Couples Surviving the Pandemic: A COVID-19 Story

It’s been more than a year since coronavirus became a household word. The pandemic has laid bare the strength (or lack thereof) of many an institution. From public schools to your corner deli, there’s a fine line between the organizations that have survived and those that have crumpled. 

This is true also of relationships. A new study by a relationship coaching company surveyed more 1,700 people in long-term relationships. And some 68% of respondents who had separated from their partners this year reported that it was due to the pandemic. But while the study found that the pandemic has been a big stressor for couples, it also drew some interesting conclusions about the habits of couples surviving the pandemic.

“Our results tell the story of two different types of couples—those who are struggling and growing further apart, and those who are adapting and growing closer together,” the study reads.

What worked?

When asked “What has been helpful for your relationship during the COVID-19 pandemic?” the people who considered themselves the happiest in their relationships answered with one of these five options:

These are already all positive-sounding things, but now that we know they are associated with relationships that have survived the pandemic, they’re looking like really great ways to spend time together.

What didn’t?

Wondering about the other side of the coin? Those who identified themselves as being unhappy in their relationships answered with these options:

There is nothing wrong with any of these things on their own. However, looking at this list, most of the items are not conducive to quality time together. It’s great to connect with old friends and have some quality time alone, but make sure you’re tending to your relationship, too. As the study showed, that effort can pay off.

“Overall,” the study concludes, “we can see that—for some couples—this year has helped them to develop resilience and grow in a way they may not have predicted. In the words of one of our survey respondents—‘you can’t make diamonds without a little pressure.’” Resilience seems to be a winning skill for couples surviving the pandemic. 

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Talking About Exes: Three Things to Consider

It’s a subject that has been covered in many a sitcom episode: A lovelorn gal (or guy), trying to move on, spends an entire first date talking about an old flame. The message is clear. Talking about exes is a total no-no.

And most Americans agree. A 2017 study found that, across most demographic lines, only roughly one-third of Americans believe it’s ok to discuss past relationships on a first date. But while it’s true that talking about your ex too much can put a damper on a new relationship, that doesn’t mean that you should never talk about your past. 

Your previous relationships are part of what make you who you are, and it’s natural for your partner to be curious about them. These conversations can also bring you closer, if done right.

There are a few simple rules that will help you avoid the minefields while opening up to your SO. Read on for our list of three things you should consider when talking about past relationships with your partner.

Never compare

This should go without saying, but it’s best never to compare your ex to your present, in any way, shape or form. That way madness lies. Past relationships are in the past—and if yours isn’t, you’re probably not ready for your present one.

Consider your intentions

It’s all in the delivery, and your intentions matter. So think about why you are sharing. Is it to give your significant other important context about you and your past? In that case, go ahead. But if you’re venting about your ex because you’re still angry, step back and think about it first. That relationship is over; let it go and focus all your energy on your current romance. Best of all? There’s no downside to this approach

Put this relationship first

Talking about your ex should never make your SO feel worse about themselves. And some things don’t need to be shared. So keep the intimate details to yourself. Yes, even if your partner asks. You don’t want to open that box.

It’s surprisingly easy to overshare when talking about your exes. But these rules will help you navigate those treacherous waters and come out dry on the other side.

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Four Date Night Ideas for Four Different Types of Couples

If you are a resident of Chicagoland, consider yourself lucky! You are in no shortage of fun places to visit. Today, we’ve put a list together of four places guaranteed to make you belly laugh. Because isn’t the whole idea of a double date to be able to let loose and have fun? So, scroll on down and set a date. We promise this will be nothing but fun! Here are four date night ideas for four different types of couples!

For the “Cool” Couples


Escape rooms are so last season. Chicago’s First Virtual Reality Lounge literally helps you lunge into a whole new world! There are tons of virtual realities to choose from, including “flying anywhere in the world”. This is the perfect blend of getting out of the house, having a ton of fun with friends and experiencing something new. Bonus: Its BYOB. Check out their website for more info.

For the “Good Time” Couples  


If you prefer non-intimidating looking places, an eclectic mix of people and are out to let lose… you can’t go wrong with this “hole in the wall” karaoke bar. With a solid 4-star rating and over 400 reviews, you can rest assure you are leaving this place with some fun memories. Bonus: they offer Happy hours with 50% off private rooms. You can check out their website here for reservation info.

