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Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Why Quarantine is the Ultimate Test of Your Relationship

By Dr Becky Spelman
Why Quarantine Will Test Your Relationship | Private Therapy Clinic

Perhaps the biggest challenge coronavirus has brought with it, aside from the current restrictions that are in place, is the strain that it’s placing on relationships. On the one hand, we’re separated from many of the people we care about most. But on the other, we now have to spend much of our time with our partners and other family members that would traditionally have been spent apart. Many people simply aren’t used to spending this much time with their loved ones as such are ill-equipped to deal with the strain.

Quarantine is a test of your patience. It may yet go on for an extended period beyond our current expectations, which could amount to months. Living in close-quarters is fine as long as you know there’s a perceived out. But in the current climate, it’s not exactly straightforward. As much as work is an unwanted necessity for most people, it does provide both physical and emotional distancing. It gives you a semblance of space, which allows you to create something close to ‘soft reset.’ If the mood of your relationship is currently at odds, you can gain some perspective during the hours you spend apart. That isn’t always possible, now.

For many the slight lift on restrictions this week still means many work from home or remain at home on furlough, only leaving for exercise or to collect essential items. It is something, but it’s not nearly enough to provide real space. It’s going to require a concerted effort to make it through to the other side of quarantine. You need to become mindful of each other’s needs in a way that you might not necessarily be used to doing. The concept of space is paramount. You now have a lot of spare hours to fill, and the first thing to acknowledge is that it might not be best to spend them all together.

If you’re part of a couple or family unit that naturally tends to bicker, this may be heightened as a result of the current guidelines. You might have vastly different ideas about how strictly you observe self-isolation. Some families are choosing to include their extended families as part of their quarantine unit, while other households are keeping only to themselves. These differences in attitude can lead to stress and anxiety, which both contribute to an unhealthy atmosphere within the home.

The best thing you can do to remedy any fallout or tensions is to communicate. That’s doesn’t mean unloading all of your own grievances with no chance given for a response. You need to share your feelings in an honest way that doesn’t threaten or invalidate your partner’s emotions. It’s an exercise in sharing and understanding what each of you needs, so you can make compromises and support each other where necessary. Instead of focusing on your differences, find the common ground, and use that as a foundation for creating a stronger dynamic. The coronavirus is challenging enough without contributing to each other’s frustration.

About the author:

Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.

***If you’re struggling with the stress of being furloughed during the COVID-19 outbreak and think you might benefit from speaking to someone, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.

References

Psychology Today. (23rd Mar 2020) Tough Problems: Relationships in the Time of Coronavirus. Retrieved on 25th April, 2020 from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/how-do-life/202003/tough-problems-relationships-in-the-time-coronavirus

Psycom. (24th Apr 2020) How Coronavirus Is Affecting the Mental Health of Millions of Americans. Retrieved on 25th April, 2020 from, https://www.psycom.net/coronavirus-mental-health

Psych Central. (7th Apr 2020) Coping with Coronavirus (COVID-19): Your Anxiety & Mental Health. Retrieved on 25th April, 2020 from, https://psychcentral.com/coronavirus/

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