There’s no doubt that the lockdown helped reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But, on the flip side, couples had to learn to live together all day, every day, for a prolonged period.
Some couples used the opportunity to bond while others faced the harsh reality of their dysfunctional relationship. A good number might have joined tinder or hinge to meet other people. However, as the lockdown is ending, perhaps there is hope for a fresh start.
But is it?
Given the challenges that couples faced during the lockdown, there several reasons why it is difficult to reconnect even after the lockdown.
And here is why:
One of the most devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is the economic crisis. During the lockdown, most companies took stringent measures to minimize losses. People lost their jobs, and others were forced on unpaid leave. The rate of unemployment is all-time high. Also, most small and medium enterprises have closed down.
The economic challenges boil down to the family level. Here, the stress is further aggravated by the stay at home order. Couples are stuck at home, stressed about their financial situation.
The reduced income per household leads to financial challenges, which inevitably cause constraints. The constant thought of where the next meal will come from, the piling bills, and the uncertainty of the future is a breeding ground for disputes.
After the lockdown, financial vulnerability still poses the same challenges. Prolonged periods of unstable income flow make it difficult to make ends meet. Arguments about spending style, financial contributions, and division of labor take a toll on the already compromised connections.
These challenges pose mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and feelings of failure and disorientation. It’s challenging to reconnect when couples feel discontented and unappreciated.
Open communication about the financial status of both partners is the first step to remedying this situation. From there, partners can share responsibilities and look for financial aid from the government or seek financial guidance from experts.
Lost Spark During the Lockdown
Before the lockdown, the daily trip to work gave individuals a breath of fresh air and some alone time. Some time to process your thoughts, reflect, and put your ideas into perspective. The time apart was a great way to reconnect with self and later share the day’s experience with your spouse, having missed them the entire day.
The lockdown did the opposite. You are in the company of your spouse every single day. The mundane tasks and regular conversations become dull and almost unbearable. One misses privacy as you can hardly go out.
Juggling between work, house chores, and kids lead to constant stress and a rollercoaster of emotions. The exhaustion that comes with these activities leaves little energy to cuddle or get intimate with your spouse. The more couples forgo physical intimacy, the further they draw apart.
After the lockdown, couples find it challenging to spark intimacy because of the prolonged period of living like roommates. Initiating simple gestures like kissing, hugging, holding hands or cuddling become awkward. This limits the chances of reconnecting and reviving the spark.
Be deliberate about spending time together. You can start with curving time for just the two of you every weekend. Maybe taking a stroll, having tea on your porch in the evening, or watching a movie. The key is creating time to talk, no matter how little. Communication will help air your issues and hopefully rebuild your connection.
Spending quality time with your significant other is a great way to create an in-depth connection. However, when it comes to staying together for 24 hours for months, partners may get into each other’s nerves. Misunderstanding about things that never seemed to bother one before may become the center of attention.
Despite household chores being there before the lockdown, it becomes magnified as everyone is indoors, and things are messier. Arguments on individual responsibility are prone to crop whether or not you have kids.
When these minor arguments blow up to confrontations, partners can get in heated arguments to prove their point. Often these confrontations would lead to the use of hurtful words, which further damage the relationship.
This has been a common scenario with spouses over the last months.
Thus, it is unreasonable to expect your partner to forget the hurtful words you said just because the lockdown is ending. It will take more than assumptions.
Start with the root cause of the issues that caused the heated arguments. The goal is not to pin the blame on each other but to unearth the underlying problems. Everyone must take responsibility for their actions and be humble enough to ask for forgiveness.
Everyone needs support from family, friends, or community at one point. The social distancing order and the lockdown limited people’s ability to seek help from their network. Of course, one could connect with these people online. However, you wouldn’t experience the same relief as face-to-face interaction.
As the lockdown is coming to an end, most couples have pent-up anger.
The good news, you can now reach out to your support system. Have a meet up with friends and vent your frustration. You can also talk to family members or seek counseling before things get out of hand.
The lockdown was tough, and couples were tried and tested. Some passed the test while others fell flat. The challenges experienced during the lockdown will persist as the lockdown only triggered the already dire situation. It brought to light the glaring problems that couples swept under the carpet.
The only way to help couples reconnect is to get to the bottom of the problem instead of shifting blame. It would help if couples take advantage of the revelation about their challenges and seek help if they are interested in restoring their relationship.
Nevertheless, the lockdown might have given one a clear indication that the relationship wasn’t going anywhere. Hence, the need to hop out before it’s too late.
Whichever side of the coin you are in, the key is using your experience to make an informed choice about the next step in your relationship.
Amy Orlando is the founder of online4.love. She has a bachelor’s degree (BA) in communication and is a certified online dating expert. Amy works part-time as a marriage and a couple counselor. She loves playing cupid and helping people find the ONE.
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.