For the “Daring” Couples 


Listen, we know there are some things that sound really fun to do and you always say you’re gonna do them, but then life happens, and you end up missing out. Don’t miss out on this! a guaranteed unique experience, this is a memory completely worth making with friends. Check out their pricing and rules here but trust us, don’t overthink this whole new way to see Chicago. 

For the “WINNER” Couples


If you’re into friendly competitions and the words “sophisticated fun” sound like your kind of thing then look no further than Pinstripes. Starting at only $5 per person, drool-worthy dinners and an impressive bar menu, this place is a total no brainer choice for a double date night. You can eat, you can drink and you can Bowl. Bonus: There’s Bocce. Check out their website here.

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In Search of the Elusive Work-Life Balance: 4 Calls to Action

With many people still working from home these days, the line between work and off-hours has the potential to become blurry. But even if you’re in the office, it’s incredibly easy to stay at work too late, bring work home with you, and work when you should be recharging. The work ethic that drives the American dream is still noble and good—but as with anything, you can have too much of a good thing. So you need to know when and how to lift your nose from that grindstone to create a better work-life balance.

If you find that you’re always tired and run-down, or that you get sick often, or that you’re constantly turning down opportunities to spend time with loved ones due to work, then you’re probably working too hard.

Is this you? Take a step back, examine your life, and consider whether the following tips might help:

Set limits on your work.

This could be a commitment to coming home on time every day, or a daily or weekly limit on the amount of time you spend doing work-related things outside of normal working hours.

Say no.

Be realistic about what you can accomplish during the time you’ve allotted. Don’t take on extra tasks that you don’t have time for. It’s better to do the necessary tasks very well, than spread yourself too thin and do everything poorly—or end up sick in bed as a result of stress.

Set expectations.

If you’re really overloaded because your employer expects too much, it’s time to push back and set reasonable expectations. Take control of your work life and your health because no one else is going to do it for you.

Set aside time to relax.

This means different things to different people. Maybe you would love nothing more than to sleep in and do nothing on Saturday. Maybe you’d rather join a sports league or taking up knitting. Whatever it is, build that recharge time into your schedule and stick to it.

A healthy work-life balance requires a delicate balancing act and periodic recalibration. Check in with yourself occasionally to reevaluate and make sure you’re maintaining it. With summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to make sure you’re in a position to make the best of it. And you can’t do that when you’re overloaded with work.

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Work-Life Balance: A Personal Lookback

After graduating last May, I started my big girl job in the big city! I went in bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, but I soon came across something for which I was not prepared: just how hard it is to maintain a work-life balance in the winter. Between the snow, the wind, and the sun setting in the middle of the afternoon, finding the motivation to do anything productive is HARD. This is especially harder for those in relationships, as the lack of excitement can leave the relationship feeling like hitting a wall. After navigating this phenomenon for the past few months, I want to share with you two ways to maintain a work-life balance with a partner in the wintertime!

Cook with friends!

I don’t know about you, but once I’m home, all I want to do is take a warm bath, put on my PJs, curl up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn, and binge-watch Netflix. However, after a few days of this with a partner, it starts to feel like we’re in a rut. Luckily, there are so many activities couples can do indoors to keep the spark alive. One way to do this is to use websites and apps in which you pick a meal and the company sends you the ingredients needed to make that meal! After you find your best couple friends using Couplr, cooking together is a great way to try something new, while growing the friendship between the couples!

Practice self-care!

The other side of the work-life balance coin is taking the time to practice self-care. Some of my favorite solo self-care activities include reading and journaling. As a couple, we take this time to talk through the relationship. A great way to do this is saying things we love about the relationship, as well as things we can do to improve together. Having these conversations is so important to keeping the relationship prosperous.


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Banish Pickiness: How to Raise Adventurous Eaters

“I’m not eating that.” It’s a familiar scene to any parent. Dinner is served, and your child’s expression changes. Picky children are as numerous as drive-thru windows, but is finicky eating an unavoidable part of childhood? It isn’t. And as a parent, there are some things you can do to banish pickiness and coax your child to try new things, and eventually, to enjoy a more varied diet. Here are a few options:

Provide opportunities to try new things

Busy families can easily fall into food ruts. Having a meal rotation is smart household management, but it’s important not to eat the same things all the time. After all, children can’t learn to enjoy new foods if they never get to try them. Commit to trying something new once a week. That could be a new fruit or vegetable, or a new side dish recipe. 

