name because she moved away and it almost seemed like she wanted to be the new Cassie.

I miss the real one, but maybe this girl will be a sweet band aid for a few drinks.

I push her my contact info and leave it at that. I’m 55, she’s 31 (allegedly) so we’re still stretching it on a newbie.

She gets back to me before she exits the sunbed. This is a good sign.

I’m not looking for anything, but I just love the energy and the game of meeting someone new.

I discover I’m off Saturday.

I’m going to text Cassie and see if she’d like to meet me for a drink.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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What The April 2020 Pink Supermoon Could Mean For Your Relationships

To say that times are uncertain is a pretty big understatement. With the UK in lockdown and most people adapting to life inside, it’s important to find your own small comforts. Distracting yourself from what’s going on can be the best way to escape, and there’s a pretty massive astrological event happening on April 7 that just might help. But what is a pink supermoon, and what does it mean in astrological terms? This phenomenon will be amazing to witness, but it could also mean serious things for your relationships. If you’re self isolating with your nearest and dearest or being kept apart, a lot of revelations could come to light. But it’s fine, because you can blame it on the stars.

What is a pink supermoon?

A supermoon (also known as a perigean full moon or a perigee syzygy) occurs when the full moon is at its closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit. We’ve already had two supermoons in 2020, but tonight’s pink supermoon will be the biggest of the year.

Astrologist Lys Stockley explains that a supermoon “tends to look bigger as it’s rising and then, once it’s in the night sky, it looks like a full moon.” So if you want to catch tonight’s moon at its most impressive, try and watch around 6.55 p.m if you’re in the UK.

Although it sounds beautiful, sadly the pink supermoon isn’t actually vivid pink. There a few different origin stories for the name, but the most common one, as Stockley explains, is associated with a Native American reference to a pink wildflower, which starts to bloom in the U.S. and Canada at the beginning of spring.

In come cultures, the pink supermoon is called the sprouting grass moon, the egg moon, and the fish moon.

RunPhoto/Getty

What does the pink supermoon mean for your relationships?

A pink supermoon appears every year in April and, as we are all having to stay at home this year, we’re in with a good chance of catching a glimpse of it. However, it could mean much more than a pretty display in the sky. As astrologer Russell Grant explains:

“Tonight’s full moon is in Libra. Libra is a sign of partnerships, harmony, and respectful relationships. We’re all in this together. We are facing the same challenges the world over and the Libran Supermoon will magnify how, in coming together, we can and will help each other to the other side.”

He continues: “Expect to hear more uplifting stories of communities pulling together to help the most vulnerable and those who are self-isolating.”

However, where Grant predicts harmony, Stockley is more wary for what tonight’s moon could mean for relationships – especially while we’re in such close quarters. For so many people, the lockdown has been a really trying time. Whether you’re missing friends, family, or a partner, or have been isolating with people and your patience is slowly wearing thin, the pink supermoon could bring on some revelations in your personal life. “This is going to affect people who have a lot of Libra or Aries in their chart but a full moon is always about relationships,” says Stockley, “and relationship issues that are in the background may come to a head. If there are relationship imbalances, you might suddenly find them out in the open.”

However, Stockley also says that the pink supermoon could be a time of a real romantic awakening for you. “For people who’ve been wanting to start a relationship, it might all start under the full moon.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Biggest, Brightest Full Moon Will Be Visible Tonight. Here’s How To View It From Home

Need a break from news of the coronavirus pandemic? Or just want a change of pace by staring at the stars? Look up: The pink “supermoon” will appear Tuesday night.

The biggest, brightest supermoon of 2020, the full moon occurs precisely at 10:35 p.m. EDT on April 7, according to EarthSky.

Of the three supermoons this year, April’s supermoon will come closest to our planet – and thus appear the largest.

The supermoon comes during a trying time around the globe, as more than 1.3 million people are known to have been infected with the new coronavirus and over 78,000 killed. But the astronomical event may provide comfort to some.

“When all feels troubled on the planet, looking up invokes a sense of wonder and promise. A simple event such as a full moon that reminds people to look to the sky can be just the escape that most people need right now,” said Jackie Faherty, a senior scientist at the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Astrophysics.

More on the pink supermoon: The biggest and brightest full moon of 2020 will be visible Tuesday night

Why people look to the sky for comfort

Throughout history, cosmic signs have been assigned various meanings, Faherty said.

