Relationships with our partners can be challenging, even in normal times. In almost every relationship, the pandemic has done some damage, either by exacerbating existing problems or opening new cracks in the relationship.
There are multiple changes in most households, due to the pandemic. They include:
- Financial distress
- Too much free time together
- Lack of personal space and time
- Lack of stress-relieving activities, like going to the gym or seeing friends
- Stresses related to children and childcare, especially if the primary caregiver is working
- Isolation, especially for single parents
In addition, couples during this time experience all the same things they would experience any other time. Many of those challenges can be met by communicating effectively. Here are some tips for better communication:
1. Give each other the benefit of the doubt
Try not to automatically assume that your partner is trying to upset or hurt you in some way. Assume that they have good intentions, that they are motivated by and are saying and doing things with good reasons behind them, and not to hurt or upset you. Approaching issues with that perspective will help you go a long way toward avoiding needless conflicts and misunderstandings.
Often your partner is trying to take care of their own anxiety, or something else inside them, and not speaking or acting to hurt you. When you can see things from their perspective, it becomes easier not to personalize everything.
2. Address issues more quickly than you normally would
Because this current time acts as a pressure cooker, it’s best to address feelings as they come up. Perhaps schedule a weekly check-in to sit down and review life successes and challenges. Do not cancel or reschedule it. Normally, this is something we might do every couple of weeks or even months, but this time requires more attention to issues as they arise.
3. Avoid making big decisions during the pandemic
Try to avoid making big decisions, particularly about separation or divorce, until life has returned to normal (unless there is abuse).
CCY offers workshops for parenting through separation or divorce, while keeping your child’s best interests in mind. (link to next one?), as well as counseling for people considering separation or divorce or just going through a rough patch.
4. Seek emotional support
This time is extremely isolating and can be especially overwhelming for single parents. Seek out friends for online gatherings or just to talk. Consider joining CCY’s biweekly Single Parent Support Group. Remember to practice self-care as well.
5. Remember that this period will end
Try to keep the perspective that even though the pandemic is grinding on, it will end and we will get back to our normal lives.
If you are in need of coping strategies, we encourage you to come in or call us at 1-888-927-0839. In addition to our workshops, we offer individual and relationship counseling for everyone, throughout the life cycle of your relationship, from pre-marital counseling through discerning whether or not to separate, to post-separation and co-parenting strategies.