With whole or partial lockdowns occurring throughout the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people now find their relationships put to the test during isolation. These relationships could include family members, spouses, or romantic partners living together outside a traditional partnership. In many cases, the situation leads to one of three results: either severe relationship difficulties, a stronger sense of love, or no significant change at all. Here are some ways in which you can think about each category.
When Isolation Hurts a Relationship
While some people share their stories of ways in which a lockdown actually improved their relationships, others tell of ways in which the isolation hurt them. Some married couples, for example, learn that the routines they developed when they left the house are no longer compatible with each other when forced to stay inside. A boyfriend and a girlfriend might find themselves struggling when they need to adapt to minor annoyances and bad habits that they could overlook when they didn’t have to spend all day together. In cases of job loss or financial hardship, the problem gets even worse due to external stress.
Some people opt to separate when isolation puts too much stress on a relationship. Such individuals might live separately for a time, only occasionally seeing one another until the problem is resolved. For many, however, this is not an option. If you find yourself struggling with this problem, consider a couples therapy session with a professional relationship counsellor. These professionals can help you strengthen the lines of communication and find productive ways to move forward and make your relationship stronger. In many cases, sessions can happen remotely so you remain in compliance with local and national shelter in place laws.
When Things Get Better
Sometimes, isolation actually improves a relationship. When hard times happen, a couple in this situation works to try to support each other with words of wisdom and come out stronger on the other side. In other situations, couples might find that the close quarters sparks a new sense of romance. These couples find themselves more attracted to one another and more likely to find passion in the activities they choose to do together.
A couple in this situation might worry about how things will change when isolation ends and they go back to their normal lives. Don’t let this kind of worry squash the passion that you currently have; to a certain extent, it’s okay to just relax and let the good times roll. At the same time, it helps to take notice of why the passion has grown during isolation. Identifying these reasons lets you work on the quality of time you spend together in the future. In this way, you can keep the good times going even when your lives return to the way they used to be before isolation.
When Things Stay the Same
Isolation doesn’t always mean that things will change for your relationship. Some people are comfortable enough or resilient enough to get through these times without a major shift in the way they act toward one another. This can be a blessing in a way, since it means that your relationship is strong enough to get through this test easily. For some, it could also lead to worry that things have gotten stale. After all, if nothing changes even when the world seems to fall into chaos, where is the risk and passion?
In reality, you shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that your relationship is stale if things don’t change during isolation. Being comfortable and happy shouldn’t be a cause to worry. At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to try to take a few risks when a major situation like isolation happens. You can always try to push the envelope a bit by testing out a new routine or trying a couples activity that could spice things up. When you have a solid base from which to work, these experiments become easier. After all, if they don’t work out, you can always go back to the way things used to be.
Finding yourself forced into isolation can lead to many new pressures and struggles in a relationship. However, it can also open up new opportunities and chances for your relationship to grow. If you approach things in a measured and healthy manner, many surprising things can happen. If you need guidance, look to a relationship counsellor to help you set sail for the happiness which you both deserve during this difficult time.