Breaking Up With Your Partner While Social Distancing Might Be Your Only Option

Adversity has a way of making or breaking relationships, highlighting problems, and pushing couples to their limits. Now, imagine adding the pressure of being unable to walk away from someone while your relationship is under duress, or taking the space you need to think through your conflict. If you’re considering breaking up with your partner while social distancing, isolation may have lead to the realization that you and your SO are not in it for the long-haul. And you’d rather end the relationship than spend one more second listening to each other chew, even if you’re currently stuck together.

Karla, 26, tells Bustle that social distancing took her relationship from casual to serious overnight, and it ended up being a dealbreaker. “Everything was great — we were going on day trips and playing board games and meeting each other’s friends,” she says. “Then, all of a sudden, coronavirus anxiety began, and we went from getting to know each other to date.”

After a couple days of cohabitation, I couldn’t stand him.

While self-isolating as a unit sounded like a good idea at first, Karla quickly realized she wasn’t ready for a live-in partner. Instead of enjoying their company, she felt overwhelmed and annoyed, craving privacy. “It was so much so fast,” she says, “and after a couple days of cohabitation, I couldn’t stand him.”

Eventually, she decided to call things off, and the two parted ways. “Had this not happened, we would’ve still been getting to know each other and having our distance while still enjoying each other’s company,” Karla says. “There’s a time and place for everything, and this just came far too soon for such a young relationship.”

Outside of a global pandemic, any number of drastic changes to your everyday routine has the potential to become a relationship stressor — starting a new job, moving to a new place, adjusting to a new schedule. When you’re already negotiating the chaos of an overwhelming shift in your day-to-day life, small problems can feel like big ones.

“As people #flattenthecurve, we may be forced to spend considerably more time with each other,” Danni Zhang, psychologist and managing director of New Vision Psychology, previously told Bustle. “It’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to start thinking of getting out of said relationship.” Zhang emphasizes the importance of weighing whether you’re experiencing a dead-end or weathering temporary stress.

“Coronavirus has run the gamut of emotions in our relationship over the last couple of weeks,” Danielle, 33, tells Bustle. She and her husband of five years made it halfway through the second week of social distancing together, before they needed to establish a few quarantine rules in order to keep the peace.

The two made an agreement that, at least once a week, they’d part ways and enjoy a little alone time — relaxing in separate rooms, going for solo walks, and cooking alone for a much-needed respite. “Communicating how we are feeling without judgment has also been very important,” Danielle says. “Even though we are together, having time and space of our own is necessary, and allows that time together to be more valued.”

For couples on edge, Zhang suggests listing out the reasons why you love your partner in order to shift attention away from their habits that have got you on edge. But not all couples feel the investment is worth digging in their heels. Once they got a glimpse into their future together, they were ready to jump ship — even if that only meant moving from the bedroom to the couch.

“I’m fairly certain living together too soon was what pushed us to break up,” Karla says.

 

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Cam Sites Are Seeing A Spike During Quarantine, But Not Just Because People Are Horny

An influx of new viewers and performers to live adult sites does not mean business is good.

With the majority of humanity now on lockdown in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus, adult cam sites, which allow viewers to watch and interact with erotic performers in real time, say they’ve seen a massive viewership spike.

Gunner Taylor of Cams.com estimates his site and most others have “seen about a 30 percent increase in traffic.” Max Bennet of Stripchat says growth has only been accelerating in recent days, as lockdowns have expanded in scale and intensity. “We can tell the difference between social distancing and stay-at-home orders” based on regional traffic patterns, he said, with the latter leading to starker traffic increases. “We can see the degree of compliance” with those measures, too.

Bennett and many other cam site operators and performers say there’s more to this boost than simple stir-crazy horniness. They also suspect that the more and longer people are cooped up inside, the higher cam site traffic will likely continue to climb. However, that may not necessarily mean a windfall for performers.

It is easy to see this traffic bump as just another byproduct of “boredom, and masturbating out of boredom,” as the cam performer Rebecca Vanguard puts it. Traditional porn sites like Pornhub have reported traffic spikes in recent weeks too, especially in areas under lockdown.

