As any Orlando Marriage Therapist might tell you, being locked inside a house together can undoubtedly cause relationship issues during quarantine. Being locked in together, whether that’s with family, friends, or a romantic partner, poses many challenges. If you’re feeling stressed, alone, angry, or hopeless while locked in together, you’re surely not alone. Marriage counseling centers and individual counselors are starting to see a rise in couples seeking help during this time.
The Coronavirus pandemic has touched every one of our lives worldwide, and we are truly in this together. Marriage counselors understand the impact couples and individuals are feeling by being forced to rely on one another for support. Amongst the personal feelings you might be experiencing, there are also feelings as a couple. Ensuring positive connections can be hard during times of stress.
Let’s explore some of the many challenges you could be facing in terms of relationships right now, and how to go about these challenges in a more helpful way. Nothing is more helpful than warm social connections at this time and I’ll discuss the benefits of this unique time that you may be overlooking.
You could be living with a new partner for the first time, spending all day and night with the same person you’ve been living with for many years- but never spent so much time with, or maybe you’re stuck in isolation with the one you were about to divorce or breakup with. Marriage counselors and relationship experts are teaching couples are having to teach their clients new ways to deal with different stress.
These stressors are very unique due to this situation and getting relationship help for marriage issues might be hard. There are a multitude of reasons you might be facing relationship stress during quarantine. No matter what your unique circumstance, you are not alone. The feelings you’re experiencing are being felt by many.
Turn your differences into resources. During a crisis, you either fight, flight, or freeze. Your partner or loved ones could take on any of these predominant coping mechanisms, which may be opposite from yours. For example, you may prepare for the disaster to go on and on- coping by buying supplies, watching the news, constantly, and washing your hands every chance you get!
The other person may cope a very different way- seemingly going about life as usual andseeking to keep things as normal as possible. There is a high chance that you’ll interpret the other’s reaction negatively out of misunderstanding and feelings of being alone in this. It could seem as if they just don't care about you, aren’t taking it seriously, or that they’re over-reacting and making things worse.
In truth, opposites are often complementary if you don’t view the opposing stance as a threat. You need someone to be the planner and worrier, and you must have some sense of normality, as well. No one way of coping is the right way, so appreciate the strengths that the other(s) bring.
Say affirming words. When living in stressful times, it is normal to get irritated at the little things and overlook the positives. Take special attention of what your loved one is doing right, and make it known that you appreciate them. Better yet, instead of simply saying “Thank you” or “I appreciate it”, try adding specifics about their personality. This may sound like, “You are very thoughtful” or “You’re a great cook, sweetie” to communicate how much you value them.
Set your boundaries. Let it be known if you need time alone, can’t bear listening to the news any longer, or just can’t talk right now. State your needs in a straightforward manner. Trying using the formula, “I feel ______ when _____, and I need ______.” Example: ”I feel overwhelmed hearing how many people are sick with COVID-19 on the news, and I need to get some fresh air.”
Tip: The one who walks away should be the one who comes back, as well. So, if you excuse yourself from an interaction with your loved one, approach them again later to show that you aren’t dismissing them or avoiding them overall.
Manage conflict with your partner or loved one using healthy communication. First is first, you must acknowledge the feelings being expressed. Say something like, “I hear that you’re feeling really sad right now”. Be sure not to cast blame on them and know that trying to be “right” only creates more distance between you.
When something worth bringing up upsets you, use the skill of communicating constructively, or complaining, versus criticizing. A complaint is directed at the circumstance, while a criticism is an attack of that person’s character. To illustrate, a complaint sounds like, “I’m frustrated that the trash didn’t get put out.” On the contrary, a criticism sounds like, “You never bring the trash out!” Give your partner or loved one the benefit of the doubt, avoiding shaming statements like never, always, and should. The best thing to do is talk to each other with an open heart.
Marriage counseling Orlando help is available even during this difficult and uncertain time. The deep prolonged uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges to us and our relationships, including feelings of stress, anger, and grief. Opportunities present themselves here, as well, however. This is a rare instance where you’re afforded quality time with your loved ones.
It is a time to get creative with your approach to a new lifestyle. Engage in play, curiosity, and imagination. This is the time to come closer. We tend to hate more and love more in times like these, so let’s choose love whenever we can- love for self and those around us. If you are struggling in your relationship at this time, call 407-592-8997 to speak to a marriage expert today who can schedule marriage counseling for you virtually or in-office.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.