Before COVID you probably did not realize how much time you spent outside your home. Being able to leave your home for work, going to the gym, or meeting up with a couple of friends may have provided some much breathing room from your partner. This is normal. Healthy couples have a balance of time apart and time together. However due to quarantine restrictions most of us are confined with our partners with little to no time apart. Here are five tips to prevent conflict with your partner.
Be More Flexible and Tolerant
You may not be used to being in a confined space. Now, add to that, another person. This can lead to conflicts and altercations. Why? You are seeing more of your partner’s quirks or behaviors that during pre-COVID you probably would never had the chance to notice. Try to make a conscious effort to accept your partner for who they are. Remember The Golden Rule that reminds us ‘to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.’ Before you say something, whether it is a compliment or a criticism, consider how those words would sound in your partner’s ears, mind, and heart.
Cultivate Other Social Interactions
It is important to have other social interactions separate from your partner. Having other social interactions can help break up the monotony of speaking to just one person. These relationships can include work colleagues, family, and friends. Maintaining ongoing relationships with others can be very helpful so you are not leaning on your partner for all of your social needs to be met. Some people find virtual movie nights or happy hours a nice way to stay in contact with family and friends. Making an effort to visit people when it is safe to do so, or by having phone calls and video chats, these are important to maintaining healthy time spent apart from your partner.
Create Healthy Opportunities to be Apart
Although you are confined to one space, one of the best solutions to avoid conflict is to ensure you have some time away from each other. Schedule a daily walk that can be to nowhere or to the grocery store or pharmacy. If you’re able, you may also choose other outdoor activities like hiking or biking. If you are unable to leave your living space, plan to be in different rooms at different times and try to stick to a schedule.
Practice Calming Techniques
Living during times with such uncertainty can be very tension inducing. Having more anxiety can cause some of us to be more reactive to our partners. It can be helpful to practice calming techniques to prevent stress overload. Some of our clients at The Relationship Suite have found deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or body- scan exercises, meditation, and yoga to be helpful. Try practicing these exercises when you are in a calmer state so that when you are in a state of panic it will be easier to use the technique.
Focus and Acknowledge Positive Actions of Your Partner
It is important to focus on the positive because research has shown that for every negative interaction, a stable and happy relationship has five or more positive interactions. If you are unsure how often you focus or verbalize the positive actions of your partner, try this exercise. Keep a journal for one week that notes all the kind, supportive, and nice gestures, actions, and words, however small, that your partner did or said to or for you. Focus on how you acknowledged this behavior. If you did not acknowledge this behavior, try to incorporate this. Every verbal compliment you give your partner, no matter how small, will help strengthen the relationship.
If you are having problems in your relationship the therapists at The Relationship Suite are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation to learn how we can help guide you to a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
The Relationship Suite
We are a group of skilled therapists specializing in couples/marriage counseling. Since Covid started we have been working with couples providing Online Couples Counseling in New York, New York City including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, South Hampton, East Hampton, Montauk. Schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking HERE.
Due to Covid we are also providing Virtual Couples Counseling in New Jersey, Hoboken, Jersey City, Princeton, Chatham, Morris, Westfield, Union, Bergen County, Colts Neck, Tenafly. Schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking HERE