“Often celestial events like eclipses have be interpreted as a sign of negative things in the past, but of course there’s no reason that they are,” said Noah Petro, a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Scientist at NASA.

New moons are generally associated with rebirth, and full moon names are often tied to farming, Petro said.

Mental health tips during the coronavirus: We all want to know how the coronavirus pandemic ends. How do we cope with uncertainty?

“Regardless of what people saw historically, we can use this as a time to define how our generation should see astronomical phenomenon,” Faherty said. “We know that the stars do not capture any secrets about humans. But I’d love people to remember the super pink moon as something that brought their eyes to the cosmos and invoked a sense of hope during this time.”

The full moon can also be an educational opportunity for children, Faherty said. Other bright planets, including Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, will be visible this month, she said. Stars and their stories can be a great distraction, too, she said.

“Hopefully people use this as an excuse to begin looking at the moon more regularly, perhaps every night to chart its path in the sky and how its phase changes,” Petro added.

Coronavirus interrupted our lives: Now it’s invading our dreams.

How to view the moon while also social distancing

Viewing the pink supermoon doesn’t require leaving your house.

Petro said that if you have an east, south or west facing window, you should be able to see the moon from inside.

“You don’t need a fancy telescope or other equipment, just clear skies and clear eyes,” he added.

Social distancing: It’s not about you, it’s about us

Faherty suggested looking for the moon at moonrise or moonset. To view, set up looking east, or the opposite direction of the sun, about an hour before sunset.

“I think a moonrise and a moonset are the most under-appreciated astronomical phenomena that can be easily viewed. Catching the moon as it passes your local landscape can be dramatic and simply gorgeous (and it’s perfectly safe to view),” she said.

Where do the terms “pink moon” and “supermoon” come from?

A supermoon occurs when the moon is especially close to Earth while it’s full. The moon’s proximity to Earth makes it look up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a full moon at its farthest point from Earth.

The term “supermoon” was coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle. It has become an increasingly popular and media-friendly term in the decades since then. According to NASA, it’s used by the media today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean full moon.

The full moon this month is also nicknamed the pink moon. But don’t look for a pinkish hue to the moon this month.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, April’s full moon often corresponded with the early springtime blooms of Phlox subulata, a pink wildflower native to eastern North America. The wildflower is commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox – and also goes by the name “moss pink.”

For millennia, people across the world, including Native Americans, named the months after nature’s cues. The Old Farmers’ Almanac said that full moon names in our part of the world date back to the Native Americans who lived in the northern and eastern USA.

Will the moon be more visible with fewer cars on the road and airplanes in the sky due to coronavirus restrictions?

As the coronavirus pandemic also leads to economic slowdowns, that may cause less air pollution in some areas.

Reports from Italy and China have shown possible decreased fossil fuel use and air pollution emissions as a result.

“Certainly less pollution makes for clearer skies, in some places,” Petro said.

However, Faherty said: “The full moon is an easy thing to see no matter what.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Is It Safe To Get Pregnant During The Coronavirus Outbreak?

The coronavirus has changed almost everything about people’s daily routines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines recommend that people avoid public gatherings, stay indoors as much as possible, and limit their social interactions. If you’re quarantining with your significant other, you have a lot of time to watch movies together, eat frozen dinners, and hook up (not necessarily in that order). In fact, with all this time on your hands, you may be having more sex than usual. But as to whether it’s safe to get pregnant during the coronavirus outbreak, that information is still unclear.

COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) is still new, so much is unknown about its effects on people. “All that we know right now is extremely limited data,” explains Dr. Lauren Streicher, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University.

A March 16 study of four babies in China found that COVID-19 was not transmitted from mother to baby at the time of birth. The CDC says the virus has not been detected in samples of breast milk or amniotic fluid. The CDC also reports “a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy,” like pre-term birth. However, it is yet unknown whether the virus itself is to blame for this, or whether these issues might have been due to unrelated pregnancy complications.

However, as Streicher points out, “there’s a very big difference between a term baby versus a baby in development.” The CDC website states it currently does not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the coronavirus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. “Certainly we know there are infectious issues that can cause problems with growth and development of the baby,” Streicher points out. Certain bacterial infections, viruses, and untreated STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea have been linked to birth defects and pregnancy loss.

