Is your partner already testing your patience now we’re in lockdown?
Divorce lawyers have already forecast an increase in divorce rates later this year due to the lockdown and self-isolation we are currently experiencing with coronavirus.
This trend has already been seen in China as they emerge from the worst of it.
When we are unexpectedly thrown together in a close environment, 24/7, existing issues with our relationships can be exacerbated and brought to a head. It’s likely that we’ll have to work at home with our partner which will be a new experience for most of us and will bring its own challenges.
It’s a time of great uncertainty and change for us all with financial and health worries and this can increase our levels of anxiety causing us to be short tempered with our other halves.
Below are some tips to help your relationship survive whilst we’re self–isolating.
Keep communicating. Now more than ever this is crucial. Stop bickering turning into full scale arguments. Discuss your expectations and boundaries together and more importantly how you are feeling about the whole situation and what you’re struggling with. Now is the time to be kind and support each other.
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 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 what you want or how you feel.
Establish a routine. 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.
Ensure a work/life balance. Make sure that you have an agreed time when you’ll switch off from work and spend some quality time together. For some of us it’s too easy just to carry on working which can leave your partner feeling neglected. Start the boxset you’ve wanted to watch but haven’t had time.
Have designated work areas if you can. This ensures you can both concentrate on your own work without any distractions and frustrations. Respect each other’s time when working. Agree that you’ll have coffee or lunch together if it suits you both.
Share the childcare. Having to home school the kids can potentially increase the stress levels. Agree a schedule between you so that you both have some uninterrupted time to work.
Share the chores. Agreeing up front who will do what can save resentment building and prevent arguments. Otherwise agree a time when you will both do the chores together.
Start a project together. Now’s the time to start those projects you’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t found the time. Start the DIY you’ve been putting off, do the decluttering you’ve been promising yourself.
Maintain your social contact. It’s important that you don’t lose contact with your friends and family during this time. Have a virtual coffee or cocktail with them, organise a virtual quiz or bingo night.
These really are challenging times for all of us. We need to practice patience and kindness especially to those closest to us. But this might just be the final straw for some couples who realise their relationship really is over. If you find yourself in this situation you can find support on my Facebook page