The world is going through a scary, difficult phase right now. The coronavirus is spreading silently across the globe, often spread by people who have no symptoms and no idea they carry it. This is the reason why keeping your distance, wearing a mask, and avoiding contact with others is perhaps the only way to keep it at bay.
The social distancing mandate is putting a strain on our relationships, too. Being locked inside 24/7 was not something any of us were prepared for, not a thing all pre-marriage tips mentioned – it was something that didn’t happen since the age of our grandparents (the last time a respiratory illness required similar measures was in 1918). Relationships of all kinds are now put to a serious test, with no clear end in sight.
In some areas seriously affected by the coronavirus crisis – like New York City for example – divorce is skyrocketing as a result of the lockdown. The reasons for this can be multiple. The quarantine itself is a strain on the people stuck inside and the financial issues caused by it only add fuel to the fire. Besides, many people are just realizing that, no matter how much they love their partners, they may not like them at all.
Normally, the members of a couple see each other for just a few hours each day due to their often different work schedules (and, of course, sleep). These “few” hours suddenly jumping to “most of the day” can make people realize that the person they’re stuck in quarantine with is not the one they saw through the pink glasses of the “honeymoon phase”.
Long-distance romantic relationships only work for some – and even those that would otherwise work are put under some extra pressure by the lockdown. The challenges that normally impact long-distance relationships – the lack of intimacy, the lack of physical contact – are exacerbated by the general anxiety caused by the measures taken by the authorities to slow the spread of the virus.
There are many things that long-distance partners can do to ease the pressure: holding “Netflix parties” where the two stream the same movie or series and keep in touch through a video or voice call, “dinner dates” where the two dress up and rely heavily on webcams to feel closer to each other, and similar tricks – you’ll find many of them online. It does need more organization – the spontaneity that normally spices things up is missing – but even these sure beat a simple phone call or a text (but don’t ignore those either).
How to ease the pressure
There are different types of conflict that emerge during these trying times depending on the type of relationship you’re in – living together or living apart. The one thing in common with them is the tension: it’s more accentuated. Thus, it’s more likely that the differences of the partners to lead to more intense outbursts – in extreme cases, this can even lead to violence. And this is best avoided.
As usual, communication is key. The couples have to be honest about their feelings – both about themselves and each other – to avoid a buildup of pressure that will eventually lead to an explosion. Being honest about your feelings can go a long way. As for the other issues that may emerge during the lockdown, know that it won’t last forever.