Coping Together Through a Collective Crisis

COVID-19 has pushed our way of life into socially distant seclusion. People that cohabitate are spending a whole lot of time together – often more than they would ever have anticipated.

Many couples would see this as an opportunity to spend quality time in their relationship, but just as many are finding that the increased time together is starting to spell their downfall.

Any substantial and fast-paced change can be traumatic to people. With quarantine and shelter in place orders coming through the pipeline almost suddenly, it is safe to say everyone may be feeling a bit traumatized. It’s important to remember that you are not alone in these feelings. Your significant other is probably feeling them too.

People tend to get emotionally delicate when feeling the backlash of a crisis. Between businesses shutting down, having to adapt to a new normal of social distance, and every news outlet headlining some new tragedy every day, crisis is where we are at and what we are feeling – whether we know it or not.

If you feel like your significant other is taking out their feelings on you, remember to consider that they are feeling just as confused and frustrated with our current global situation as you are. Don’t be afraid to address it with them. Communicating openly is important for any relationship. That being said, with no place to escape to given quarantine conditions, be sure to communicate in a positive way. We are living in a climate of negativity – try not to add to it.

But how do we find positivity to focus on in these trying times?

It takes some creativity. An article by John Tierney and Roy Baumeister recommends taking time to “nostalgize.” According to Tierney and Baumeister, Relationships can be strengthened by the power of sharing memories. “Nostalgizing” can help make people be more optimistic for the future by setting them to work towards the goal of making more positive memories. View this mandated time together as a gift and opportunity to grow rather than as a situation you are trapped in together.

Sometimes it’s less about finding the positive and more about eliminating the negative.

Don’t give in to conflict when something is upsetting either or both of you, but consider that “bad” is relative and what may be inconsequential to one of you could be a substantial affront to the other. Take the time to understand your partner. We have been gifted with plenty of time to do so. Neither of you should be going anywhere any time soon. If they offend you to an unforgivable degree, then address it, but be mindful of your words and try to avoid escalating the situation to an all-out battle.

In the face of uncertainty, take control of what you can.

We all tend to be a little more shaky when we feel like our lives are out of our control. Don’t be afraid to schedule your days when you are at home. You can turn a whole lot of what seems like nothing into more than something. Developing a new routine can give both you and your partner a brighter outlook on the day and things to look forward to. Decide who is going to do what and when., whether its figuring out work schedules (if either or both of you are working from home), a childcare plan, exercise agenda, or mealtime itinerary. Giving each other a sense of certainty and stability can cut down on conflict in a big way and make everyone’s time together that much easier.

We have been gifted a seemingly endless expanse of time to reflect with our partners. Instead of just attempting to survive in this current climate, we should try to thrive under the hand that we have been dealt. Complaining is easy. Overcoming is hard – but fulfilling. We are all in this together.

If you are finding that the stress and trauma surrounding COVID-19 is too much, we at Kendrick Law Group can help. We have a network of therapists we can refer you to, or provide assistance if you find your relationship is just not standing up to this global trial. Contact us today for a consultation.

Co-written by Spenser Nampon, law clerk

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