It’s also easy to write off some new adult traffic as artificially induced. Pornhub and many other sites that deal in traditional porn have been offering temporary free or discounted (premium) memberships to people affected by coronavirus. Many cam sites already allow people to watch cammers for free, in public chatrooms with hundreds or thousands of other viewers. But sites like Cams.com, CamSoda, Stripchat, and xHamsterLive have been offering free tokens, used to tip performers (often to get them to perform a desired act) or pay them to go into private chats, for people creating new accounts while under lockdown.

“Many of us are alone and starved for human attention”

Yet Alex Hawkins of xHamster argues that “many of us are alone and starved for human attention,” and therein lies the true appeal of cam sites for a big chunk of viewers. “It’s quite nice to be able to chat with someone. Even if you are not home alone, it can be quite nice to talk to someone different.” The quest for connection — especially the kind of one-sided and uncomplicated intimacy cam sites often provide — may well explain why Hawkins says that xHamster’s cam platform has seen traffic grow twice as fast as its flagship tube site.

Adult cam shows are often conceptualized as live, interactive porn, offering bespoke and reactive experiences. However cam connoisseurs and researchers have long noted that, while still adult entertainment, camming is distinct from porn because of the emphasis it puts on building relationships between viewers and performers. Sure, some sites focus primarily on nudity and live sex, and Vanguard certainly thinks most of her viewers just want to get off. Most cammers, though, say part of the secret to building large and lucrative followings is to foster a sense of intimate connection with viewers. Even people who visit cams for a quick pornographic fix often find themselves sucked into the more emotional and personal aspects of the sites.

That’s why many cammers spend as much or more time clothed and chatting with viewers as they do getting naked and performing sex acts. It’s why a number of high-earning performers only do non-nude shows. It’s also why many individuals who try to cam fail, argues performer GuiltyCaprice: They simply get naked and act sexy, ignoring the specialized emotional and communicative skill sets and labor that go into crafting a successful cam persona or show.

Taylor points out that cam sites aren’t set up to monitor how viewers interact with performers, beyond how much time they spend in a room and how many tokens they spend. So it is hard to know for sure whether the people flocking to these sites on lockdown are acting out of a sense of isolation and a search for connection, or whether they are just experimenting with new sites and erotic fixes, bopping around the internet aimlessly as many of us are wont to do when trapped at home and bored.

However, there are some indications, in both industry press materials and viewer requests made directly to performers, that the demand for cam-to-cam tools, which allow cammers to see their viewers rather than just their screen names and texts (as is the norm on most sites), has been growing in recent weeks. Some insiders take this as a sign of a thirst for connection, spurred by the isolation of lockdowns, over voyeuristic adult content consumption.

Cammers offer a unique form of connection, which may be especially appealing in times of stress and crisis

Turning to cams for a sense of connection may seem odd when we have access to a myriad of videoconferencing tools that allow us to stay close to our friends and family, or even to date, during lockdowns. Cammers note that they, as a distinct category of sex workers, offer a unique form of connection, though, which may be especially appealing in times of stress and crisis, when people want uncomplicated care and comfort.

“A relationship with a friend is reciprocal,” explains performer Jessica Starling. “You vent to your friend, and it’s expected that your friend can in turn vent to you. The intimacy a sex worker provides is one-way. It is effortless on the part of the client. They just have to pay the sex worker’s fee. The focus is on the client’s experience, the client’s wants and needs.”

“I don’t know about you,” says performer Alex Coal, “but I don’t feel like I can share all my concerns and worries with people in my personal life. You don’t want to overload your loved ones,” especially when they’re stressed, if you’re cooped up with them, or if they may themselves be a point of stress in your life. “Venting to a friend online is much more comfortable.”

A surge of scared viewers looking for undemanding and often one-sided digital contact and comfort may not be great news for cammers, many of whom Hawkins notes are living in lockdown — effectively trapped at work — and coping with stress and fear as well. Sure, Cole notes, some regulars want to check in on their favorite performers, to make sure they are okay. Many also don’t want to talk about the virus, says GuiltyCaprice. They are “looking for an escape” on cams, not to dwell in their fears. Still, performer Lauren Phillips says that a critical mass of her viewers “want to talk about the coronavirus and how it is affecting us all.”

