How to Keep COVID-19 From Ruining Your Relationship

Posted by on Apr 15, 2020 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on How to Keep COVID-19 From Ruining Your Relationship

Many communities in the U.S. are under stay-at-home orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know we may continue to be quarantined off and on for a while. We also know we need to distance ourselves from other people in order to stay safe.

Ironically, we are now spending much more time with our partners and families. 24-7 in many cases. This forced togetherness can strain even the best relationships.

For those who were already struggling in their relationships, staying at home can make things even worse. That’s why I want to provide some tips to help keep relationships strong during this crisis. 

Still, it’s important to know that these tips are not applicable if you are in an abusive relationship. Sadly, reports of abuse have skyrocketed recently. If you are reading this and don’t feel safe at home, reach out for help. If you are in the Wichita Falls area, you can call First Step at 1-800-658-2683. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or reach them online at thehotline.org.

Now, here are seven tips for preventing COVID-19 from ruining your relationship.

  1. Be Kind

We often interact with our partners in regrettable ways when under stress, and these are most certainly stressful times. When we stress out, we often vent our anger, frustration, and fear on our partners. This can obviously harm your relationships, especially over time. That’s why it’s important to be kind to each other.

Make a point to be gentle with your partner. Try to communicate what you are feeling, and also give yourself permission to experience those feelings. It’s okay. Accept it. Find a way to talk about your concerns and express your feelings to your partner in a healthy way, rather than taking it out on them.

  1. Be Willing to Compromise

Spending time in close quarters is tough. There may be arguments over bandwidth usage on the internet. Or, how space at home will be used for work or school. That’s why it’s important to set boundaries with one another.

Talk with your partner about the key issues that are important for you to be comfortable. For example, ask that laundry is not strewn about or that papers are cleared from the dinner table before a meal. Also, check-in with each other’s schedules each day to avoid conflicts and decide how to allocate resources.

  1. Spend Quality Time Together

Your choices may be more limited than before, but you can still make things happen. Download a show and watch it together or get out and stretch your legs by taking a walk together. You can even take a virtual tour of a museum! Other ideas include stargazing, playing board games, etc. Be creative and willing to think “outside the box” and try something new!

  1. Spend Quality Time Apart

Just as it’s important to spend time together, it’s also necessary that we spend time apart as well. This is especially true when we have to spend so much time in close proximity to loved ones. But that can be hard to do under these circumstances. Try to spend some time by yourself, even if it’s in another room or outside.

  1. Work on What’s Not Working

Certainly, this is not an easy time at all as we spend many hours at home. This is why it may be helpful to use this moment to consider your struggles within your relationship.  This isn’t meant to stress you further. Rather, it’s a chance to reflect on what life will be like when this is over, and what you would like the relationship to look like moving forward. What would you like to be different or better?

  1. Use Online Resources

One useful tool at our disposal is the internet. Take advantage of online resources that will be beneficial for the relationship. For instance, reading up on communication skills, or how to better listen to your partner. There are plenty of self-help books, websites, and podcasts available. Teletherapy could also be an option as well.

  1. Get Help if Necessary

Thanks to the web, professional help is available, even while we are staying at home. Some therapists were already offering teletherapy as an option for their clients before this pandemic but now this service is widely available.  If you were already seeing a therapist, check to see if they offer teletherapy.  If they don’t, or you haven’t been working with a therapist, consider reaching out to a professional for help during this difficult time.

Certainly, many relationships are put to the test during this crisis. However, there are things you can do to prevent COVID-19 from ruining your relationship. Consider the above tips and do ask for help if you need it.

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