For many couples, several months of lockdown presented them with challenges they’d not faced in their relationships before.
But now many aspects of lockdown have eased.
Adjusting to the new normal and the end of many restrictions may impact on our relationships, just like adjusting to lockdown in the first place had an effect, says our member Mary Aaron.
“It’s more complicated now,” says Mary, a relationship counsellor.
“For some couples lockdown was catastrophic. They had nowhere to go to or to escape to.
“But for many couples lockdown was just about working fine. It was a safe space. They were both at home. Yes, there was a lot of balancing to be done between work and home. There may have been a rota to look after the kids. But people adjusted.
“Now things have changed again. The balance has shifted again. One or both partners may be back out at work. Couples have had to adjust to changes all over again.
“It’s become a different type of balancing act,” she added.
She says couples are having to work out how to balance their lives, work, family and children all over again.
“The end of lockdown has thrown up all the old problems again – and now there are new ones too. For couples who were having difficulties before, things may have gone quickly back to how they were before lockdown. But often they just don’t talk to each other about it or listen to what their partner’s feeling. It can build up into more of a problem.”
Mary’s shared her thoughts and what can help with relationship problems, if things are becoming difficult since lockdown restrictions eased.
Find time to be together – and to talk
Mary says it’s crucial to try to structure some time together.
That doesn’t have to be the traditional date night, with a trip out for a meal or to the pub, if you’re not comfortable or not able to leave your home and take advantage of venues reopening.
Sitting on the sofa and having a good chat is important.
“Pinch an hour. Talk through your difficulties,” she says.
“One night a week of quality time together can be really sustaining for a relationship.
“Talking to each other is so important as a couple. Keep that communication going. Ask each other ‘how is it for you?’, ‘what can I do?’ adds Mary.
Hear the experiences of the other person
As well as talking and asking questions of each other, it’s important that you listen to your partner’s answers and experiences.
Mary adds: “Make sure you hear the experiences of the other person. Listen to them say how they feel. If you’ve had a fight, make sure you talk about how you feel about it afterwards.”
Break things down into bitesize chunks
Mary recommends trying not to think or plan too far ahead at the moment. She suggests just thinking on a week by week basis.
She adds: “The world is still changing day by day. If you try to think too far ahead or think about everything that’s going on at once it can be really overwhelming and difficult.
“Break things down into bitesize chunks and look at one bit of your problem or situation at a time.”
Seek professional support if you need it
A relationship counsellor can give you a professional, non-judgmental and supportive space to help you identify issues in your relationship and help you navigate your way through those difficulties together.
Couples counselling can be delivered in person – but also online, by telephone or via email.
To find a relationship counsellor who can help you visit our Therapist Directory.
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