Has COVID-19 brought couples closer than before or has it been tearing them apart? An intimate relationship’s quality is determined by its positive aspects, such as emotional support from a partner, and the negative factors, such as stress and conflicts.
The lockdown and extended durations of quarantining initiated in the middle of March 2020 in America due to the novel virus outbreak has taken a toll on everyday life, including mental health and social relationships.
For parents, staying at home for weeks meant homeschooling their children, managing house chores, working from home despite the significant reduction in their salary, or facing unemployment due to the economic crisis. All of this has inevitably impacted our relationships with our loved ones.
Here’s what love looked like through 2020 and the epidemic.
The effect on couples: Two sides of a coin
Some couples found love despite the global pandemic. The mobility restrictions allowed them to spend additional time together, casting a positive impact on their relationship.
Others weren’t as fortunate. Stretched out periods of stress due to economic hardships increased emotional and mental strain among married or cohabitating couples, consequently pushing them toward divorce or separation.
In addition to that, many couples found themselves in conflict with each other due to not seeing eye to eye on how to handle finances and not having enough space or alone time from each other. These conflicts then translate into the thought that “my partner doesn’t see my struggles.”
With the stress of the pandemic, some couples can’t help but take it out on each other, which strains their relationship further and leads to even more conflict. But here’s the good news; there’s a way to fix it.
Here are a few tips couples can use:
- Affirming one another: The only way to overcome conflict and negative experiences is to acknowledge that they exist, instead of resorting to not talking about them. Couples should address conflict by weaving a net of love and safety around the argument and affirming each others’ struggles and feelings.
- Taking a break: Breaking the monotony of the pandemic or the quarantine routine is another way to minimize conflict. Couples can plan intimate date nights or indulge in activities that help them unwind, so as to pave the way for a healthy discussion about the things that are bothering them.
- Seeking help: You and your partner could resolve the conflicts in your relationship by seeking couple’s therapy. This will help you identify points of resentment and find a solution to work through them so you can mend the relationship with your loved one.
If you’re experiencing similar problems with your loved one during the pandemic, Azizeh E. Rezaiyan, a licensed English and Farsi speaking therapist can help. She has successfully run a counseling center in Palo Alto, CA, for over two decades, offering therapy and guidance for individuals, couples, and families.