COPING WITH ISOLATION – 10 TIPS FOR COUPLES

Maggie Morrow, counselling, CBT therapy, life coach and psychotherapist London. MSc Integrative Psychotherapy, BSc Psychology, Adv Dip, UKCP.
Author: Maggie Morrow, Award Winning Psychotherapist, Counsellor & Life Coach
Last updated: 27th March 2024

Caring For Your Connection In The Corona Crisis

Many couples who typically present for therapy have found their relationship suffering as a result of not having had enough time together. Suddenly many couples now find themselves thrown together in self-isolation at home due to the extreme constraints of Coronavirus lockdown. But this is no guarantee of positive connection.

Indeed, relationship therapists have historically found that more couples enquire about therapy after Christmas or the summer holidays than at any other time of the year. This does not augur well for how our relationships will fare as a result of social isolation potentially for weeks. China has very sadly seen a spike in the number of couples filing for divorce after the lifting of the lockdown.

Being cocooned together 24/7 is not all hearts and roses, and we cannot expect it to be. Any cracks in relational connection are likely to be exacerbated under the extra pressure that couples unexpectedly find themselves having to navigate.

So here are 10 pointers to protect and nurture your connection as a couple:
 

Positivity

We are surrounded by negative information more than damage limitation, about preventing ourselves from falling victim to the Coronavirus. Try to be positive in seeing self-isolation as an opportunity for you to sow into your relationship. May the focus of your connection not be on surviving but on thriving! As you are forced to lean out of your busy life, choose to lean into what you have as a couple and embrace the potential in this window of time.
 

Practicalities

Schedule ‘me time’ as well as ‘us time’. Your personal space is still important, however hard that may be to practically carve out for yourself. Whatever you usually do to reset yourself and recharge your batteries, make sure that you factor it in, whilst being intentional about prioritising your partner too.

Put physical boundaries in place around your space. Maybe decide on what your own living or working area will be for each of you for certain parts of the day.
Decide on a routine that will include work, rest, and play. Structure has a way of helping most of us feel safe and secure on the inside. You can intersperse it all with romance! Get fresh air and exercise where you can.
 

Proactivity

Love is action, love does not just happen! As the saying goes ‘If we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always got’, at best! Maybe do the Love languages inventory online, by Gary Chapman, discover the love language of the other, www.5lovelanguages.com and be intentional about speaking it to your loved one more of the time!

Just being alongside together in the same space is not itself enough to feel connected. Plan for quality times to connect, both to have fun and to check in how you are both coping with the situation on an emotional level. Brainstorm ideas for what you could do in your couple time, and create fun ways of deciding what you do! Laughter is great for your immune system!

Take time to ask about the wellbeing of your partner and take time to actively listen to their response. Allow yourself to be fully present with them, giving your undivided attention with your body language as well as your words! Listen with your heart as well as your head. It is most likely that your partner is wanting you to show that you care and can empathise with how they feel, more than they want a solution or to be told that they should not be feeling a certain way!

Reach out to your partner, be intentional about seeking to connect physically as well as emotionally. Maybe enquire about what they most need of you in these stressful times…
 

Protection

We may all be focused on fighting against the Coronavirus, but may we also be mindful to fight for our relational connection. It can easily be eroded without us realising it. Connection is both beautifully strong and yet incredibly fragile. Words that are spoken cannot be unsaid, and what is done cannot be undone. It is so much harder to repair a rupture in your relationship than it is to prevent it in the first place. Think before you speak or act. What you have is your hands is precious and warrants the highest expression of care.
 

Patience

Be mindful that this is a testing time for both of you. Of course there will be moments when it feels hard and it feels overwhelming. That is completely normal and does not mean that your relationship is falling apart. Sometimes the smallest change in our attitude can have the greatest change in our behaviour. A more positive response as you react to your partner’s behaviour can make a large difference to the connection between you as a couple. Choose patience and choose tolerance. Kindness and respect for each other can go a long way.
 

Peace-making

You have the potential in your partner’s world to be a carrier of peace and of hope to them. Amidst the raging external storm that can consume us and overwhelm us with anxiety and negativity, you can be an amazing and powerful source of calm. You are the one person who is able to reach your loved one’s heart in a way that maybe no one else can.

Speak words of life, words that soothe and words that encourage. Create a bubble in the eye of the storm where the two of you can find refuge in each other. Seek to stand together as a united front, where you are each other’s source of support and comfort.