The emotional labor of camming can be draining, and burnout and depression among cammers is common in the best of times. Funnel more anxiety and stress into a performer’s life from the external world and through their chatrooms, and emotional attrition may accelerate or amplify. That’s why Cole warns performers to be especially aware in these times “of their limits in absorbing other people’s distress, and practice self-care,” taking time off if and as they can.

Starling adds while she and other performers who make traditional porn content as well as cam have seen increased sales figures on clip and tube sites, due to discounts and sales geared toward folks stuck at home, there is good reason to doubt that growing cam viewership will translate into new income for cammers. Eyeballs, after all, do not always equal dollars in this industry.

People who are worried about their jobs and finances seem more likely to make use of the ample free content on cam sites and less likely to shell out on paid private shows or tips, GuiltyCaprice says. Lockdowns have also messed with regular viewers’ and spenders’ patterns, says performer Red_Delicious. Trapped at home with other people, and as such usually with less private time, many viewers are now logging on to cam sites for just a few minutes at a time, at irregular or odd hours. These upheavals make it harder for cammers to profit.

Bennet and Taylor actually frame their sites’ free token offers for new cam viewers as stimulus programs, trying to funnel money to cammers who may struggle with the way things are shifting, and to push consumers into spending rather than just viewing free content piecemeal. “We’ve seen from past free token offers that this is a good way to encourage spending,” explains Taylor.

Eyeballs, after all, do not always equal dollars in this industry

A few performers also worry that job insecurity caused by coronavirus lockdowns will lead to a spike in the number of people signing up to cam, potentially creating a glut of performers that may cut into existing cammers’ profits. Escorts, exotic dancers, and traditional porn performers especially have noted in recent weeks that they are losing work to the virus and are considering camming for the first time to make up for it.

(Many legal brothels and strip clubs have closed down in the name of social distancing. Those that remain open have lost clientele and workers to coronavirus fears. Most porn performers are still shooting indie and solo content, but over the past month, most major studios have shut down production in response to the pandemic. These shoots are still vital to many performers’ income or visibility, so long-term studio freezes will still hurt many performers’ bottom lines.)

Off the Record Models, a cam performer agency, says it has seen a 25 percent spike in applications for management and representation since lockdowns began, and many more inquiries about getting into camming. Stripchat has seen a 15 percent increase in new models registering on the platform since the start of the year, adds Bennet, but a nearly 300 percent increase in the number of Italian models signing up in recent days. Just behind Italy on the sign-up chart, US model registrations are up 45 percent.

“I have been avoiding camming during this pandemic,” says Starling, precisely because of the trouble that consumer austerity and a surge of new performers could pose to all performers’ profits. “I’ve heard from many of my colleagues that cam business has been really slow.”

 

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Should You Text Your Crush During The Coronavirus Outbreak? Here’s The Truth

So, you’ve found a safe place to practice social distancing. You’ve stocked up on frozen pizzas and called your grandpa to explain how FaceTime works. And then, well… you’ve mostly just been watching Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron’s TikToks and observing your nail polish flake off from washing your hands a million times a day, right? It gets lonely after awhile, and you might be drawn to finding connection in ways you wouldn’t normally: by video-chatting friends you aren’t that close with, watching hours of random influencers’ Instagram Lives, and even texting your crush.

Talking to someone you like might seem silly at first, because it’s not like you should meet up right now. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus can spread between people who are in close contact with each other. It’s important to “flatten the curve” by isolating and practicing social distancing and good hygiene in order to ensure that not everyone gets sick with the coronavirus at once. If that were to happen, the healthcare system would be dangerously overwhelmed.

As people are physically farther apart than ever before, it’s important to find virtual ways to come together. That’s exactly why you should shoot your shot: In the absence of normal socializing, a tiny scrap of affection can make a world of difference.

Feel closer to those who are far away by hosting a game night on Zoom.
Shutterstock

If I can get corny for a sec, texting your crush is good for you. In 1988, epidemiologists at the University of Michigan published a landmark study in the journal Science that found social connections improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. People who feel connected to others have a stronger immune system and lower levels of depression and anxiety, among a whole host of other benefits. You can absolutely get those perks by cooking with your roommate or calling Mom, but there’s no need to stop there.

