How to Manage Relationship Challenges During COVID-19

Managing social isolation with your partner can be a challenge, especially with COVID-19, which means living in enforced close quarters for a longer period of time.

As couples spend more time in the same space during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockout, it is not surprising that conflicts often arise. Anxiety about work, disrupted routines, issues of child care, lack of social connections, and struggles to be productive at home can lead couples to vent their frustrations.

For others, it can provide an opportunity to reconnect with a partner and to develop a deeper level of confidence and intimacy. For some, it can be a difficult time when you see your partner through a different lens in a ‘pressure cooker’ atmosphere where they can do things that you find annoying.

Add in uncertainty, increased stress and possible loss of income, and tension in your relationship could escalate.

Keys to Keep Relationships Strong

  1. Create space, some alone time

It is important for someone to spend some time with themselves first to look upon ourselves makes us a stronger person than being with others.

Tips for me time :

  • Have honest conversations with your partner.
  • Don’t expect your partner to fill your spare time or spend all day with you during the workday.
  • Give an ‘I’ message – “I need some quiet time to myself”.
  • Create clear physical boundaries: no business in the kitchen if space allows, or no talk about the children during office hours. If you can, separate your working space from your living space, and when work is over for the day, turn off the computer and go into the living space.
  • Set time for no disturbance periods. Couples thrive when there is a healthy balance between time spent together and time spent apart.
  1. Don’t assume the other person knows what you’re thinking.

None of us have ever had a pandemic, so we don’t have past experience to guide us. Speak to each other about your emotions and what you’re thinking about. “Don’t presume that the other person knows something is bothering you,” Rickey says. “The mind can not be understood. You’ve got to verbalize

  1. Make a  plan for your household.

If your relationship with a couple is complicated by having children in the household, you might want to meet on a weekly or even daily basis to discuss how you’re going to take care of your duties as a team. You may be able to divide household chores or turn home to school for younger children. Making a plan and executing it will give you a sense of control and achievement in these uncertain times.

  1. Communicate Thoughtfully.
  • Close quarters and fear or frustration of the unknown may see a period where your partner’s actions irritate you beyond measure.
  • While a small, anxious habit may be a coping mechanism for them, it may be a trigger for rising anger in you. Thoughtful communication is essential to prevent annoyances from turning into anger.
  • If you feel like shouting or criticizing, take a breath and step back. Remind yourself that your partner is doing their best to cope, just as you are.
  • Try to address the annoyance in a thoughtful way. For example, instead of yelling out an order to stop biting their nails, say something like “I see you’re biting your nails more than usual, how are you feeling?”. Let that approach be the opener to a calm conversation.
  • Simple, respectful language, such as saying please and thank you to each other and telling jokes or laughing when you can help keep communication open and your relationship strong
  1. Plan a date night.

Having a date for doing something special that you can expect. Cook a special dinner together, set the table with your best dishes and dress it up. Visit the museum online, listen to a concert, or read a book.

  1. Keep your sense of humour.

Do whatever makes your partner laugh such as pranks, sharing jokes and social media would be the best option to stay connected with humorous activities.

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