Relationship Advice: Under COVID-19
A lot of couples have trouble communicating when things are normal. Now, though, we face increased stress, depression, anger, and other emotions as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. Not only are we dealing with the fear and anxiety around health issues, whether for ourselves or our loved ones, but we’re facing great uncertainty around jobs and the future of our country. At a time full of challenges, we must turn toward each other and build strong relationships that sustain us.
Too many people in relationships deal with stress and uncertainty through anger. They get into arguments, are short-tempered, and close up by themselves. We retreat into ourselves and strike out at anyone who comes close. It’s not that we are angry at our partners. We’re angry at the situation and our loss of control. Something needs to be done to make sure we’re supporting each other and not turning on each other.
Here are some ways you can help your relationship deal with the stress of COVID-19.
Communicating with FAST
The way we talk to our loved ones is massively important. Emotions can hijack conversations and make people say hurtful things they don’t mean. We need to be especially mindful of the things we say to our spouses and partners we care deeply about. In many couples, one partner often sacrifices by making their feelings subordinate to the other’s to keep the peace. What they view as positive efforts is hurtful in the long run. They are damaging their self worth and their relationship is simply a mirage of what it is. To communicate effectively, a safe space needs to be established for both partners to express themselves. That can be done with the FAST model.
FAST stands for fairness, apologies, sticking to your values, and truth. These four principles should govern the way you communicate with your partner in good times and bad. However, they’re critical during quarantine and when dealing with other effects of the coronavirus. Remember to be fair to yourself and your partner when you speak by avoiding judgment and hurtful comments. Don’t apologize too quickly or to preserve the peace in your relationships. Apologies should be saved for when they are warranted. Stick to your values in good times and bad. Don’t make your needs subservient to your partner’s. Don’t let others hold too much influence over your thoughts and actions. Finally, don’t exaggerate and don’t lie. Speak the truth.
Find Time Away
A lot of couples are struggling because they’re spending way more time together than they’re used to. When things were normal, we went to work, to the gym, to meet up with friends, and had other obligations. Now, many couples find themselves in close contact with each other all day for weeks or months at a time. It doesn’t matter how much you love a person, spend enough time with them and you’re going to need a break.
To ease tensions in your relationship, schedule walks or breaks away from each other. Spend time in separate rooms when you sense the tension coming on. We all need alone time to think and re-center ourselves. Even though it may sound counterintuitive, prioritizing time apart will help you build a healthier relationship.
Emphasize Physical Touch
When things get tough, physical touch and intimacy are so important. Touch cuts through emotional distress better than most things. It’s a non-verbal communication that is so effective at expressing love. During COVID-19, we need more touch than ever. We lose out on hugs from family, friends, and even strangers. We don’t realize how much shaking hands, a pat on the back or an arm around the shoulder means.
For the people you can be in contact with, especially your spouse or partner, emphasize physical touch with each other. Make it a priority. Do your best to fill that gap that’s there because of quarantine and other restrictions from the pandemic.
Don’t Forget Sex
Intimacy in relationships is a way to show and receive love. Many couples are saying they’re too stressed out by what’s happening in the world to focus on sex. However, the impact of that will be weakened relationships, resentment, lack of physical touch, and so many other harmful effects. Physical intimacy between couples will take work in quarantine, but it’s worth it. You may even need to schedule a time to be together, where you can forget for a moment about all the bad news and dire outlooks.
Don’t Overlook the Potential of Peptides
In clinical studies done on rats and mice, the peptide PT-141, or the sexual peptide, was shown to increase sexual arousal. Increased arousal in the central nervous system influenced sexual behavior between rodents, you can find more information about PT-141 on this website. The studies even caused PT-141 to be called the female Viagra. Though no clinical research has been done on humans, the potential for healthier sexual relationships is exciting.
Focus on Commitment
Perhaps the biggest thing you can do, aside from getting healthy, communicating better, and dedicating time to physical touch, is committing to helping your partner get through this troubling time. We all deal with COVID-19 in different ways. Try to let this experience bring you closer together instead of pull you further apart. As you dedicate time to uplifting and validating your partner, your relationship will be more fulfilling and loving. You may even look back on this time down the road with gratitude over how much it helped you grow.