10 Top Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Relationship During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is making it hard for some couples to maintain a healthy relationship, but it’s not a lost cause. Find out how to keep things going, here…

Maintaining a healthy relationship has always been hard, and with the added pressures of COVID-19 it’s more difficult than ever. In fact, divorces have seen a significant rise since the beginning of the pandemic. With the new no-fault divorce law coming into play sometime next year, the numbers could go up. 

In this post, we’re going to have a quick look at this rise in divorce rates, and give some reasons why COVID-19 is damaging healthy relationships. Then, we’ll be sharing our top 10 tips on how to maintain a healthy relationship in spite of the pandemic. 

Has COVID-19 Affected Healthy Relationships?

The figures we’re going to share below are the best we have for how many healthy relationships are breaking down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Most of the data comes from law firms, who have reported a rise in divorce inquiries of 40 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on these figures and others, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has predicted that 38,346 couples might file for divorce before the end of 2020.

On top of this, a UK-wide poll of 2,000 people, asking them about their relationship since the start of the pandemic, suggests:

  • 23 percent of people found it put pressure on their relationship.
  • 42 percent found their partner more irritating.

In an interview with the BBC, Steph James, a counsellor in rural Wales, said: “We may see a surge as we do after Christmas. Couples are thrown together in a stressful situation like this.

“Many can’t leave, and there may come a lockdown reckoning where all the issues come to the fore. They are trying to get through, stiff upper lip. But as we get to some kind of normal, relationships will break down.”

Ways That Healthy Relationships are Being Disrupted by COVID-19

Now that we have an idea of how many healthy relationships could break down due to COVID-19, it’s time to look at the reasons why.

Stark Change in Routine

Whether you’re living with your partner or not, if your relationship is serious you’ve likely established a routine. The pandemic keeps people who are used to being apart from each other in close proximity, and those who are used to seeing each other on a regular basis in their separate houses.

For those who are used to being apart, Ohio State University researchers studied these types of relationships and found that when the couples spent more time together the relationship started to fall apart. 

The same can be said for relationships where the couple doesn’t live together. Either you’re forced to spend more time apart than you’re comfortable with or you’re forced to live together prematurely to avoid that outcome.

Financial Problems

One of the most common reasons for the breakdown of a healthy relationship is financial issues. In a study conducted by the market research company Pipslay, they found that 39 percent of families in the UK have applied for, or are planning to apply for, unemployment benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A further 54 percent of the people in this study had either lost their entire income or had suffered a huge pay cut that has done them serious financial damage. Whether you’re living with your partner and you’re finding it hard to make ends meet, or you can’t afford to spend money on going out with them, financial issues can cause all sorts of arguments.

More Arguments

Speaking of arguments, most healthy and unhealthy relationships end with one. Whether it’s arguing over finances, how to load the dishwasher, or differing views on social distancing, they can easily spiral out of control.

Even if the individual arguments stay relatively small, if you don’t resolve them and fix the issue that started it, resentment could build, and you might end up with a damaged relationship.

Apparently in the Great Recession, married individuals who experienced greater adversity reported more disagreements with their partner, making COVID-19 a hotbed for arguments.

10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Relationship During the Pandemic and Beyond

We now know COVID-19 is causing healthy relationships to break down and we have some idea of how it’s doing it. So, it’s about time we shared our tips on how to stop it happening to you.

1. Communicate Openly

This is a key piece of the puzzle to maintaining a healthy relationship, whether COVID-19 is exerting pressure on it or not. When you have niggling issues that aren’t addressed and they build up over time because you want to avoid conflict, they fester and grow until one day they burst out of you and cause a relationship-ending argument.

In fact, research has shown that communication style is more important to the health of a relationship than commitment levels, personality traits or stress. Healthy couples don’t avoid conflict; they work on keeping the lines of communication open and talking out their problems. 

2. Go on a Date

If you used to go on dates a lot before COVID-19 and you’ve gotten used to not being able to for the last 6 months, you should bring them back. Some of the tension you have in your relationship might be because this part of your routine has gone, and the romance has taken a backseat. Most countries have re-opened their restaurants so mask up, get out there, and have a lovely candlelit meal. 

3. Try to Stay Connected

This one is more for those couples who don’t live together, but can also apply to those with one partner who doesn’t spend a lot of time at home. 

Try and find new ways to stay in touch. If you primarily communicated via text or messenger, and only spoke to each other face to face, then maybe try out Skype or Zoom so you can hear their voice and see their face. A smile and a laugh with your partner can really make the difference when you’ve been isolated from each other for a long time.

4. Spend Some Time Apart

As you can probably tell, this one is more geared to couples who live together and are getting on each other’s nerves. If you want to maintain a healthy relationship, it’s a good idea to get some space now and then.

If your relationship has only ever involved you seeing each other at night after work or going out on big fun trips at the weekend, then you’re not used to seeing each other 24/7. So, set aside some time to see a friend or a family member to let off steam and give yourselves something to talk about when you come back together at the end of the day.

5. Devise a Budget

As we mentioned in the last section, financial troubles are one of the biggest killers of healthy relationships. If you’ve lost employment or have taken a pay cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to address what money you do have and budget it.

This will help you avoid the stress of not being able to make ends meet. It will also help you keep some money aside to carry on doing the things you enjoy together. 

6. Make Yourself Useful

This is good advice for surviving the COVID-19 pandemic in general. If you’ve been laid off work, you’re on furlough, or you have more free time for any reason, it’s good to keep yourself busy.

It’s also good to make work you do useful, like washing the pots, cleaning the clothes, or even washing the windows. Don’t spend all your free time writing the next bestselling novel and watching TV. 

If you’re more useful to your partner, you will feel less inadequate for not being able to provide for the family and it will avoid any arguments over how little you’re doing. 

7. Stay Off Your Phone

It’s difficult to communicate with a partner who spends all their time on their phone. Also, it’s not very healthy to be on your phone all the time, especially during a pandemic where the news is all doom and gloom. Take time to talk to each other, put the phone down, and prioritise your relationship

8. Exercise Together

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people have been taking time out of their day to exercise. You and your partner could go to the gym together, go for a run or even just take the dog for a walk. Especially if one or either of you are working from home, it’s nice to actually get out and do something productive together.

9. Have Sex Often

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing so much tension in your life and your relationship, there’s never been a better time to use sex as a stress reliever. Having sex every day not only reduces tension, it can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and reduce stress, making it easier for couples to make it through the pandemic. Sex is also very intimate and can bring you and your partner closer together. 

10. Never go to Bed angry

The old saying “never go to bed angry” has some validity to it. When you’re tired from a long day and you start an argument, the conversation is rarely reasonable, and you’ll end up going to bed hating each other.

If you want to maintain a healthy relationship, try not to discuss the problem until you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Set a time to talk the following day and sleep on the problem; things are usually much clearer in the morning. 

Will my Relationship Survive COVID-19?

In this post, we’ve managed to cover the negative effects COVID-19 has had on healthy relationships, and talked about why that might be. We’ve also given you some useful tips for avoiding a relationship breakdown.

If you follow the tips we’ve shared in this post, and be mindful of how your partner is feeling, you should make it through. Thank you for reading this post, and good luck maintaining a healthy relationship in these difficult times.

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