COVID-19 causing chaos in your relationship? You are not alone

Too much time with your partner may not be what you thought.
Published: May. 25, 2020 at 5:40 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There is something that is spreading to homes across the country: relationship stress!

Too much time with your partner may not be what you thought. Many couples say they feel increased stress during this time of quarantine.

Cezanne Elias is a Purdue University social scientist and studies marriage and family therapy. Elias said if you are feeling like being around your partner 24/7 is overwhelming, it’s normal.

“This is all new territory,” Elias said.

Forced togetherness can cause issues for couples, even in the strongest of relationships.

“Stressors that existed before seem to be amplified,” Elias said.

Add children to the mix and that can be even harder.

What can couples do to ease that stress? Keep in mind that things that worked pre-pandemic may not work now. You may have to get creative.

“Don’t forget to have fun,” Elias said. “If you enjoy date night like going to the movies be creative bring date night in. Put on your favorite streaming service and get a movie. If you enjoy going out with friends do a Zoom get together.”

One the most helpful things you can do is finding a balance of togetherness and alone time.

“You need to balance time together and you need to balance time alone,” Elias said. “Couples are used to having some part of their day when they aren’t together. They need time together and time apart to recharge and that is something that we are seeing in the literature right now as well.”

Self care can go a long way. Couples should give one another space for separate activities.

Elias sad it’s also helpful to rearrange chores: Small acts of pitching in what you normally haven’t done.

Instead of doing what worked pre-quarantine, partners should talk about what works now and leave room for flexibility when work or child care schedules shift.

Therapists are doing telehealth if you need someone to talk to. Elias said to reach out if usual strategies to address issues are not working. In some instances, staying at home with a partner who has become abusive or increased alcohol or substance use is not the answer. Resources such as the National Domestic Hotline at 800-799-7233 or the Crisis Text Line – text HOME to 741741 – can be used.

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