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Relationships,  Self Help

Relationships in Lockdown

The lockdown (for the second time) may seem like a whole new curveball for couples. Living in the same environment or in a long-distance relationship could mean more conflicts, more expectations and more problems sprouting up. Whether that’s less space or less time – it can be hectic. Relationships of any kind need more communication, trust and empathy than before the lockdown, that also for the second time around. If love in lockdown feels tough for you… here are a few things to reflect on.

The first thing we all need to do (in all relationships) is to understand and identify what the relationship would or should look like. Whether you’re living-in with each other, or getting married or dating each other. What does the relationship look like for us and for you? Having a clearly defined perspective of what the relationship is helps set boundaries on how the couple, individually and collectively, organize their life, organize their schedules and what they want to do with and for each other.

Based on this, you can plan a date night on particular days and what you’ll want to do on that date night. Thinking of this could also mean having common goals or common aspirations and working towards that. Therefore this creates a common sense of productive engagement for the couple.

For example, a couple may want to buy land in a village and build a house on it or they could even be learning a skill together like baking where they both want to enhance their skill set or learning a dance or even going scuba diving across the world!

In relation to handling a relationship, I think it is very important for a couple to identify that, first, they are individuals and then a couple, so what they want for themselves is very important. However, in this process, it might be important to be sensitive to the others’ wants and needs. Put yourself first and also gauge what your partner would like in that situation. So instead of adjusting for your partner, you have to say ‘This is what I want. I want to do this for my partner because it makes me happy’ rather than ‘I’m doing this for my partner because I want to be perceived as a good partner.’ This distinction is very important.

A lot of relationships require adjusting but the adjustment should be one out of choice and not one that we feel is forced upon us or is a compulsion for us. This feeds back into our schedules; because if I feel that I’m giving up a work meeting or I’ve finished my work fast or haphazardly just so I can spend that extra half an hour with my partner would never work.

We need to really acknowledge what we’re doing and why we’re doing that. So even if I spend nine hours a day working, that one hour I may have with my partner with undivided attention is great. Even the expectation from my partner should not be one that it’s only them, it should also be one where I convince my partner to form meaningful platonic connections beyond the relationship.

It’s easy to set expectations in relationships for ourselves, but it might be hard to communicate these feelings out. Whether it’s your own perspective or something you are willing to work on together, another thing that we have all needed this lockdown is communication.

Communication is underrated and is not given as much importance as it should be. Talk about your feelings and what’s leading you to feel that way with your partner. This can be through long texts, phone calls, video calls, emails or date nights. Communicating with people who are close to you and it might mean more than you know to the other person. This also gives them a clear vision of where you are at the given moment – helping them gauge your wants and needs better.

As we all know, communication is a two way street, keep the space open. Be open and honest. Let them talk and engage too. Building up on the base of communication means free-flowing conversations and might even add on to emotional intimacy.

Sometimes things like knowing your own expectations and communicating can sound like very simple things to do, but they can be challenging. The second lockdown has thrown all of us off-balance and this might affect our relationships. These strategies may need some time and effort to work, so remember to be patient with yourself and your partner. If you feel like you need professional help as an individual or with your partner, discuss this with them and get help. It doesn’t mean you cannot make it work on your own, it simply means you are willing to go the extra mile to make it work!

Priyanka Varma
Priyanka believes emotional and mental health care are at the very core of us experiencing happiness in our life. Her qualifications include a Masters in Clinical Psychology and in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Priyanka enjoys working with young adults and understanding life as it changes with intrusions like the internet and the pandemic. Above everything else her true love is homemade chocolate cake.

Priyanka Varma, Psychologist

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