Common Issues and Tips for Couples On Lockdown
The pandemic situation is dragging and the experience of it is constantly changing. It feels like being on a never-ending roller coaster. One that keeps moving forward, turning going backwards too of course, but it´s not on repeat, every turn and every uphill and downhill are new and unexpected.
Now, some people love roller coasters and are having the time of their life!
Some really like them too, but being on them for so long is starting to make them feel sick and very uncomfortable.
Some hate them and have been struggling since the beginning.
Some hate them, but have actually started getting used to this rhythm of movement.
And so on…
Our mood can change multiple times within one day. Imaging what happens if you put two or more of these people together in a relationship. Infinite conclusions can come out of this equation!
So let us first talk about some of the common issues couples face during the confinement (I refer to two members in a couple to make it easier, however, all of this can be applied to relationships with 3 or more members):
- One works but the other one doesn´t - One member works the same hours they used to from home, where as the other has either lost his/her job, possibly didn´t have one to start with, or has a job but cannot do it from home. This creates a completely different experience for both. One continues keeping busy and probably stressed and might actually want to have less work under these circumstances. The other has suddenly found themselves with all the time in the world on their hands and not knowing what to do with it, whilst being in the same space as the partner who´s working. Imbalance is created or heightened.
- Everyone mourns differently – This is a time of mourning. We´re mourning the life we used to have, the job we may have lost, the social life we used to have, the Freedom we used to have! Who would have thought that the simple act of going for a walk could actually be taken away from us? This experience makes people react in mysterious, unexpected and often unexplainable ways, which are often not compatible with one another. Therefore, this can create a lot of tension in the relationship.
- Sexual desire can change – Whilst some people may be having a higher libido looking to find pleasure anywhere they can, since finding pleasure is scarce these days, others are experiencing a decrease in libido feeling like they don´t have any energy or any desire to engage in sexual relations. Once again, mourning differently. This difference in desire, however, can cause frustration for both members.
Some Tips to Improve the Situation!
- Give each other space. Make sure you spend some time apart in the day, or on some days. Use different rooms or alternate rooms if there isn´t enough space. It´s important to have some alone time or some space to oneself to act as one pleases, without having any effect on anyone else, even for a little while. It helps to cool down. Think about it like this: How many hours did you spend together before the lockdown when one or both were at work? How many are you spending now? It may be that there´s a big difference or a small one. Whatever the case, you would go out the house at some point, whether to go food shopping, to meet a friend or run an errand. So, try to give some space now too. Easier said than done of course, but make a conscious effort with the space you have available.
- Have other outlets. This is a very emotional time and we all need someone to talk to at some point or another. In case that person tends to be your partner for most of the time, consider having other outlets so that you don´t overbear each other so much, and thus not overbear the relationship.
- Communicate your needs. Now more than ever, communicating what you´re feeling, what you´re going through and what you feel you need is crucial. What you once needed may not be the case anymore, so inform each other of the changes you´re experiencing, because nobody can read your mind!
- Balance each other out emotionally. In my opinion this is mostly done subconsciously by both members. I´ve noticed that couples tend to balance each other out, i.e. if one is very sad the other is a little bit better emotionally, and vice versa, in order to be supportive and keep the relationship afloat. It´s quite fascinating really. You might still like to pay attention to it though, if it doesn´t happen as naturally, to be more open to it. It has to be done by both members though, otherwise one partner is taking on a lot more weight all the time, they´ll get tired and the relationship will not be stable for long.
- Reflect weekly. Ask yourselves at the end of the week:
What went well this week?
What did we struggle with?
What could we change/try next week?
- Reflect on current issues coming up. If new problems are arising, it may be worth to think about them a little bit. Were these problems there before?
Were you ignoring the signs/arguments?
What makes them come up now?
How do they affect your relationship?
Can they be resolved?
This is an exceptional situation. So much uncertainty, a lot of people are losing loved ones, getting ill, losing their jobs, losing what their life used to be. So above all…
Be patient with yourself and others
Art by Nymphainna