Adene Sanchez/E+/Getty Images

Tristan Bickman, MD, OB/GYN and author of Whoa, Baby!, tells Elite Daily that “as far as we know, it is safe to get pregnant during the coronavirus outbreak.” However, Streicher urges caution if you’re planning to conceive. “I would put it off until we have a little bit more data,” she says. “But that’s not based on anything. We don’t know.”

It’s worth noting that pregnancy involves regular doctors appointments, which means you’ll have to take more trips outside and be surrounded by more people. If you are immunocompromised or quarantining with someone who is at high risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, this might not be something you want to do.

If you’re currently pregnant, the CDC recommends doing the same things as the general public to protect yourself: avoid people who are sick, wash your hands often with soap and water, and cover your cough with your elbow. “Isolate yourself and do everything you can to not be exposed,” Streicher says. You can always call your doctor if you’d like individual advice. An OB/GYN can answer questions about whether it will be safe to deliver the baby at a hospital, or whether home birth might be right for you.

If you are pregnant and want to get an abortion, you may have to do a bit of extra work to find care. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, the organization continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19, but it does not clearly specify whether all clinics will remain open throughout this crisis. The National Abortion Federation recommends calling the clinics in your area to confirm their operating hours when you make an appointment.

blackCAT/E+/Getty Images

As far as your sex life goes, you don’t have to put all physical contact on hold. If you’re self-isolating with a monogamous partner, you can be intimate as long as neither of you has been around any potentially contaminated situations in the last 14 days. “As best we know, the COVID virus does not seem to be transmitted in semen,” Streicher notes. But it can be transmitted through an infected person’s respiratory droplets and the mucous membranes in the face, so kissing someone who might have been exposed to the coronavirus might not be the best idea. “I’m not going to tell someone not to have sex if it’s someone they’re intimate with on a daily basis anyway,” Streicher says. “Is this the time to go out and have sex with strangers? Probably not.”

Bickman encourages her patients to exercise caution when having sex. “Make sure to remain as safe as possible and use protection,” she urges. Use your regular method of birth control, and don’t have any sexual contact with someone you aren’t already quarantining with. As the months progress, more data will likely emerge about the specific effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy. Until then, it’s up to your individual discretion as far as how to proceed. “For me, I would say, put [pregnancy] on hold for a month or two,” Streicher says. “If you’re already pregnant, you just have to wait for information to come in.” Do your best to stay safe, isolated, and healthy while scientists continue to learn more about the virus’ effects.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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This Is What It’s Like to be in a Relationship with Someone who has ADHD

It’s a condition that affects an estimated 3-4% of adults, but as many as 90% of people with ADHD go undiagnosed. That adds up to a lot of individuals – and couples – wondering… is this how it is for everyone else? As a woman with a ‘typical’ brain, 30-year-old Kari Biondi* reflects on the challenges she faced with her non-typical boyfriend.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it became clear that Tom’s brain was built differently to mine – like most other people’s.

We met we were in our early twenties and I was struck by how easily he wore his emotions. He was always super affectionate, would cry openly if he was moved and was able to empathize and strike up a rapport with anyone. He didn’t talk about his feelings or inner life as such, but I suppose I thought it wasn’t necessary given how open he seemed. Other people – men – found his comfort in expressing himself confusing, and when we started dating one friend of his told me that he was surprised: because Tom was so ‘in touch with his feminine side’, as the friend saw it, he’d always thought he was gay.

The flip side to this was what I came to term WTF moments – rare bursts of anxiety triggered by thinking someone was taking the piss. Often people were being lax or just had their own stuff going on – that’s life – but he’d take it personally, becoming hurt and defensive. This is where I got confused – how could someone be so empathetic in some situations but so damning in others? A lot of his friends have been dropped over the years simply for being crap at arranging to meet for drinks.

It was only after we moved in together that some aspects of his behavior began to grate. Overall we had a cozy routine, interesting plans and lots in common – we went to work, came home and chilled – but his reaction to snubs or unfairness could create tension. He would freak if I was late home without letting him know, despite it being something he was guilty of himself. Years passed like this until he admitted that he saw my tardiness as a sign that I’d stopped caring about him and it started to dawn that there was more going on under the surface than I’d thought. Other habits I just found annoying. Cooking together was a nightmare: I’m lazy about following recipes but when Tom cooks every single ingredient has to be weighed exactly. He takes ages, and gets frustrated by that and the inevitable mess from all the precise prep he does.

