Is My Relationship Safe During Lockdown?


Photo courtesy of Laura Medina

Loli and Pedro Fernadez on a date in Madrid, Spain.

On March 23. Boris Johnson put the UK under lockdown, banning all non-essential travel and telling people to stay at home unless they meet one of the few rules. This included shopping for food or medication, traveling to work as a key worker, or your once-daily form of exercise. With many of us now working from home full-time or looking after children due to school closures, how will this impact our relationship with our loved one?

People isolating with their partners are probably not used to the amount of time they are now spending together. As people’s romantic lives, work lives, and domestic lives begin to pile on top of each other, the importance of finding space from each other is paramount.

“Having some time apart is honestly everything to me,” said 33-year-old Lauren Brown, who has been married for six years to Julien Brown. “or at least just space from talking, it sounds bad but I can’t be around someone so much because I find myself hating their tendencies and habits.”

Getting through these times in confinement will take a lot of effort and open minds. But the first rule to keeping your relationship healthy is by not making assumptions about how the other person feels. The coronavirus is unprecedented, not only on a societal level but for your relationship. You may have dealt with testing times before but this is likely to be a new experience. Relationship therapist Shanice Marie says during an interview that “the key is not to assume the other person will feel the same way about everything you’re going through. “Often we feel that others are experiencing the same emotions or thoughts that we are.”

“Assumptions breed resentments as they lay down false expectations,” age 29-year-old Shanice Marie said who works under the NHS (Northampton Health Service) agency. ” the antithesis to assumptions are clear and open dialogues so avoid mind-reading. None of us have experienced this before so we will all cope with this differently and that’s okay.”

Communication must be in top form for both parties. Relationships are always tough when it comes to communication but in order to provide or sustain a safe place at home, communication must be the top of the list. On April 29. at 8.P.M. Theresa May said to BBC that domestic violence has increased dramatically this past month of April. And she makes a bold statement to the UK government that precautions must be made. Involving regular and random visits to homes who have called for assistance, and regular phone consultations.

“If you’re struggling with your anxiety and how you respond, the best thing you can do is communicate,” Said Flora Ward, a 45-year-old dentist from Bedford, England. Flora Ward recently experienced domestic abuse from an ex-husband. “Giving yourself time or telling your loved ones you’re struggling and that you may react uncharacteristically. Of course, this doesn’t justify being cruel but helps ease the possibility of reacting in a way that you might regret and add to stress.”

“It is very easy to slip into the blame game when we are stressed and it doesn’t help anyone,” said Ward. “communication is key. Try and be as clear as possible with each other. If you are frustrated or stressed then try to use ‘I’ statements to communicate how you are feeling. ‘I feel’ is very different to ‘When you x, I x’ or ‘You make me feel’, it’s very easy to slip into the blame game when we are stressed and it doesn’t help anyone, trust me.”

Ensure you aren’t just working all the time. If you and your partner are struggling to manage to work from home and your relationship then try to establish a clearer ‘home life’ and ‘work-life’ from now on. Carla Duden (Social care worker for the NHS ) said as she worked alongside Shanice Marie. Duden says that it can be hard at the beginning to separate the two and this can have a detrimental impact.

“If you are working at home, there will still be home and life admin to do, set a time for this,” Duden said. “It may feel like the house is a tip or needs cleaning, but make an executive decision to do this outside of ‘working hours’. Many of us will struggle with working from home as it limits our capacity in different ways, so try not to pile extra home stress on work stress.”