There is no question that lockdown has pulled on already taught elastic bands for many couples. The intensity of having your normal life stripped away to then be faced with day after day of being in the house together a situation you were not craving before lockdown, but you got it anyway.
Our relationships often just tick over without us noticing the health of them, with the odd flash of conflict and daily passive aggressive quips about putting out the bins. If the consequence of lockdown for you is that it’s tested you so much as a couple that you have reflected intensely on the quality of the relationship you have, please do not despair.
Think of this as an opportunity to reflect on what has worked well as well as what may feel bruised and slightly broken. When a relationship feels fractured, we lack a feeling of closeness and that sense of being a team. You may be quick to be critical of one another rather than trying to show empathy and support.
So what are the antidotes to an atmosphere that has been dominated by negative thoughts and a lack of intimacy?
Try these fail safe strategies
· Speak using I rather than You. If you always start your sentences with you, it’s like pointing your finger at the person every time you address them. ‘You’ sounds blaming and is likely to spark a frosty retort. ‘I’ is you taking ownership of your opinion, requests or point of view.
· Once one thing your partner does annoys you…like munching crisps loudly, you are on the slippery slope to everything becoming annoying. You only focus on the negative and so the snowball rolls. Try to alter your perspective by also picking up on what is positive, if you just look for negative that is all you will find!
· Research tells us that in healthy relationships, for every negative exchange you have with one another it should be balanced with five positives. This is not always easy to pull off, but if at least you try to speak more frequently in positive tones than negative it helps to create constructive communication rather than destructive.
· Be kind, do kind. Find the moments to do small things that build warmth between you. It’s the little things that count, but it’s also the little things that we stop doing first. Cups of tea, running a bath, a back tickle, bringing a favourite bar of chocolate home, watching the others Netflix show with them even though you don’t enjoy it. Think of it as putting pennies into your piggy bank, it builds up slowly a little at a time and before you know it your pennies have turned into pounds of kindness and warmth.
Keep it simple, talk rather than assume your partner knows what your thoughts and feelings are. Find your way back to one another, use what you know about what your relationship looked like when it was in a sunnier place and use that to help you. All relationships go through times when they need to repair, ultimately, it’s what makes them stronger.
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