With all our financial, health and mental stresses, mixed with a lack of space and freedom , it’s not surprising that couples are reportedly arguing more than ever with divorces predicted to sky rocket.
So, how do we restore the lockdown love and help protect ourselves against the couple cracks as-well as the coronavirus crisis?
Take time for you
Okay, so we know this isn’t the easiest thing to do in lockdown as unfortunately we don’t all live in Buckingham Palace and wonderful West Wings we can wander to (a girl can dream!) However, even if you just head out for a walk on your own. Put some earphones in. Take yourself off to read a book. Particularly if you’ve just had an argument with your partner, you can use this time to calm yourself down. Reflect when calm, don’t make rash decisions when angry.
Be kind to each other
As hard as you are finding the situation, remember your partner is too so cut them slack. It’s very easy in these situations, where one person is working and one is potentially on Furlough, to think the grass is greener and to get into completions over who is more stressed. However, whatever your working dynamic, both of you will be coping (and struggling) in different ways and doing little things like making their favourite dinner, running them a special bath or just being there to listen at the end of a hard day can really help.
It’s good to talk
Communication is always important in relationships but never more so than I’m pressured times like this. Try to understand those you love by listening to their feelings and acknowledging them – don’t simply tell them to ‘cheer up’, as they’re less likely to confide in you again when they’re feeling down.
Allow those around you to understand how you are feeling, too, by explaining clearly and calmly. Some find it helpful to write down what they want to say beforehand.
Have a routine – but don’t let it rule the roost!
Having a routine is a great way of giving you and your partner a sense of normality and control in what is a very unnormal and uncontrollable circumstance.
This can be as simple as getting dressed, making the bed and setting up a home office for the day. It’s good for everyone’s sense of esteem. But remember, relentless routine can also be extremely dull, too, so find ways of introducing a little variety into your daily life – whether that’s taking up a new hobby each, watching boxsets you’ve never seen or discussing topics that you haven’t never talked about before over dinner – no matter how trivial.
Let’s talk about sex
Right, you can’t escape it, for many, sex can be hugely comforting in a crisis. We’ve all heard about the baby boom that occurred after the New York blackout in 1977 and the Second World War. But while some, sex is bonding and reassuring for others, anxiety and stress means that sex is the last thing on their mind.
This in mind be aware of any differences between you and your romantic partner in this respect and don’t be afraid to talk about them with each other without judgement or guilt.
Back to the future
So, while it may seem hard to look forward to things at the moment, when there’s dramas and uncertainties, it helps to have strategies in place to deal with them. When tensions occur, agree to take a short time out from each other – studies show that it takes 20 to 30 minutes for our nervous systems to calm down and our heart rates to slow to a normal rate after an argument. Once you’re both calm, come back together and ask your partner to listen, without interrupting or needing to respond, to what’s on your mind. Then do the same for them. As a result, you may need to negotiate between you for something to change. Ultimately, remember that this epidemic will pass and the stresses placed on your relationship will lift. Hang on in there, and life will come back into balance once more.