The State of Our Relationships in Times of Confinement

Confinement is, has been and will be one of the most devastating, significant and important experiences we have had in a long time, some in your entire life. Being confined to our homes, with the obligation to reconcile in a space in many cases many aspects of our life (work, personal and relational) and so abruptly, has meant a radical change in our customs and our way of living. The couple, without a doubt, is being one of the great affected in all this, since it is the structure (when we live in one) that holds our routine and what allows us, with its organization, rules and operation, the balance in the majority of aspects of our life.

All this because of the urgent, abrupt and hasty situation of confinement, where we have barely left a time for reaction and planning in the changes that were necessary in our lives, and because of the uncertainty and little preparation to face a situation of such a magnitude. Many times, the decisions of our routine have been made on the fly, and if there were already previous problems, the situation of pandemic and consequent confinement only accentuates and in many cases cronies the already existing problems.

However, this crisis and forced coexistence has not affected all couples equally. Indeed, the most vulnerable to suffering a period of added tension are basically three : a) those who already had problems prior to confinement (anxiety, depression, relationship problems, abuse, infidelity or unequal distribution of tasks and functions of the house) , b) couples who spent less time living together (and with less habit to live together, due to work hours, responsibilities or that the dynamics of the relationship had been characterized by a multitude of separate activities) c) or in which this period was many painful situations have been recorded(deaths of close people, loss of job and income, or illness of one of the two members). In these situations, confinement has become a breeding ground due to the high probability of misunderstandings, frictions and arguments due to the hours we spend together. Investing time in the couple, both to spend time with them and to re-learn to solve conflicts, can be a very good idea if both choose to get blue ridge wilderness therapy program for a week, but not all of us are predisposed to leave room for habits and actions that imply a possible cost a priori, and more when we are going through something as difficult as the quarantine itself. Here, the party is served.

On the other, there has been a significant increase in the use of social networks and applications that facilitate the possibility of infidelity (virtual, in this case). Right now, emotional infidelities are more likely (in which we support each other and carry out behaviors of emotional involvement with another person). The experts in this regard are clear, given the decrease in access to our friends and family and the drastic reduction in activities outside the home, for many people looking at someone outside is a relief and an escape from the situation of tension that we are living, and before the impossibility of obtaining it from our partner, close relationships or alternative activities, they focus on these contexts, with the foreseeable reinforcement that is experienced in the first phases of flirting and seduction.

Despite the scenario drawn in these times of de-escalation, where the forced (tense) coexistence will also be part of our daily routine, we can take into account some aspects that can help to face conflicts, if the option of separation is not yet considered. the definitive option.

Time for long conversations. In every crisis and confrontation, we have no choice but to approach the other and speak. After that first confrontation. With the idea that several conversations will be necessary. Trying to maintain an atmosphere of cordiality, in a space of tranquility and that forces us to see and listen to the other, without distractions and with enough time to deal with hot and conflict issues. Of course, avoiding mobile phones and social networks by hand, to ensure the proper reception of the message and the correct interpretation of the intentions of the other.

Respect for spaces. It is important to create spaces where everyone can do their activities, such as relaxing or doing activities alone. Confinement has forced us to “reconquer” our own home, and establishing the sites and periods when we are going to use them is one of the great challenges of confinement.

Balance of space for oneself versus with the other. Not only does a couple live by solving problems, and indeed, cultivating and investing in time of distraction, relaxation and calm can be a good start to get used, also, to sign times of truce and enjoy the tranquility. Since the other is actually our quarantine partner, including him in the activities we do, even just one, can help us tolerate ourselves and not see that time shared as a punishment, but as a rewarding and unexpected accompaniment.

Accept the situation of confinement and adjust the expectations that we can ask of the couple. Both members have been subjected to an unusual, extraordinary situation and with great limitations (still) to the life that we had before, so that we only consider the other as an enemy. Appealing to empathy and the fact that you live the same situation and are in the same boat, can help us to notice the other as a support.

Emphasizing more on the way of arguing than on the frequency of the discussions. In any long-term relationship, arguments are inevitable, so taking care of that "how" helps to relieve tension. Always referring to behavior and our feelings, using conciliatory and non-violent language, with assignments of turn and being aware that in a discussion it is as important to speak as to listen. It is the only way to understand and not misinterpret. And always stop when we begin to notice in the couple a behavior of "escalation" and reproach. It can always be resumed at another time.

Appealing that confinement can be an opportunity to meet again, emphasizing not only commitment, but also what we miss about the other or what we would like to experience. And that we have to share because we still have time to live together.

Value this situation as an opportunity for reunion. Every crisis is actually the repetition of a relational and interpersonal dynamic that has stopped working, and that this can be an opportunity to improve our communication, our joint time, where being faithful is a daily choice towards the partner, and that we are by allowing us to get to know each other and bond more, it can help to see conflicts as necessary steps to an improvement in the relationship.

Agree on decisions, rules, and times together. If in the end, you opt for separation/divorce, it is best to agree together on the specific times for the actions and decisions to be followed. Both the related ones of the couple (if we stop sleeping together when we start talking with legal representatives when we tell our contacts), postponing those that cannot be done right now due to operational issues and agreeing a time of "truce”, Where they decide which discussions are worthwhile and which are unsolvable and it is better not to touch because the discussion would not add anything good (or new) to the situation. With the aim of guaranteeing a civilized coexistence without aggression if there is no option to live separately.

In any case, what is shown, like almost all the events that we have had to live in these three months of confinement, is the enormous challenge and adaptation of all of us to try to survive, cope with and manage our lives in confinement, and It is an important opportunity both to improve and face our problems as a couple, as well as to accept the breakup when this is the next step.

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