If a situation arises where there is a risk of escalation and potential abuse, remove yourself as much and as quickly as possible, agree to park the issue for now and preserve the peace. Issues are always easier to resolve when you are feeling calm. Choose to prioritise the peace over needing to be understood in that moment. The understanding can come later.
 

Power

You are powerful in shaping the connection and determining how happy you are as a couple. Your relationship is not an experience that happens to you, it takes the two of you to make it happen! Accept the unspoken invitation to step into your best self, to create the connection that you dream of. This is your moment! It is important not to allow negative patterns to creep in. The longer you leave them, the more embedded they will become, and the harder they will be to change. Take charge and nip them in the bud! Don’t underestimate the power of your love to change your partner’s world! Own your power in being vulnerable when you are feeling safe, talk about what is going on for you in your emotional world and the struggles you are having. The courage that this takes will be worth it in deepened connection between you.
 

Partnership

You are in this together. Be the partner that you would like your partner to be to you. You have a huge impact on your partner’s wellbeing, as they do on your’s. Your worlds are intertwined so it is vital to know where the boundary is between what is your responsibility and what is their’s. Seek to make ‘I’ statements, how ‘I am feeling right now is…’, whilst avoiding the temptation to point your blaming finger at them. Agree together, when you are feeling calm, what you would like your conflict strategy to be for when you suddenly feel disconnected. Above all, keep your conflict kind and keep it contained to the issue in the moment.

Feeling connected as a couple will help to increase your emotional resilience, individually and relationally. You will navigate the stresses better, experience them with less negative impact, and enjoy enhanced pleasure in the good times.
 

Passion

Channel your energy into celebrating the special moments and seek to make memories. Remember that annoyance with each other, or waves of frustration are normal when we are under stress. However, we can deal with them positively by remembering that our partner is not the enemy. Underneath the negative emotions that can rage on the surface when we are triggered, are the longings for connection and fears that we might be disconnected. We all need to feel valued and appreciated, to feel that we belong to our loved one, that they have our back and that we matter to them. The stronger the negative emotions, the greater the passion that is longing to re-connect!

Physical affection and sexual intimacy release powerful hormones into our bodies that help us feel more connected, protected and loved.
 

Purpose

Determine in your heart that good can come out of this Corona climate for you in your relationship. Discuss together what you would like that to be, and decide on a plan to make it happen. Endure the oppressive circumstances in these days by embracing your opportunity to pursue even greater connection as a couple!
 

Feeling Really Stuck?

Sometimes even when making the best effort possible, couples can find themselves stuck in problematic cycles which wear them down or threaten to destroy their relationship. It can be a “hard to see the wood for the trees” scenario. In such situations when your efforts together fall short, couples therapy can really help you understand where you are getting stuck and how to break the negative cycle so you can shift your relationship into a happier and more positive path.
 
Click here to learn more about Online Couples Therapy at KlearMinds.

Helpful Guides About Therapy

Stress - Therapy Support

Stress Awareness Month

17th April 2024

April is Stress Awareness Month and this year’s focus is on raising understanding about the factors that contribute to stress,…

Two people in conversation

How long does it take to treat OCD with CBT?

27th March 2024

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition characterised by intrusive, anxious thoughts and repetitive behaviours or mental…

SLEEP – Are you Getting Enough?

15th March 2024

Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Whilst the odd disrupted night can be managed,…

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

1st March 2024

During Eating Disorder Week, we thought we would shine some light on a less well-known eating problem. It is called…

Annoyed couple ignoring each other

What to do if your partner rejects the idea of couples counselling?

20th February 2024

    When relationships falter, couples counselling can illuminate a path forward. Perhaps communication has broken down or trust has…

Man and Woman in Disagreement

Is your mid-life crisis ruining your marriage?

19th January 2024

A mid-life crisis may sound like a cliché but it’s an experience that many people go through. Not only can…

Maggie Morrow, counselling, CBT therapy, life coach and psychotherapist London. MSc Integrative Psychotherapy, BSc Psychology, Adv Dip, UKCP.

Get a Therapist Recommendation

Get in touch for a free telephone consultation with Maggie Morrow, Award Winning Therapist & KlearMinds Director.

Money back guarantee – Not satisfied with your first appointment? Let us know. You can have a refund or try a free appointment with another therapist we recommend.

Get a Therapist Recommendation
Private Therapy Rooms in London
Online Counselling Available