In April 2020 almost a quarter of couples (23%) said they were struggling with their relationships and back in August figures found that lockdown has made 8% of people realise they need to end their relationship, rising to 15% for those aged between 25 and 34.
In particular right now, perhaps you’re struggling with the challenges that the Corona Virus brings. Relationships are hugely under stress from the crisis and in particular by the challenges of isolation.
Susan Quilliam is a British relationship expert who specialises in love and sexuality. She works as an advice columnist, writer, broadcaster, consultant, trainer and coach. Quilliam is associated with several relationship organisations, including Relate and the Family Planning Association, and is the author of 22 books published in 33 countries and 24 languages.
Here she gives us some easy to follow guidelines on how to navigate the unstable time ahead with our partners.
Emotionally support yourself:
.. be aware of when you feel upset, frightened or angry, so you can take action to feel better.
… keep triggers at bay. Limit watching news summaries; switch off updates; unfollow temporarily anyone whose attitudes are making you feel uncomfortable.
… if you do feel emotional, don’t push that down. The emotions you feel are a perfectly reasonable response to what’s going on.
… that said, don’t let your emotions fuel behaviour that’ll actually make things worse. Being kind to those you love will get you a better result than being defensive or having an argument.
… discover what helps you calm and make a list – walking in the fresh air, looking at the sky, listening to music, distracting yourself with puzzles, telling jokes, taking time alone.
… most of all, get a connection. Talk at least once a day to someone who will listen to you kindly. If those you love are not available, reach out online to others who are able to give you attention.
… let those you love know what you need so that if and when you feel unhappy, they know what to do to help.
Emotionally support people you love
… if your loved ones seem less balanced, more anxious or angrier, be patient; we’re all reacting – in our individual ways – to a level of panic few of us have ever experienced before.
… plus, you may be spending far more time together than you normally do, and that means tempers can fray.
… if your response to the virus is different from that of those you love, stay calm – it’s ok to react differently to the virus. Try to understand others. Help them understand you.
… listen to those you love – it will help them feel better. Even if you think they’re being unreasonable, just listen, without trying to convince them you are right.
… helping those you love will help you. Doing little things will help offset the very natural tendency to withdraw when we feel stressed.
…look to the future. The epidemic will pass. The stresses on your relationship will lift. Then, you and your loved ones will regain the feelings of affection you had for each other. Hang on in there and you will come back into balance.
Finally, do consider getting professional help during this crisis. Many coaches and counsellors now work online and will be glad to support you.
Above all, Keep Calm and Stay Kind.