Can your relationship survive a second lockdown?

Uncategorized Nov 02, 2020

As England prepares to enter a second period of lockdown, many couples are facing increasing pressure on their relationship.


Those relationships may have survived the first lockdown - due to the novelty and the chance to take a welcome break from the demands of everyday life – but this time, the added financial pressures and uncertainty about the future, may prove too much.


Life feels like it’s on hold at the moment – it’s difficult to make any plans and to have something to look forward to.


With no end in sight, it seems there could be further lockdowns in future to curb the rate of infection until a vaccine is found and rolled out. Even if we do come out of this lockdown on the 2nd December, we’ll be going back into the tiered system. Life won’t be returning to normal for the foreseeable future.


The effect of lockdown on relationships

With that in mind, many couples are reassessing their relationship and whether they want to stay together.


Lockdown has exacerbated any issues already there in the relationship - which until now have been tolerated - but being together 24 x 7 is proving too much.


Covid itself has also been the cause of many arguments where couples have different attitudes to risk. Research by Kings’s College London shows that more than half the population say they’ve felt angry with loved ones because of their behaviour in relation to Covid.


Couples who have previously spent little time together in their daily lives are being forced to spend all their time together - and it’s proving to be the final straw. They’re realising that actually they don’t like their partner very much after all.


Traditional pattern of divorce

Traditionally there is always a surge in the number of divorce applications in September after couples have spent time on holiday together - often in a make or break effort to save their relationship.


Then there’s a larger peak in early January - after the stresses of the Christmas holidays - spending too much time together, compounded by financial pressures.


Before lockdown, the latest divorce figures released by the Ministry of Justice, to the 12 months ended March 20, showed a 23% increase in the number of divorces finalised, compared to the previous year.  This trend shows a reversal in the 25-year decline in the divorce rate. You can only think that Covid is going to increase these figures further.


The Citizens Advice bureau has recently reported a 25% increase in views of its divorce page compared to the same time last year.


Tips to help your relationship survive lockdown


With all this added pressure on relationships, here are some tips to try and make lockdown together more bearable.


  1. Learn from the previous lockdown - What did you find worked well last time? What caused arguments between you and needs to be changed? Spend some time reflecting on this and discuss with your partner before lockdown starts.


  1. Establish a routine - With so much uncertainty around everything else, a routine can help to reduce any additional stress as it gives you some control. Be clear with each other what your routine will be so that you can manage expectations and ensure that you’re not disturbing each other when you’re trying to work.


  1. Have designated work areas if you can – This ensures you can both concentrate on your own work without any distractions or frustrations. It also gives you your own space which is really important. Respect each other’s time when working. Agree that you’ll have coffee or lunch together if it suits you both.


  1. Maintain your social contact – It’s important that you maintain regular contact with your family and friends during this time - especially if you’re on your own after a recent breakup. Have a virtual coffee or cocktail with them, organise a virtual quiz or bingo night or whatever you find fun.


  1. Look after your mental health – Lockdown was hard enough the first time round but at least we had sunny weather and lighter evenings to help us get through it. There’s no doubt there will be more strain on mental health this time. Make sure you practice self-care every day and prioritise your mental health. Exercise and getting outside in nature are both great ways to do this.


  1. Remove yourself from the situation if arguments start - Take some deep breaths and then return to your partner when you’re able to discuss it more calmly. Avoid using ‘You’ in the argument eg ‘You did this as it’s attacking your partner which will in turn make them defensive. Use ‘I’ instead and say how you feel or what you want.


  1. Do something you wouldn’t normally have time for – What have you wanted to do for a long time that you never seem to have time for – either on your own or as a couple. Make the most of the free time you’ll gain from not having to commute and not being able to socialise. Not only will this help your mental health, but you’ll feel more fulfilled and something positive will come out of the situation.


If you find that none of the above helps, and you decide you want to end your relationship - before you make a final decision - take some time to question whether it’s really the relationship you’re done with or if it’s the situation you’re finding yourself in.


I offer coaching to individuals who are thinking of leaving their relationship so that you can talk to someone completely objective, with no judgement. Together we work through the issues so you can be sure that if you do decide to leave - you’re doing so with no regrets.


If you’d like to book a free 20-minute discovery call with me to see how I can support you, then send me an email at:

[email protected]





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