As the pandemic unfolded itself and as its extension continues, our regular day-to-day life drastically changed. Many have lost jobs, family, and friends. Others have had to work from home and adjust to a new routine and environment. These situations are bound to cause stress on everyone, and when you’re in a relationship, you must learn how to balance it all. The problems we live in are not standard; therefore, the stress and emotions we will experience are those we are not used to. Stress during a pandemic causes us to isolate ourselves and possibly create a distance between our partners.
For example, in a scenario where a couple has to quarantine, one is now working from home, and the other is unemployed. This situation is most likely to cause tension. The unemployed partner is likely to distance themselves by trying to solve their unemployment issues. Searching for a job during this period is undoubtedly tricky, and as human beings, we are bound to feel helpless if the search is fruitless. On the other hand, the other member of the couple is trying to adjust to a new working environment. An environment that once was one of relaxation and freedom from the troubles of work. They might find a spot for themselves away from their partner to try and focus. However, as they are employed, and their partner isn’t, they might have a hard time trying to understand what they are going through. Likewise, as they work from home, they will also have stressors pushed upon them that weren’t there before. According to Professor Paula Pietromonaco from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, stress causes an imbalance in our relationships. Professor Pietromonaco told the Association For Psychological Science, “When faced with external stress, individuals are more likely to communicate in ways that are overly critical or argumentative. They also tend to blame their partner and have more difficulty listening to their partner’s concerns and taking their partner’s perspective.”
Nevertheless, such tensions within a relationship are expected at a time like this. The vital factor is acknowledging that there might be some distance between you and your partner. The best way to approach the situation is to take a step back, take a deep breath, and attend to the problem with your partner. The pandemic may have pulled you apart, so it’s best to start by trying to plan time for each other again. Start by creating a date night, such as making dinner together, or going for a picnic out in the park. Let your partner know you still love them with words and actions. Make sure to talk about anything and everything while doing your best to listen and give them your undivided attention.
Now that you’ve maintained time for both of you together, create time for each other separately. Balance is one of the most important parts of a relationship. Therefore you must also show some love to yourself. Make time and space to clear your mind and treat yourself with what you like. This space will simulate the time you and your partner were apart when working before the pandemic. Allow your partner to do the same and then have a fresh start.
As we adjust and keep navigating this pandemic with our significant others, it is essential to keep in mind that communication is the key. We might think it is best to keep our troubles to ourselves to relieve others from stress. However, internal problems usually resurface and may damage our relationship. Don’t be afraid to speak out your fears and anxieties. Being able to communicate with your partner is what will keep your relationship healthy throughout any challenge. Stay vocal about what is troubling you, and keep an open mind to what your partner also has to say. There may be a realization that you and your partner don’t think much alike as you thought. As you spend more and more time together, it is probable certain aspects you didn’t know start to surface. Nevertheless, these are situations that can be worked out through communication. Sitting down with your partner and being honest about your troubles will allow them to speak on their behalf as well. By working together, there can be a middle ground in which those issues can be resolved by talking.
Keeping a structured and stable life is very difficult at the moment. However, be sure to take the time for yourself and your partner. Make sure to take a breath and take it slow. Give your relationship the time and love it deserves.