Is the lockdown causing stress in your relationship? Here’s how to keep things calm
Covid 19 has affected our lives in more ways than one. The fear of falling sick and worrying about our loved ones has become a part of daily lives. Most of us do our best to get through each day by balancing work, chores and keeping the kids occupied. Stress and anxiety is aggravated when the people in our life are snappy and irritable.
Going by many social media posts and WhatsApp conversations, most people are either learning to value each other or fighting a lot and struggling to maintain healthy relationships.
Reasons or causes of conflicts these days
- House work or load sharing is not equal
- Communication is skewed because with all the extra screen time and face-to-face conversations have taken a backseat
- Sex life is disrupted if one of the partners is works with essential services or away due to lockdown
- Work from home has led to a blurring of boundaries between work and family time and space
Here are some things that couples can try to improve communication and prevent fights or arguments.
Improve interpersonal communication
Snide remarks and accusations are not the way to go because that only leads to resentment. Barbed comments like, “You are good for nothing, or, You are hooked to your laptop all day,” don’t serve any purpose.. So even if you feel tempted to use an accusatory tone, try using “I statements” instead of naming and shaming. For example, if you feel your partner is not doing his or her share of the house work, you could say:
“I am feeling overworked. It’d be nice if you did some of the household chores.”
Basically, you could be specific and communicate what you want to say as opposed to telling the person how they are this or that.
Establish some boundaries
Earlier experts would advise spending time together. Today as couples are working from home. though it may seem like they are together most of the time, their work schedules are not the same. One may have more work than the other. Also, there are no limits as work time seeps into together time. As a result one partner may feel lonely or neglected. This is another issue that can be addressed by communicating openly and honestly.
Emotional intimacy is very important to be able to communicate better. Doing some activities together is a great starting point. From cooking or reading together to taking a Spanish lesson online, you have many options to engage in some fun and meaningful activities.
This is important especially if you are living apart in the same home due to quarantine or in a long distance relationship. Try to plan some hobbies or projects that you both enjoy.
If you are struggling to communicate but want to improve your relationship, you can also try online support groups where you can share and listen to other couples who share. Getting to know how others are coping can help you deal with your situation differently.
Know when to seek help
The conflict or the argument itself may not be the problem if you are able to communicate and move past it. However, if there is a breakdown of communication where you can’t talk to each other without fighting or you give your partner the silent treatment, it may be time to seek the help of a professional counsellor or therapist.
If you are in an abusive relationship and not merely one that has become difficult because of daily arguments or disagreements that have escalated due to this pandemic, then also you may need help.
With inputs from counseling psychologist, Vinod Mudliar.