There are times when I lose him to his deep dives – what I’d later learn were actually just distractions that tap into his brain’s reward center rather than some noble effort to educate himself. As well as airplanes, over the years he’s had obsessions with drones, Japan’s role in WWII, Westerns and watches. I’d joke that he’d be a total boss in any pub-quiz team, but when he comes across a new topic he loves he can be impossible to reach, burying his head in his iPad, scrolling until his interest wanes. I’d call it ‘nerd mode’ to lighten the mood but when he was like that nothing got done and it was lonely. I would get frustrated seeing him ‘entertain’ himself while I’m picking up his shit. More frustrating was when his distractions were more fleeting and he’d be even more difficult to pin down. I’d ask him to help clean up and he’d pull out the hoover, but five minutes later I’d find him online shopping for random things – an oven thermometer and trick yo-yo are two recent purchases that still sit in their boxes. Jobs would frequently get started then dropped.

I coped with this by being pragmatic, accepting that that’s what life with Tom was like. But then, a close friend died and Tom became depressed. He dropped far, sometimes hidden, sometimes loud and dramatic but was even harder to reach. He needed professional help.

His first appointment was with a psychiatrist for a formal diagnosis before moving into therapy and the doctor confirmed the obvious depression but also ran some question-based tests which suggested another thing – that Tom had ADHD. When he came out of the appointment it was almost like he was looking at himself for the first time. He was relieved that support for his depression was coming, but had to feel his way around the ADHD and what it meant for his past and his future. A week later, after more tests, the diagnosis was confirmed.

We both researched the condition but this was where I went full nerd: ADHD didn’t capture Tom’s imagination the way planes had. The more I learned, the closer I felt to Tom and the more I understood his view of the world and found ways to work with him on it – and for him to work with me. Now, if I’m going out, I never give him a ‘home by’ time and check in regularly so I keep control of my space and he doesn’t get worked up. If he’s distracted, I offer up things we can focus on together like going out to eat or watching a film. It’s taken time, but he’s come to understand why he’d act one way when everyone else seemed to behave in another. It opened the door to his inner world, his confusion, his sense of fighting against the world. One thing we still have to overcome is his resistance to seeing some of his behaviors as ADHD and not just ‘Tom’ – that’s a thing for him, that being ADHD somehow depersonalizes his experiences and responsibilities. But the diagnosis has given us the right language to talk about feelings and behaviors and improve our relationship. It’s been a blessing.

What’s the deal with ADHD?

Melissa Orlov, author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage, explains the unique qualities – and trials – of being in love with someone with ADHD.

People who have ADHD have a different kind of neurochemistry and a different physical setup of the brain than people who don’t have it and it’s usually a hereditary condition. It results in very specific symptoms that can include hyperactivity, difficulty initiating and following through on tasks and emotionality, which means that you respond more easily and quickly emotionally than other people do. ADHD also goes hand in hand with anxiety, depression and substance abuse issues.

Chronic distractibility is the number one symptom of adult ADHD, and when you’re a neurotypical – ie, non-ADHD – partner it can leave you feeling unloved or ignored. It’s not that the person doesn’t love you, it’s that the person is distracted. The other big issue has to do with difficulty following through on tasks. Over time, because so many promises are made and broken, the trust in the relationship will erode. Again, it’s not because the person doesn’t love you or is untrustworthy, it’s because they have these unmanaged symptoms.

Between 80% and 90% of adults with ADHD are undiagnosed, and a diagnosis helps the ADHD partner understand the strategies they can use to improve their reliability and performance in the relationship, and for both people in the relationship to understand and interpret the behaviors. If you don’t know that you have ADHD in the relationship, you don’t understand why things are happening or why they’re so pervasive, which is frustrating for both partners.

Almost all of the people that I have worked with who have ADHD are quite emotionally sensitive. It’s a lot to do with shame: ADHD partners have been told their whole lives that they’d be happier and more successful if they work harder and pay attention and so by adulthood they can be sensitive about that and taking blame for things that are beyond their control. Both partners have to understand that they make a contribution to the issues between them.

 

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