Do you ever feel like you and your partner argue more often than usual during the pandemic?
Do you feel like the quarantine, which is supposed to bring you closer together, somehow causes you to fall apart?
Do you get more irritated with your partner, his presence, and his annoying habits, to the point you’re starting to question your love for them?
Well, the thing is, you’re not alone. You, your significant other, and other couples from the rest of the world are going through the same struggle. Some estranged couples even resorted to separation.
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 has created new marital conflicts. Relationships are put under significant pressure as couples try to navigate the financial hardships, work loss, childcare, medical concerns, homeschooling, and the dramatic change in routine. Issues like the lack of privacy, personal space, and social life, and too much togetherness can be damaging.
These heavy-loaded stressors hitting them all at once, can be too much to bear, putting down even the strongest relationships. Not to mention, the existing problems that were exacerbated by the pandemic.
Staying in love during the pandemic may be tough, but it’s not impossible. We’re here to suggest 8 ways to resolve marital conflicts caused by or aggravated by this ongoing crisis.
1. Try to be kind to each other
Pre-pandemic, we often have one person who’s feeling better and well-rested and one person who’s having difficulty with their job or their entire day. The stronger, more stable person should step in and try to mend things.
But right now? Both are under tremendous amounts of stress. Two weary hearts need extra comfort, warmth, and compassion.
A little kindness and mindfulness can go a long way. The earlier you acknowledge the difficulty of this pandemic and how it takes a toll on the both of you, the easier it would be to pay attention to each other’s wellbeing.
Try to be more mindful when communicating with each other. Choose your words with care. Acknowledge that both of you are trying to make it through.
Lastly, care for your partner the way you want to be cared for. Never get tired of complimenting each other. Let them know what you appreciate about them, whether it’s about the way they cooked your favorite dish or about the way they handled your conflict today with composure.
2. Resolve marital conflicts with online couples counseling
Now that couples counseling has made its way to the online platform, you and your partner won’t have any excuses to forgo it.
Nothing is embarrassing about seeking professional help. Let’s ditch the idea that couples therapy is just for couples whose marriage is on the verge of falling apart — online couples counseling is also for lovers who’d want to learn how to communicate effectively, improve intimacy, resolve marital conflicts without resentment, and strengthen the relationship they have.
3. Address feelings immediately
If you have feelings, needs, and issues that require immediate attention, let your partner know as they arise. Avoid bottling them up until there’s a huge blowout.
4. Don’t jump to conclusions
Instead, understand the intention behind their actions. Although it might seem like your spouse doesn’t care about you, your family’s health and wellbeing, give them the benefit of the doubt. Try to better understand your loved one’s POV. Ask questions, listen, and seek understanding behind their actions and feelings.
5. Lower your expectations of each other
Just because she’s feeling extra cold lately doesn’t mean her feelings have changed. Just because he’s playing video games at the end of the busy workday instead of giving you attention doesn’t mean he doesn’t care anymore.
Couples therapy experts suggest that it would be better to lower your expectations of each other. Let go of the small annoyances. Keep in mind that everyone’s stressed and worried right now. Your partner may be unable to provide support in the same ways they did before the pandemic because they might be focusing on other things that equally matter: their own mental and physical wellness.
6. Create personal space
You don’t need to be next to each other or do things together all the time. Find or create personal space — a safe space where you can connect with yourself more and maintain other relationships in your life. You can set up virtual meetings with your friends. You can also spend time apart, doing your hobbies and discovering new things.
Spending some time apart can also spark meaningful conversations when you get back together at the end of the day. You can talk about something you saw and were inspired by, or even found annoying. Sharing these new experiences allow you to see each other in a new light.
7. Focus on your individual needs
Life’s tough. Our jobs (or the lack thereof) can suck the energy out of us. And if we don’t use some “me time”, we’ll just end up giving nothing but the burned-out version of ourselves to the people we love.
8. Find new, exciting things in the mundane
Having some quality time together is just as important as giving yourself some personal space. This could be doing something exciting within the confines of your space, like trying a new recipe, working on a project (like an art collab or home improvement), or as simple as watching a movie with bottles of beer and a box of pizza.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Relationship Room Couples Counseling, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. She may be hopeless romantic but she’s got some straightforward pieces of advice about love, dating, and relationships.