The confinement stemming from the new coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, leads couples who used to see each other for a short time on a daily basis to spend 24 hours between four walls. Also, in a stressful situation. How does this affect the relationship? “Much depends on the couple, on the quality of their prior bond to all this situation -especially their communicational resources-, on the capacity of adaptation that their members demonstrate, on the individual management of the emotions of each one, of the adjustment with the to put care strategies into action ”, Diana Lozano, psychologist and sexual health specialist at Centro TAP Advanced Psychological Treatment, tells CuídatePlus.
It also depends, of course, on the level of stress you have to deal with. Lozano acknowledges that “a couple who has to be confined is not the same as a couple in which, apart from being confined, one of the members has lost his job and one of the two has a family member hospitalized by coronavirus, for example ”
With children, does the situation become tenser?
Many of the recommendations to gain adjustment of coexistence in confinement go in the direction of balance between shared spaces and individual self-care spaces, the search for quality time, taking advantage of this situation to reformulate eroticism … Obviously, in that sense couples with children have it more complicated.
“Furthermore, if the upbringing is already full of challenges and it is easy for us not to reach agreements on many issues, in confinement and spending 24 hours all together, the situation becomes more delicate. The idea is to team up, reach agreements, relax some issues to focus on what is really important and use humor and creativity as protective factors; but, of course, the level of challenge increases ”, says Lozano.
The Centro TAP expert comments that there is a lot of talk about a baby boom after quarantine. However, in many spaces it is already specified that it will probably be in couples who did not have children previously, since those who did have them will need to relocate after managing the accompanying children in this situation, teleworking with them, looking for formulas for entertainment every day and so on.
The importance of the rules of coexistence
Is it necessary to establish some rules for living together as a couple to avoid or minimize conflicts? “In general, psychologists are very supportive of regulations or contracts. Explain what we need and what we expect from the other, reach agreements so that in complicated situations or in disagreements we leave as little as possible to improvisation. These are tremendously useful formulas, “says Lozano.
On many occasions, we can keep quiet, not express ourselves, and accumulate discomfort or negative emotions that can end up triggering a conflict. For this reason, the expert from Centro TAP makes the following recommendation: “Caring for listening, questioning and expression spaces can help even the most inhibited profiles have agreed on basic conditions that guarantee relational well-being”.
Regarding the decision to separate after quarantine, Lozano points out that they tend to encourage decision-making processes not to be carried out in a state of high emotional intensity, since on many occasions that high emotionality distorts our vision of reality and can lead us to make decisions hastily and reactively.
“There will be couples who have dragged their emotional distance, their lack of good treatment codes, or their lack of investment in having a good bond, which very possibly does not overcome the relational challenge that coexistence in confinement entails. In other couples, not having adjusted to the situation will be the final sign that they do not want to be together, “says the psychologist.
However, the sexual health specialist continues, there may also be couples who, although they have not found themselves particularly well together in confinement when day-to-day conditions return to normal, they can return to their previous relational parameters and continue together without a problem and with high quality of the relationship.
Which couples will be more united?
“ The couples who are going to come out reinforced from this confinement situation are not necessarily the ones that were better before, but very probably the ones that have more flexibility and adaptability to changes. We know that overcoming a challenge together can unite a lot and there will undoubtedly be couples who, after having lived through the coronavirus crisis together, will come together and feel the bond they share much stronger, ”says Lozano.
In the couple’s journey it is usual that there are changes and challenges. “From the birth of the children to problems with the families of origin or changes due to labor modifications. Those couples who have demonstrated strength and the ability to adapt together in the current situation are most likely to feel more capable of ‘coping with what comes’ at other levels, ”concludes the psychologist.