Offer options

If you’re trying to get your kids to eat more vegetables, give them choices. By providing options, you reverse the narrative: Rather than being forced to eat the only vegetable on the table by Mom, the child gets to choose: broccoli or carrots? This is a surprisingly effective way to reduce dinner-time stalemates. 

Respect their taste buds

Some kids might turn up their noses at anything that grows from the ground. And in those cases, it’s your job to show them that all vegetables are not the same. A child who despises kale might love carrots or beets. 

But once you’ve identified something that your child truly can’t stand, don’t push it. Why force zucchini when there are so many other delicious and nutritious vegetables out there? You likely have a few foods that you just don’t like, and your child is no different.

Involve your child in meal prep

Children love to help cook. Yes, it’s messier than doing it yourself, and it takes longer. But kids are funny that way—if they help cook something, they’re much more likely to eat it. 

Involve a young child in tasks like adding ingredients and mixing. Older children can chop vegetables and prepare a salad. If you’re concerned about knife safety, look for a kid-friendly serrated plastic knife. They actually chop very well, while keeping little fingers safe from harm.

Teaching your children to be less picky isn’t a quick process. It requires patience and consistency, but our tips can help ease the journey to banish pickiness. At the end of the road, you’ll find your reward: complaint-free mealtimes.

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Cultivate Resilience: How to Raise a Hopeful Child

For many of us, the importance of hope in our lives has never been as evident as it is now. The events of the past year and a half have shown us how important hope is to cultivate resilience and keep us afloat in a world pummeled by the waves of instability. 

But what is hope, exactly?

According to a definition developed in the 1990s, hope consists of three things: a goal; at least one path to achieving that goal; and the belief that one is capable of following that path to success.

As a parent, you’d like your children to grow up hopeful, well-adjusted, and resilient. Here are three ways to help them do that.

Cultivate independence

To give your child hope in hard times, you have to teach them to find and take those pathways to success in times of trouble. This requires independence, which in turn requires practice being independent. So give your child that opportunity. Whenever possible, resist the urge to tell your child what to do in a difficult situation. Instead, provide guidance, and then let them figure it out. 

Foster self-confidence

A self-confident child is one who has faith in their self, their abilities, and their decisions. Again, this requires practice. To foster self-confidence, let your child make personal choices, such as choosing what clothing to wear. But you can also solicit their input in larger family decisions, such as where to go on vacation or how to cheer up an ailing relative. Demonstrating that you trust your child’s judgment will help them realize that they can trust it, too.

Provide a soft landing spot

Everyone messes up, and so will your child. Make sure they know that your love for them doesn’t waver. Provide a soft, but firm foundation for them to fall on when things are difficult. A child who grows up in a supportive, forgiving home is well positioned to be independent, hopeful and resilient.

Raising a hopeful child doesn’t happen by accident, but it is a byproduct of a healthy and supportive home life. By giving your child the agency to make mistakes, faith in their own decisions, and a safe place to fail, you will cultivate resilience and set them up to be a hopeful adult, ready to weather any trials the world may throw at them.

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Post-Baby Connection: Stay Connected After the Baby Arrives

Whether you’re expecting, or your bundle of joy has already arrived, there’s no question that life changes in a big way when you become parents. It can be tempting to drop everything and focus 100 percent of your energy and attention on your little one. But it’s incredibly important that you don’t do this at the expense of your spouse. In fact, a 2015 study found that couples’ awareness of each other and the relationship was one of the decisive factors in marital happiness and post-baby connection.  

The changes that happen to you–

Having a baby is a shock to a relationship. It’s a wonderful shock, yes, and it’s all worth it. But it is a shock all the same. Consider the changes that come about:

  • Sleep. You’re getting less of it. Which will make you irritable. That will inevitably affect your relationship.
  • Those spur-of-the-moment trips? Your weekly bar night with friends? Your sports league? You may still be able to do those things sometimes, but life is going to get in the way a lot more often now. Your time is no longer your own.

