The statistics are in and it doesn’t make for pretty reading for the UK’s couples. According to research by Relate, because of the extra strain put on domestic harmony because of lockdown, nearly 10% of respondents have decided to end their relationship, with another 28% anxious about how their relationship will change once lockdown ends.
Indeed, there’s a fear amongst experts that ‘lockdown may trigger a surge in couples splitting’, and it looks like things are only set to get more strained for the nation’s lovers in the coming months.
That said, it would be madness to throw in the towel here, to raise the white flag to a global pandemic after all the hard work you and your partner have put into your relationship. Instead, why not implement some proactive measures to keep love alive? With that in mind, here’s how to rekindle a healthy relationship with your partner.
CULTIVATE TRUST AGAIN
The first task for two individuals when in a relationship is to trust each other without holding back. Trust is the basis on which not just romance, but all kinds of relationships flourish. Having spent so much time together during lockdown – or, on the flip side, none at all – extremes of emotions are bound to have come to the surface in an unannounced, unwelcome way regarding openness and trust.
But, beware, mistrust might cause severe problems in your relationship, amounting to isolation and loss of intimacy between partners. So, do endeavour to work on these emotions should they arise.
KEEP YOUR INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS ALIVE
All that time in each other’s company, without extracurricular activities or engagement with others, has likely left your relationship feeling insular. This isn’t helpful, and can foster both a deep co-dependence and resulting resentment.
Now we’re permitted a little more freedom, to go outside and interact with others once again, it’s crucial you step out on your own on occasion, to nurture your individual interests and sense of self. Keep your identity by socialising with friends on your own terms, and by preserving your own hobbies and interests. This seeming selfishness will almost certainly feedback positively into your relationship.
TAKE A TECH BREAK
Hands up who has sunken deep into their screens a little too often during lockdown? Oh, I notice a smartphone in that hand you raised. Not to worry.
Indeed, those uninvited Screentime Reports we keep getting sent have made for pretty shocking reading; those were some serious hours wasted to Tik Tok, Twitter et al. We’ve all been guilty lately of seeking solace in our devices, since they provide a sense of control over our lives. But really, being glued to your screen is almost certainly an obsession to the detriment of good, honest conversation with your partner, which is the foundation of a solid and loving relationship.
Try to spend some quality time together without allowing technology to interrupt proceedings in the coming weeks, and cherish those moments spent together. You’ll be surprised at what a positive difference it makes. And while you’re here, check out our tips on ways to beat mobile phone addiction for some advice on taking that tech break.
TRY NEW THINGS
Remember the honeymoon period of your relationship? Everything seemed fresh, with each passing day bringing a new memory. Christ, how the monotony of lockdown has rendered those heady, early days in sepia coloured tones, a distant but glorious nostalgia attached.
Rekindle that fresh, exciting period of your relationship by actively seeking to create new memories. Take your partner out on dates, watch films together, enjoy picnics and even head off for short staycations. And especially for married couples, never miss an opportunity to celebrate your lasting commitment to love, particularly your anniversary if it’s approaching. Be sure to surprise your spouse with a wedding anniversary gift, at the very least!
LEARN TO LISTEN AGAIN
You’ve heard so much of your partner’s voice in recent months, with both of you spending all your time in the house. We certainly know we’re sick of the sound of it (sorry if you’re reading this, darling).
Because of this, a tendency once in a while to switch off when your significant other’s talking is inevitable. But when one half of your team starts to feel ignored more often than listened to, that’s a serious problem right there. Indeed, one of the best ways to improve your relationships and rekindle that spark is to really work on your listening skills.
Reframe how you think about conversations; we’re all waiting for our turn to speak and so often don’t pay enough attention to the details up to that point. But there’s so much value to be gained from taking a moment and really, truly opening your ears. You don’t always have to provide the answers – in fact, feeling you need to is the opposite of being a good listener. Instead, it’s that ear you’re offering which is most important.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This turbulent period in all our lives has taken no prisoners when considering our relationships. Instead of succumbing to the issues which have affected so many post lockdown, use the ‘new normal’ as an excuse for a fresh start and reason for renewed effort and vigour. Good luck!