Is Covid-19 sabotaging your relationship?

With coronavirus keeping us at home many of us have taken a long hard look at our relationships. Our relationships have been stripped back. The scaffolding of support that relationships normally rely on are simply not available.

Our partner has had to be our gym buddy, confidant, extended family, best friend, work colleague and a constant companion with nothing new to bring into the relationship.

Our intimate relationships have been put under a huge amount of stress. This doesn’t take into account the uncertainty and high anxiety that we have all been living with. People are emotionally exhausted. Add to that home schooling, support bubbles and financial pressures.
We have the perfect storm of life events that can derail even the most solid relationships.
relationship issues during covid 19
This is a time to recalibrate ones relationship. The relationships that have weathered storms in the past or faring better than those that haven’t faced pressures. Navigating through this crisis needs support and it would be sad if a perfectly good relationship fails because one doesn’t have the skills to negotiate the changes needed.
The one thing that we hear at The Relationship Practice is that we keep on arguing. How do we stop? The truth is all relationships have disagreements.
Conflict is not necessarily a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Even the most successful relationships argue. Unless we are in a relationship with our clone we are likely to have disagreements. It’s honestly not surprising to have arguments and in truth it’s not the arguments that are the undoing of a relationship it is how we manage it.
We also need to be aware of the impact the level of anxiety we are living under. Health anxiety has shrunk our window of tolerance and our brains are wired for fight and flight. In truth we are already primed to pick up on anything we may perceive as threatening and that includes issues within our relationship. As a result,  we may find our partner more readily irritating.

Here are 7 steps you can take to support your relationship over this time

1) Accept that disagreements are inevitable.

2) Take full responsibility and decide to recalibrate the relationship. Changing times requires changes to how your relationship operates. (Try the Mindshine exercise “Journaling for Joy”).

3) Have “we” conversations. E.g. “We are struggling with X, how shall we manage this?” works better than “You are doing X, and it’s a problem”.

4) Focus on a solution. Research has shown that solution focused discussions create harmony (Try the Mindshine exercise “Uncover Anger”).

5) Give each other space. Go for a walk apart or have a conversation separately, this literally brings air into a relationship. (Try the Mindshine exercise “Mindful Walking”).

6) Start and end the day well. Five minutes of undivided attention at the beginning and the end allows a couple to feel reconnected.

7) Seek support. A non-judgmental conversation with a counsellor can help turn a relationship around.

Article by Pam Custers, founder of The Relationship Practice.

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