Prolonged isolation, like the one we are experiencing because of the coronavirus . It is a challenge for any couple. There are no magic recipes, but these are the expert’s proposals to cope with this seclusion and even strengthen the relationship. Six ways to help each other.
1. Don’t assume how the other feels.
This is a new situation for everyone. Couples therapist Aoife Drury says that to overcome these moments together, it is key to assume that the other person may not be experiencing the same emotions or thoughts as us. Avoid assumptions. On the contrary, keep dialogues clear and open. Along the same lines, Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of the best-selling 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, insists that “this is an emotional roller coaster.” “You may find yourselves laughing one minute and the next minute crying. And in between, of course, you will be bored and frustrated. You need to keep that in mind to help the other cope with the impact.
2. Strive to be kind and respectful
“Make it a goal to treat your partner with kindness, even if you don’t feel like it,” says Morin. Apologize more than you usually do and be grateful for what you sometimes overlook. When you communicate, and you must do so, because you feel frustrated or stressed, try using “I feel” instead of “you make me feel” or “when you, then I.” Think that there are few things you can control in quarantine, one of them is how you treat the other.
3. Accept that these circumstances are challenging for everyone.
“You have to give yourself a grace period,” explains Aidan Jones, CEO of an organization dedicated to couples counseling. This is unusual for everyone. Forgive yourself and forgive your partner for inconsistencies and changes of opinion or mood. You may want to know as much as possible about what is happening with the coronavirus, and your partner prefers to know it little by little or at least not to know what cannot change. Respect it. Because, in addition, that dynamic can change with the days.
4. This is not the time to settle accounts.
This is not the time to pick up pending disputes, to start big discussions, or to take advantage of the circumstance for account adjustments. If your partner needs to talk more with his family right now or spend a long time on WhatsApp with his friends, be patronizing. And remember that one of the points for mental strengthening is not to regret circumstances continually.
5. Make sure you differentiate home and work even if you work at home.
If you are working from home, be sure to set boundaries between ‘home’ and ‘work’ by setting clear hours, and not mixing activities. Try not to clean the house while you take work calls, or interrupt the time you spend watching a series with your partner to answer emails. Don’t waste too much energy on things you can’t control. But as little as you can, take your responsibility.
6. Take the opportunity to grow as a couple and plan the future ahead.
You are going to have a lot of time ahead, so you can also take advantage to meet the other better, explains Morin. One of the best ways to overcome stressful situations is to imagine yourself talking about it when it has passed or within five years. It can help you look at the present from another perspective.
In the end, don’t forget to have pleasure sex with your partner.