You will never truly know a person unless you live with them, as the old saying goes. But what if you had to live with that person 24/7 for an indefinite period of time as more and more people test positive for COVID-19? Is the prospect of spending all hours with your Significant Other something you look forward to—or dread?
This is the setup couples have had to deal with since the start of the pandemic. With the government restricting movement from time to time to curb the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, domestic partners suddenly find themselves spending an inordinate amount of time at home within breathing distance of each other. While some couples relish the thought, others are not too thrilled about it.
“This ‘forced closeness,’ especially during the stressful pandemic, can be a source of tension among couples,” says Jon Edward Jurilla, MD of the Section of Psychiatry of top hospital in the Philippines, Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed). “They could run out of things to say or do, find once endearing habits a turn off, or argue over things that did not used to be an issue.”
Even partners in a rock-solid relationship are not exempt from the occasional tiff. “It is natural and healthy to fight—only this time, there is no stomping out of the house when you are in lockdown,” he points out. “How you handle the disagreement is key, as the anxiety of the pandemic and being in close confinement with each other indefinitely may make you say things you will end up regretting.”
Ultimately, couples go through challenges all the time, and if you and your special someone can hurdle past the pressures brought about by the pandemic, you can get through anything. Dr. Jurilla offers four sensible suggestions on how to make your love thrive and survive in the time of COVID-19.
Make time for each other. Couples who have kids tend to forget they were lovers first before they became Mom and Dad. “I know couples who like doing things together as a family, but feel awkward when left alone with their mate,” Dr. Jurilla explains.
The solution: Engage in “we time.” “Reminisce about the good old days, play music that brings back memories of your younger years, get into a project together like gardening, cooking, or losing weight with diet and exercise.”
Give each other space. Especially if you live in a small home, constantly being in each other’s faces can drive anyone up the wall. “Let your partner be,” says Dr. Jurilla. “If they want to tune out with headphones or a video game, let them. A few hours of quiet time by yourself or chatting with a friend will also do you and your relationship good.”
Practice the pause. Have the urge to say something nasty when your partner leaves the toilet seat up, dumps used plates in the sink, or forgets to refill the ice cube trays? “Bite your tongue,” he advises. “Speak to them when you are calmer and can address the issue gently. Petty things can seem like a big deal, especially when your world has been reduced to the four corners of your home.”
Practicing the pause is also important in big fights. “Nothing gets solved when two people are yelling at each other,” says Dr. Jurilla. “Let your emotions de-escalate before coming back together to talk. Give each other time to express what’s eating you, and avoid hurtful words or accusations. Oftentimes, things don’t seem as bad as they do when we consciously take a step back, pause, and return with the goal of solving things in a loving, peaceful manner.”
Get help. Sometimes, issues are just too overwhelming to handle as a couple, and when your conflict has reached an impasse, consider turning to others for guidance. Bring in a close relative, friend, counselor, or confidant like a priest or pastor to mediate and give you unbiased advice for your situation.
“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of,” Dr. Jurilla assures. “Rather, it is an indication that you value your relationship enough to want it to work out. Getting a fresh perspective from an outsider who only wants the best for you and your partner might just be what you need to overcome a trial in your relationship.”
The MakatiMed Wellness Center offers Mind Care Telecounseling with their board certified Psychologists for anyone who feels overwhelmed and would like some help from the experts. The center is located at the 7th floor of Ayala North Exchange Tower 1 with contact details +632 88888 8999 locals 8600 to 8602 and [email protected].
For more information on Makati Medical Center, contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.88888 999, email [email protected], or visit www.makatimed.net.ph. Follow @IamMakatiMed on Facebook and Twitter.
This is a press release distributed by Buensalido
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