Whether you're separated or together as we weather this pandemic, a global health crisis like coronavirus can put real pressure on a relationship. Here are ways to keep your relationship strong during this stressful time.
Be respectful if your partner reacts differently to coronavirus
Relationship expert Esther Perel suggests that couples have different ways of coping with uncertainty, and trying to empathize with each other will go a long way. In an interview with a New York Times columnist she warns: “If you polarize and you think that there’s only one way to do things...it’s fake certainty. The whole point is that you’re discovering it along the way.” So if you have differing perspectives on the crisis, or you react to news differently, it doesn't mean your relationship is over. It just means you're two different people, and you'll need to find a way to bridge the gap.
Meditate every day.
Meditation is an incredibly powerful tool to help you calm anxiety, reduce stress, deal with difficult emotions, and feel less lonely. All of these benefits of meditation can have a big impact on the health of your relationship as well. If both of you meditate, that's even better. But if you're just committed on your end to meditate for 10 minutes a day, the benefits will pour into all aspects of your life, including your love life. If you're wondering how to get started, you can join a free online mindfulness event this month, connect with a mindfulness community, or download an app like Insight Timer.
Focus on your own mental health.
Instead of putting all the focus on your partner or relationship during this time, remember to focus on your own mental health. What are you doing to take care of yourself while you're at home? What is your plan for reducing your stress levels each day? How are you dealing with feelings of loneliness or anxiety? If you're in therapy, see if your therapist will be available for video or phone sessions instead of in-person. If you're feeling lonely, make sure you take time each day to reach out to friends and family over the phone, even if you can't physically visit them in person. Your mental health has a big impact on how you handle relationship challenges, so it's key to prioritize this each day, especially if you're in confinement or quarantine.
Don't rely on your partner for everything.
During a time of crisis, it's easy to cling to someone you care about and rely on them for all your needs, which can cause strain in a relationship. To avoid putting this stress on your relationship, don't forget to seek out support from your friends and family, even it's virtually through Facetime or Whatsapp group chats. If you're at home with your partner and spending all of your time together, make sure you have some blocks of time where you are each doing your own thing. Even if it's a 20 minute yoga video that you do in another room, time apart will help keep your relationship in balance. And if you're overwhelmed with fear, don't forget that there are many therapists who are sharing great advice online if you're dealing with coronavirus-related anxiety.
If you could use more daily support through a breakup or divorce, you can download our app Mend (iOS only). You can also sign up for our free class on "Staying Home: How To Support Your Mental Health During Coronavirus."