LIVING IN THE INSTAPOT

Ever heard of the Instapot? A fairly popular kitchen item, its  a high pressure cooker and can double as a slow cooker.

If you are like us, you and your significant other have been hunkered down under the same roof for more than three months now. Working together, sleeping together, eating all your meals together. If I go to the kitchen, he’s there.  Out on the deck, he’s there. In the bathroom?  Yep, there he is again.  I love my husband, I really do, but all this pandemic created togetherness is sometimes makes me feel like I am a chicken wing being pressure cooked in my kitchen Instapot.  

In my practice, I have observed this pressure cooker lock down lifestyle leading couples down divergent paths. On one side of the fence, some relationships have really thrived  and both individuals have appreciated the extra time together.  Those folks are enjoying each other, melded well and strengthened their connection. They spend time doing the traditional things they like to do together and in some cases exploring and learning about each other in different ways.  

I have been working with one couple that were together just a short time before the lock down began. In a move that their families unanimously thought was an enormous lapse in judgment,  the two decided to quarantine together.  To the surprise of the others, but not to themselves, the Instapot cooked things to perfection.  Getting to know each other quickly, in a small and contained environment, proved to be a fast path to love and a desire to make things permanent. With both of their apartment leases soon to expire, the two are house hunting for their first home together.  

For others, the Instapot has served up a fair share of discomfort and conflict.   Many couples have been forced to spend time together when they ordinarily do not. They have lost many of their other outlets and coping mechanisms and are pretty much going crazy from being in home all day with a partner that up to now they have found a way to co-exist or, in many cases, don’t like very much. Those are the folks who no doubt will be over done and ready to get out and separate as soon as the pandemic passes. 

From my vantage point as a mental health professional, this Instapot relationship experiment has been really interesting to observe.  For some, the heat has sped up or increased the positive while for others pressure cooker has burnt them to a crisp, speeding their relationship toward a breakup. 

I like to think that my relationship with David, solid before this mess began, will be even more so when it is over.  I still wish he would get out of my way now and again though.

Julie Bulitt, LCSW-C is a licensed clinical social worker and family therapist.  She and her husband, a divorce lawyer, have been married for more than 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, is available online and in local bookstores. Follow David and Julie at www.thebulitts.com and on all social media platforms @thebulitts. 

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