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A 'perfect couple’ is like a unicorn - yes you got it right, it's a myth. And now we're with our partners (and in most cases the whole family). How do we deal with it?
A ‘perfect couple’ is like a unicorn – yes you got it right, it’s a myth. And now we’re with our partners (and in most cases the whole family). How do we deal with it?
In the wake of a global pandemic our world has suddenly reduced to the four walls of our home. COVID-19 has put the world on a standstill and we are left grappling for some semblance of normalcy in our lives.
Coronavirus has dismantled our routines and has instilled fear, insecurity in our lives. Those who had jobs, now work from home. There are no house helps to assist us in our usual chores and children are too at home. We are suddenly bereft of those evening walks, time with friends and colleagues and many of us are naturally bound to experience cabin fever.
Such dismal times can often put a strain on our relationships. Owing to the pandemic and the consequent lockdown by the government, most of us are stuck at home with our partners.
Now you would all nod your heads in agreement that ‘too much’ of anything is bad. ‘Love in the times of Coronavirus’ is tricky and couples are walking a tightrope. With coronavirus cases increasing each day, with social media and whatsapp flashing the gravity of the situation day and night- we are panicky and scared for our well-being.
Under such unusual circumstances couples are struggling to stay sane, not drive each other to their wits end and tread towards the post corona world triumphant.
In normal circumstances, everyone has a routine- A routine and an outlet wherein we meet people and days are not mundane. But, now cooped up in our homes, amidst the fear of a dreaded virus, our pent up emotions can make us act out. A week into the lockdown and we are snapping at each other at the drop of a hat.
As amusing as it may sound but our lives have actually become like ‘Big Boss ka ghar’. So, fighting and bickering at each other is but natural.
As per the ‘Global Times’ many districts of China witnessed a sudden spike in divorce rates. It is said to have happened because constant companionship in such trying times led to conflicts and doubts.
Since, we do not know as to how long this current predicament is going to continue, it is wise that we look for solutions so that not only do we sail through this stressful period but come out stronger.
While researching for this piece, I came across an interesting concept called the ‘4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse’. Coined by John Gottman, who is a renowned American Psychological researcher, this principle aims at providing stability in a relationship.
It is not the apocalypse (I hope so) but these 4 pointers can definitely help couples who are at loggerheads.
No Criticism – The first one is criticism. Now we all complain and bicker endlessly with our partners. But, Gottman says that complaining and criticizing are two different things. We can complain but we must refrain from criticizing our partner. For example- ‘You are always late’ (this is a complain) but, ‘You don’t worry about me and that’s why you are always late’ (this is criticizing).
So, if you get into a fight with your partner, do not ‘criticize’ him/her.
No Contempt– Now, this is something we all are guilty of. In the current scenario, we must make sure, we do not mock, ridicule or call names at our partner. You cannot end a fight if the other person feels that you find him/her disgusting. When you resort to contempt, you are going away from the root cause of your fight.
No defensiveness– We often tend to become defensive when we fight with our partners. It is like saying out loud that the problem is him/her. For example- If instead of answering as to why you couldn’t do a certain task, you put the blame on the other person, you are being defensive. So, if you end up arguing, do not get defensive, rather focus on solving the conflict amicably.
No stonewalling– This means when your partner is having a conversation/discussion you switch off mentally and show no interest in what he/she is talking about. This implies withdrawing from any dialogue, whatsoever. So, if you have a tiff with your partner, please do not stonewall him/her, rather talk it out.
Now let us take a look at some practical steps which we take if we end up fighting with our partners under the current circumstances.
Owing to the lockdown most of us are working from home. Now, a lot of time we are agitated and impatient because being at home we are not able to work in peace. So, try and have different workspaces, preferably in different rooms (do recognise the privilege while you’re at it), and stay away from each other’s workspace.
Along with work, chores have to be done and groceries have to be bought. This often leads to scuffle and blame game between the partners. So, divide the chores amongst each other. If you have children, involve them as well. This would to a great extent bring about harmony between the couples.
A fight with your partner can soon translate into depression and paranoia. But, you can take some measures which would ensure that it does not affect for mental well-being.
Music has the power to calm our nerves at any point of time. So, post that bitter fight, turn on your favourite piece of music and just relax. Exercise also releases endorphins and makes you instantly feel better. Now exercise doesn’t mean that you need to take up a rigorous fitness challenge. It can be basic yoga, meditation or dance. You can choose anything which calms your frayed nerves.
The 21 day lockdown has not just made us hoarders but constant worriers. This often takes a toll on couples.
Now there is an interesting exercise which every couple must try as it would certainly help them make better sense of things and come on the same page. Every night, both the partners must enumerate the highpoints and low points of the day. The catch here is that none of them would offer any solutions and could just ask how the other person feels about it. This would create empathy and even if you had a bad day bickering at each other, you are bound to end the day on a good note.
Our lives ran a programmed course before the virus made its presence. But, things have changed and how.
Couples often fight because the lines that were defined earlier are now blurred. Too much intimacy can be toxic and so they need to draw out a new routine which will clearly define ‘me time’, ‘work hours’ etc for the family. Structure often helps prevent squabbles and it would therefore stop couples from turning on each other.
One thing that this pandemic has made us realize is that what matters in life are not the tangible things which we often run after but the joyous moments with our loved ones. So, wouldn’t it be wise to stick to our loved ones when the times are tough? One day, this too shall pass.
Image source: shutterstock
Meha has worked as a Business Analyst in an elite IT firm and as a full time professor in management colleges. Having earned an MBA degree in Human Resource Management and an MA degree in read more...
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