The Covid-19 pandemic has placed intense pressure on everyone since it first began more than a year ago. The way we work, live, play and manage relationships has undergone a dramatic change everywhere in the world, including Singapore.
The stress-releasing coping methods that we are so used to relying on are stripped away from us such as enjoying our favorite food at restaurants or hawker centers, sweating it out in the gym or yoga studio, or simply just hanging out with our friends. With everyone being so tensed and stressed out, it is no wonder that we begin to see cracks start surfacing in our relationships and the imperfections in our partners appear amplified!
In times like this, it is important to adopt a positive mindset to face the unique challenges that presents us during the pandemic head-on and make sure we protect the relationships that are so important to us with these five tips!
1. Be vulnerable and open
One of the first responses that we turn to is to ice out or cut-off our partners when we feel indignant or aggrieved by our partners. It is even easier to do so when both of you have fewer opportunities to meet and connect. This defence mechanism can be more harmful to a relationship than arguing because when you stop communicating, you begin to build emotional distance and that can lead both of you to become estranged from each other. Keep your communication channels open, stop building walls and start sharing the vulnerable side of you to your partner. Trust him or her to be there with you to work things out during this difficult period.
2. Managing conflicts the smart way
You may not like the arguments, but it is a necessary step to resolving conflicts inherent in relationships. It is naïve to think that we can avoid disagreements just by changing our partners!
Schedule regular weekly discussion sessions so that both of you are prepared to have difficult conversations, but spend the rest of the time focusing on enjoying each other’s company. If you have been having the same arguments frequently, call it a truce first and revisit the issue when emotions are tempered.
It is important to reduce your expectations right now because everyone is having a hard time, and it is unrealistic to expect your partner to meet all your needs all the time.
You may even want to take note that your loved one might be experiencing difficulty adjusting to life in the “new normal”. Seek help from therapists or medical professionals promptly and remember that it will take more resources to support each other, so make sure to protect your well-being by setting healthy boundaries with your partner even if it is difficult to do so.
3. Coping with Boredom
Boredom is not necessarily a sign that the relationship is going downhill or is wrong for you. In fact, monotony is a sign of a healthy relationship because you feel safe when things are predictable!
Some individuals can be attracted to the air of mystery and uncertainty expected in the initial stages of the relationship which makes our heart flutter. However, that is not the sign of natural progression of a mature relationship and can be indicative of a toxic one. It is important to place the responsibility of generating excitement on ourselves, rather than blaming our partner for the lack of it especially when almost everyone is suffering from cabin fever.
4. Quality Time for Connection
With everyone staying at home more often, it is easy to depend on activities such as watching TV or scrolling your handphone as a source of entertainment. While it may be convenient, such activities do not promote quality time and will not be able to enhance the bond between the both of you.
A better alternative to connect is to hold hands and have deeper conversations with each other. Give it a try and you will immediately notice a big difference in how you relate with each other! You may even consider planning a special meal that you can cook together or seek some activities that will enable you to truly interact with one another. If you are staying with your partner, this must be done more intentionally and deliberately. Remember, staying under the same roof does not automatically mean you will build the relationship!
5. Build up your social support system
With the recent spread of the highly infectious coronavirus variant, everyone has been taking extra precautions by not meeting too many people too often and with that, our social circle started becoming smaller and relationships with our friends become more distant. People are also suffering from pandemic fatigue and are taking less initiative to connect virtually with each other.
Having strong social support network from family and friends is associated with more satisfying marriages so make sure you take the initiative to have regular phone calls with friends, plan a Zoom party or simply go for a walk with a family member. Keep your social network alive and they can come in as a source of support when things get tough with your significant other.
That’s all for the five tips we can share with you. Stay safe and stay strong!