Healthy Couples’ Relationships During the Pandemic
The novel coronavirus has been with us for a while now, and many of us have grown accustomed to the lockdown measures and shelter-in-place orders. However, while we gradually get accustomed to working from home, Zooming our friends, and ordering in instead of eating out, it can still be hard to maintain a healthy relationship. A healthy relationships goal is difficult to manage at the best of times, and during this tough year, many couples have felt the pinch. But before you give up on love or jump onto the best dating sites to try and find someone new, take pause. There may be some steps you can take to keep your relationships healthy in the pandemic.
What Is a Healthy Relationships Key Stressor in Lockdown?
Upheaval and emotional stress always have a detrimental effect on romantic relationships. Even the strongest couples are not immune to periods of turmoil that may make couples question their attachment to each other. So, why has the pandemic been so uniquely hard for couples, and what are healthy relationship skills we can use to get back on our feet?
- Our Lives Are Turned Upside Down
One of the main reasons why the pandemic is hard on healthy relationships‘ sense of stability is the general chaos of the event. The pandemic hit countries hard and fast, and many of us barely had time to think before all our plans and our usual schedules were annihilated. In situations like this, it’s normal to take frustrations out on those closest to you. However, this can still take a toll on relationships if it happens too much.
- Increased Stress
Stress and anxiety can overwhelm people and cause them to damage their relationships through distracted or destructive behavior. The pandemic is a high-stress situation as people are worried about finances, health, and the safety of their loved ones. This can be particularly difficult for empaths and highly sensitive people to deal with.
So, can empaths have healthy relationships during a pandemic when their fears and emotions are likely to consume them? The answer is yes. But only with compassion, support, and understanding from their partners.
- No Time or Space for Ourselves
Even in the closest couples, the proximity of lockdown can leave us feeling a little stir crazy. Couples may have found themselves forced to work at home together or cramped in tiny apartments. This is bound to lead to conflict, and even the smallest things can seem super annoying when we haven’t got enough time for ourselves.
- Monotony and Lack of Outside Interaction
Why do healthy relationships feel boring? Even though most people spend ages looking for relationships, when they are in them, they sometimes crave independence and broader social interaction. The pandemic has curbed all socializing, and couples who otherwise get along great might find themselves longing for an adventure alone or for some interaction that doesn’t involve their partner. This is totally normal, however, and all part of healthy relationships ebbs and flows.
How to Maintain Healthy Relationships During the Pandemic?
Although you may feel suffocated by your partner in lockdown, healthy relationships can positively impact health and mental well-being. With this in mind, it’s worth working on your partnership during tough times rather than immediately looking for an escape. Of course, if your partner is abusive or you feel threatened in any way, you should seek help and try to leave as quickly as possible.
Relationship counselors acknowledge that the pandemic is a uniquely difficult time for couples. However, there are some techniques you can use to ease the pressure and build your relationships positively. Remember, healthy relationships and mental health are intimately connected, so always make sure you are taking time to work on yourself as well as prioritizing your partnership.
- Allow Time to Vent
Healthy relationships and communication go hand in hand even in normal circumstances. During the pandemic, you should frequently check in with your partner to ask them how they are coping and to allow time to vent. Chances are, if you’re feeling frustrated with the global situation, then so are they.
While it’s important not to let negativity dominate your space, allow your partner to sound off when they are stressed. Try to listen in a non-judgemental way and offer support as this is often what healthy relationships are based on. It helps to remember you are both in this together.
- Make Space for Yourself
A healthy relationship pattern is often that couples come together when they want to be together and take time and space for themselves when they do not. In a lockdown, this option has largely been removed, but you should still try to make space for some ‘me time.’ Maybe designate a quiet room or a certain time of the day when you give your partner space and spend some time alone.
Taking a break will help clear your mind and restore your sense of independence. Try not to be offended if your partner asks for this. Spending 24/7 together may be how healthy relationships start, but it is not how they go on past the honeymoon phase.
- Move Forward With Compassion
It’s always easy to get wrapped up in our own problems. In this way, the pandemic is a highly unique scenario as we are all experiencing a collective time of trauma and doubt. Try to empathize with your partner if they seem anxious or highly strung.
Ask them specifically what is bothering them. Perhaps they are worried about job security or money?But also allow them to just feel afraid and sit with them in this emotion. Although it may not seem like it, this is an opportunity to get closer, and, at the end of the day, it’s good not to be alone in these times.
These tips are great to implement, whether you want to form healthy relationships while dating or work on an existing relationship. During these trying times, there is more stress on our relationships than ever. We hope these tips have helped ease the strain.
Final Call: Do you feel cooped up with your partner in lockdown? How has the pandemic affected your circumstances? Has it made you closer as a couple or caused arguments? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
Miranda Davis is a freelance writer in the relationship and psychology area. Miranda is interested in such topics as building healthy relationships between people, love/sex compatibility, and how to find the right balance in life in general. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Miranda loves cooking and long-distance walking.