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Confinement and social life in the time of COVID

By Patrick Hereng

We live in the center of PARIS (1st Arrondissement) and regularly travel abroad (Africa, Asia, …) in addition to our professional activity. With the confinement, everything came to a sudden halt and we took refuge in our second home in the Drôme. It’s a natural confinement because the first neighbor is 1 km away….
All our social activities therefore stopped overnight, as with everyone else.

An important element of our Parisian life was our “fraternity as a couple”. We met approximately every month with 3 other Parisian couples to exchange news and reflect as a couple on a specific subject related to the news of our couples.

The confinement therefore also put a stop to this practice and we thought that the virtual could be an answer to our need for exchange between couples. So we have planned our first virtual couple fraternity on March 30…

And the result was pleasant and surprising: in addition to the convivial exchange of news during the skype aperitif, we felt the closeness and brotherhood between us with great kindness. The three young couples live rather well the containment. They juggle pregnancy or their baby while working from home or on short-time work.
They take more time to talk in their couple and do activities (sports, cooking, etc.) together. They manage to find time to pray and meditate.

A little wink for us: we were able to enjoy the applause in Paris at 8 o’clock.

Following the news, a text made it possible to refocus the discussion on the impacts of confinement and post-confinement. We then had couple time (offline) from open-ended questions.

This time was appreciated by all participants and we were surprised to see the same involvement as in the physical fraternity. It has been helpful even with “problem-free” couples in the current situation.

So, I recommend you to copy us. You can take time with your spouse or confinement partner to answer the questions. You can also pair up a few friends and start with a skype aperitif.

You will find attached a frame that you can copy, distribute or amend without moderation

Patrick Hereng

Couple and confinement: love in times of Corona.

Side effect of the virus: the opportunity to review its priorities in the contemporary frenzy. On this occasion, we share a beautiful text by Raffaele Morelli, psychiatrist and founding president of the Institute of Psychosomatic Medicine in Riza.

I believe that the cosmos has its way of rebalancing things and its laws, when they get too upset. The moment we live in, full of anomalies and paradoxes, makes you think…

In a phase where climate change, caused by environmental disasters, has reached worrying levels. First China, then so many other countries, are forced into lockdown; the economy collapses, but the pollution decreases considerably.
The air is improving; we use a mask, but we breathe…

In a historical moment when, all over the world, certain discriminatory ideologies and policies are reactivated, forcefully recalling a petty past, a virus arrives, which makes us experience that, in an instant, we too can become the discriminated, segregated, those who are blocked at borders, who bring disease.
Even if we have nothing to do with it.

Even though we are white, western and we fly first class
In a society based on productivity and consumption, in which we all run 14 hours a day after, we don’t know why, without Saturday or Sunday, without more breaks in the calendar, suddenly the “stop” comes.
All stopped, at home, for days and days.

To take into account a time whose value we have lost, as soon as it is no longer measurable in money, in profit.
Do we even know what to do with it?

At a time when the education of our own children, by force of circumstance, is often delegated to various figures and institutions, the virus is closing schools and forcing us to find alternative solutions, to reunite mothers and fathers with their own children.
This forces us to rebuild a “family”.

In a dimension where relationships, communication, sociability, essentially play out in this non-space of the virtual of social networks, giving us the illusion of proximity, the virus removes proximity, which is very real: no one must touch, no kisses, no kisses, hugs, distance, in the cold of non-contact.

Since when did we take these gestures and their meaning for granted?

In a social climate where thinking of oneself has become the rule, the virus sends us a clear message: the only way out is reciprocity, the feeling of belonging, the community, the feeling of being part of something bigger that needs to be taken care of, and can take care of us. Shared responsibility, feeling that our actions depend not only on our own fate, but on the fate of others, of everyone around us. And that we depend on them.

So if we stop the ‘witch hunt’, from asking ourselves whose fault is it and why this all happened, to instead asking ourselves what we can learn, I think we all have a lot to think about and to act.
Because with the cosmos and its laws, obviously, we have excessive debt.
He reminds us of it at a high price, with a virus.

What resonates with me in this text? (each quotes a sentence)

Working time in couple (45 min)
10 mins of personal reflection

– Personally

  • In my personal and current situation, what is for me a source of joy?
  • What is difficult for me personally?
  • Have I discovered resources at home that I did not suspect? And/or checked already familiar resources?
  • Have I discovered limits in myself that I did not suspect? And/or checked already familiar boundaries? What would be the learnings that I would like to do?


  • What do I like about our relationship in this situation?
  • What is difficult for me in our relationship in this situation?
  • How could you help me…I express a need
  • What will I need to live well during the rest of this period of confinement?


  • What would make me say that I succeeded – that we succeeded and optimized this time?
  • What are the 3 invitations and concrete actions that I would like to live personally and together in this period?
  • What invitation to change can I welcome?

20 min exchange
– Everyone shares their thoughts in 5 minutes, the other listens and notes without interrupting
– He reformulates what he has heard about the fears, difficulties and joys of others, about these needs and invitations
– We change

10 minutes of consolidation of our action plan
– Everyone notes the ideas that join them, what they propose to live better and enjoy this time (3 min)
– Share and validate 2-3 concrete actions adapted to both

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