Our relationships have been under great strain over the past few months. For many couples spending so much time together at home combined with financial, parenting, work and health worries and a lack of personal space has pushed them to the limit. For others lockdown may have strengthened their relationship as it’s enabled them to spend more time together, split household chores and perhaps removed some of the triggers that caused arguments such as spending a long time at the office.
For many who were considering a separation, the pandemic may have intensified that feeling. Lockdown will have highlighted any problems that are there and being around each other all the time may have led to arguments. For some couples, the easing of restrictions may cause conflict, you might have different feelings on going to the pub or seeing family for example.
If your relationship is struggling, here’s some tips that may help.
Abuse is any pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control their partner whether that is emotional, mental, financial, or physical. Contact Safe Ireland if you need immediate help.
Acknowledge that things WILL change
Remember that this is an unprecedented time which is putting everyone under huge amounts of pressure. It won’t be like this forever and all relationships have peaks and troughs, so avoid making any snap decisions as a result of lockdown.
Take time out
Spend some time apart from each other seeing friends and family, exercising, going for a walk. Space is good for relationships. If you feel an argument brewing, remove yourself from the situation and go and do something else to calm down.
Communication is key to happy relationships – is something is bothering you, you have to say it out loud to your partner in a non-confrontational way. Remember that you will both see things differently, being right is not the end goal and you won’t always agree on everything.
Avoid blame and name-calling
Focus on how you feel and use statements such as ‘I am’ rather than ‘You are’. Accusing someone of something or telling them what they have done wrong will instantly get their back up and make them defensive. Never call your partner names in an argument .
It’s vital that both parties in a relationships feel heard – many of us are very good at talking but not so good at listening. Try being quiet for a bit and really listen to what your partner is saying.
Rather than keep rehashing old arguments or thing that happened in the past, learn to let things go. Accept there will be things you disagree on in order to move forward. If you are unable to do this it is unlikely you will have a happy future together.
If you’re just not getting on, getting some outside help can be really helpful, and may make you see things in a different light.
Financially many couples may be struggling. You or your partner may be furloughed, facing redundancy or if self employed worried about future work. Have an open, honest conversation with each other about your financial position and seek help if you are worried, financial pressures put a lot of strain on relationships. Approach your mortgage provider or landlord if you can’t make payments and contact MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) for practical advice.
LawCare provides emotional support to all legal professionals, support staff and their families. You can call our confidential helpline on 1800 991 801, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or access webchat and other resources at www.lawcare.ie
You can also try counselling either via a referral from the GP or by finding your own counsellor using a reputable organisation such as IACP. If you have been bereaved during these tough times have a look at the Bereavement Ireland website.
Samaritans is there to help 24/7 on Freephone 116 123.
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