The changes you can make–

It’s crucial that, as you adjust to the rhythms of parenthood, you also establish new rhythms of couplehood. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Practice self-care and give your partner time to do the same. Taking care of yourselves in whatever manner you choose will help you give more to your baby and to your relationship.
  2. Check in with your partner regularly. Assess your personal states of mind as well as the state of the relationship. If someone needs a break, make sure they get it. Proactively managing your stress levels will help ensure no one gets overwhelmed.
  3. Get out of the house. If you’ve got a trusted sitter, go out to dinner, or just grab a cup of takeaway coffee and go for a walk. If you don’t have help, make a note to find some, and take the babe with you for the time being. 

The new days of parenthood are sweet and fleeting. Enjoy them. But tend to your relationship too, and it will survive even the toughest obstacles and maintain your post-baby connection with your spouse.

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Four Benefits of Homeschooling Your Child

The pandemic caused a global upheaval like the world has never known, and education was among the many areas of life that saw huge, game-changing shifts. The sudden switch to e-learning caused massive disruption in school districts that lacked the infrastructure to successfully navigate the change. And as a result, the number of families switching to homeschooling their children in the United States rose dramatically.

In fact, that number more than tripled in the fall of 2020, with more than 11% of families choosing to homeschool, up from about 3.3% pre-pandemic. 

For some, this was a triage option only during e-learning. But even as schools make plans to reopen, uncertainty abounds, and it’s likely that the surge in homeschooling will continue. The state of your school district may have you considering an option you’d previously discounted. If you are on the fence about homeschooling, read on to learn about the benefits of homeschooling. 

Academic success:

Homeschoolers do better academically than their public schooled peers: their test scores are higher, and 10% more of them graduate college. Learning at home allows the children to learn at their own pace with 1:1 attention. They aren’t bound by the needs of 24 other students in a classroom.

Emotional health:

With bullying made more ruthless by the rise of social media, this concern is more relevant than ever. The emotional scars from intense bullying can negatively affect a child for life. With homeschooling, children can grow into their confidence before experiencing any bullying that can happen in school.

Independent thinking:

A child raised away from environments of peer pressure is better equipped to think for their self. This level of independent thinking allows them to better stand up for their self. 

Family togetherness:

Homeschooled siblings spend a lot more time together. This helps them form a bond that just can’t be replicated if they’re in different classes in school all day. Families have freedom to take vacations or participate in activities whenever they want. The don’t have to squeeze them in on days off. Many homeschooling families choose to continue homeschooling just to preserve this type of freedom.

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but maybe it’s for you. If these benefits have piqued your interest, give it a try. You might find you never want to go back.

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Three Things to Discuss Before Having Kids

If you want to have children, chances are you have already discussed this with your spouse. That’s important. For many people, having kids—or not having kids—is a relationship deal-breaker. But when your first bundle of joy arrives, so do brand-new friction points that can stress your relationship. This is completely normal—having a child is a huge, life-changing event that requires adjustment. And it’s definitely not possible to discuss everything with your spouse before the baby is born. But if you can get on the same page with your partner in a few key places, you’ll enter parenthood with a better idea of what to expect, and be better equipped to weather the inevitable storms that will come. Prepare by agreeing on a few different topics before having kids. Three big ones are reviewed here. 

Medical philosophy

Depending on your mindset, the topic of vaccines for your baby can be polarizing. But whether you choose to vaccinate on schedule or go another route, you should definitely make sure you and your spouse are in agreement before your baby is born. In those early days, the shot schedule is fast and furious, so having a plan in place will help reduce friction and stress.


Some parents prefer to co-sleep with their children for years. This can be easier for mom if she’s nursing and provide a sense of closeness that the whole family enjoys. But it can also disrupt sleep and cause fathers to feel distant from their partners. Like many aspects of parenting, co-sleeping is something that you can’t truly form an opinion on until baby comes. But it’s still a good idea to have some idea of how you and your partner feel about it before you become parents.


I know. You’re wondering why we’re talking about discipline for a newborn who can’t do anything independently except cry and poop. But that tiny tot won’t stay tiny forever. At some point you will find yourself having to set boundaries, and mete out the consequences when your child crosses them. Discuss appropriate forms of discipline with your spouse to get an idea of where you each stand.

You can’t plan for everything, and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to having kids. Above all, parenting teaches us to be flexible. But taking the time to discuss key aspects of child-rearing with your spouse before having kids is never a bad idea. It will help you find common ground, and you will likely become closer in the process.

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