The Pandemic and Its Impact on Couples Lives
2020: A year were everything changed. From one moment to the next the children stopped going to schools with the announcement that in a couple of weeks everything will return to normal. The offices were closed and employees had to work remotely from their homes.
Stores and supermarkets began to restrict the entry to customers, who now had to wear masks and constantly disinfect their hands. While that was going on, many necessities began to run out and governments decreed prolonged confinements in an attempt to limit the infections from a new virus which until that time was unknown.
Within a few days, the work of adults began to be combined with children’s virtual classes. Zoom’s meetings began to invade the spaces of the house in an effort to continue fulfilling the office’s commitments. Just like that, little by little, the thin line that separated the family life from work and social life began to blur. The routine was not the same for many people and we are still adapting to all these changes.
Our life as a couple also changed as we adapted to our “new reality”. Sometimes the days were not enough to fulfill so many responsibilities: work, schoolwork, calls, going grocery shopping. It was as if the routines had been altered while we received hundreds of news about the new virus.
Perhaps you have lived many of these experiences and still wonder how to balance your life and that of your family in times as complex as they are today. A few days ago in our Association, Psychologists Roxanna Radley and Sandra Cohen from the Global Psychotherapy Center gave a talk entitled “The pandemic and its impact on the lives of couples”, then they reflected on the impact this situation has had on the lives of couples: lack of individual space, loss of way of seeing one another, lack of structure, order and regulation and loss of other containment groups like friends and extra-work activities.
To counteract these everyday difficulties, specialists recommend the need to create limits, routines, and rituals, as a way to meet and find each other. They explained that “A calm routine, creates structure, orders us and makes us have a division of the daily activities and the most sacred and spiritual space, which is our privacy.”
Among their recommendation, they also advise that being sympathetic to the couple, permanently showing affection through behavior and words. Constantly express to the partner that they are together “in the good and the bad times” and show their everlasting support. “If the person is in a difficult time, you have to tell him/her that you are there for support.” Encouragement of the other person and celebrating their achievements is important in the relationship, but especially during these hard time
It is also essential to open yourself up to communication with the partner. This involves avoiding criticism and prejudice and allowing the other person to express their feelings. “When starting a conversation about a disagreement, don’t start stacking the list of negative things. Avoid criticism, it deteriorates love and relationship. Still a criticism a day is a lot! Listen, soften the conversation, don’t try to focus on being right.”
Finally, Roxana and Sandra recommend making small gestures every day with our partner, among them maintaining the feeling of mutual admiration, always highlighting the positive aspects. “Let your partner know the things you like about him or her.”
In short, they invite us to remember that our partner needs to be cared for, fed and protected. “This has been generated in many couples during the pandemic, as they have begun to get closer and have even discovered aspects that they did not know about each other.”