Aside from Grey’s Anatomy donating medical supplies to real doctors in need and this video of penguins exploring an aquarium on a “field trip,” there’s a shortage of good news right now. So, take joy where you can get it. Text your crush. Don’t have one? Find a new crush! According to the many push notifications I’ve received this week, activity is up on both Tinder and Bumble.

There’s never been an easier icebreaker in the world. “Hey, how are you holding up?” is no longer boring. It’s kind. Ask them about their family’s health, about their best friend who bags groceries at the supermarket, about how they’re working or studying from home. During these stressful, uncertain times, a thoughtful message goes a long way.

Once you’ve sparked a conversation, swap Netflix recs or recipe ideas. Ask creative questions. Send the link to that penguin video. Maybe things get steamy. Whatever! Almost anything you could say over text will be more exciting than the seventh consecutive episode of The Office they’re currently watching in bed, surrounded by crumbs. The bar is set low and the potential for entertainment is high.

It’s true that you two probably won’t be able to see each other for the foreseeable future. But if the sight of someone’s name bubbling up on your phone screen makes you happy, isn’t that worth something? There are far worse problems right now than being bored or lonely, and this situation won’t last forever. You will get through this — and you don’t have to do it alone.

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. You can find all Elite Daily’s coverage of coronavirus here.

 

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5 Things Mentally Strong People Do; Things You Need To Do To Cope With The COVID-19 Pandemic

The global lockdown caused by COVID-19 may seem like a forced vacation to some people. But for many in isolation, the restrictions, fear and uncertainty can make it seem like torture. According to Psychology Today’s report, the stress that people are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic may lead to negative feelings that will result in anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

(Photo : Pixabay)

How Can You Cope With The Pandemic? Here Are The Things Mentally Strong People Do!

This collective trauma may feel bleak, but it isn’t the first crisis faced by the world. According to the report, research investigations in various crises, such as 9/11, were conducted to show how individuals are coping with the events in both maladaptive and adaptive ways.

Researchers have studied the behavior of mentally strong people, how they think and act through adverse experiences. Here are some suggestions, based on evidence, that may help people not only manage the pandemic, but also decrease the long-term mental effects it may have.

5 things mentally strong people do to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic

1. They accept their feelings as normal.

According to the American Psychological Association, mentally strong people tend to accept their feelings as a normal thing since the pandemic is a time for both personal trauma and collective trauma.

They understand that feelings such as anxiety, fear, anger, and hopelessness are normal because there is too much information to be processed at once during the pandemic.

2. They limit news and media exposure.

The research stated that there are two main predictors of how well a person will cope with a pandemic or crisis. The first is how they feel vulnerable with their own lives before the pandemic even started. The second one is how much news information they consume during the pandemic.

This may lead to PTSD or various trauma. Being exposed to the media 24 hours a day can activate an individual’s “fight or flight” response, which may lead to traumatic stress. Mentally strong people avoid consuming too much media, choose responsible and reliable media or print outlets, and limit their exposure to distressful images or content.

3. They limit social media exposure.

This is also linked to limiting news and media since mentally strong people know that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are unofficial news channels and deliver news based on the people’s preferences and behaviors.

Mentally healthy people tend to avoid using social media platforms for news sources. Or, if they can, consume it carefully and judiciously.

4. They meditate.

Different studies have long revealed that long-term meditators can recover from a traumatic experience or a stressful event better.

The benefits of meditation include reduced stress, less anxiety, decreased depression, increased attention span, and an overall improved emotional well-being.

5. They focus on facts.

According to Marsha Linehan, the Ph.D. creator of Dialectical behaviors Therapy (DBT), people have three states of mind; rational mind, emotional mind, and wise mind.

Being emotional is a natural thing during the pandemic. However, choosing to use the rational mind by listing facts and logical information can decrease unnecessary negative thoughts. Mentally strong people tend to think and discern before accepting any information from any source.

 

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Life Before Quarantine – Part 11

During quarantine I’ve been fairly productive. I get my energy from people but I really enjoy my alone time. My daughter agrees. We’re both perfectly happy being on our own. I was looking through some photos the other day and I got some great memories of when we were all allowed to come out and play. I thought I’d share some of them with you. I’ll run this series every week until I run out of photos! If you see yourself, hit me up!

I’m very fortunate to have met you all and enjoyed the times we had together. Thank you!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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