You don’t expect to be spending all day and every day with your partner, but that can be your reality right now, and it can be tough..

Neither do you expect to be separated for day’s or weeks on end, as some couples are right now, especially if one of you is a key worker. So even the most solid of relationships are going to struggle. So give yourself a break, be kind to yourself and our loved ones.

How to manage your relationship right now

Routines are important. If you don’t need to get up at the crack of dawn, because you aren’t working that’s absolutely fine, it may be a time to catch up on sleep and let go of stress. Just don’t spend the whole day in bed.

Shower and wash your hair regularly, as well as wearing clean clothes. There is nothing less attractive than someone who doesn’t bother with their hygiene and slobs around in clothes they have worn for days on end. If you feel really down in the dumps showering and clean clothes can make you feel so much better, even if you aren’t going anywhere.

Accept that you are each different.
You may want to find out all the information you can about the virus, whereas your partner may find it all too overwhelming, can’t cope and doesn’t want to hear any of it.
Neither of you is wrong, it’s just that you each deal with anxiety and stress differently, so don’t push each other to do things they don’t want to.

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Allow each other space
Allowing each other physical space is really important. If you are working from home decide where you are going to set up your designated working area. If you are both working from home, then swap around if room is limited so you can each access a pleasant workspace. In other words, don’t expect your partner to always work on a laptop whilst propped up in bed, while you hog the kitchen or dining table.

Give each other emotional space too, acknowledge you each need time-out on your own. This is especially relevant if you can’t get out of your home because you are confined to your home or you don’t have a garden.

Share the chores
Routines are likely to have changed, so be prepared to share the chores, or change your own routine to fit your circumstances. Sit down and talk about it, rather than making assumptions that the other will realise you need help or make snide remarks in the hope they will take the hint. You may have fallen over their shoes 15 times, but for them, it’s not a priority.

Arguments and Disagreements
If you are prone to argue and bicker a lot in normal circumstances, try to be as tolerant as you can with each other. These are really difficult times, and you need to dig deep and be more patient. Pick your battles carefully, as those little niggles can so easily get out of hand when emotions are running high. If you feel that an argument is getting out of hand or that you are getting a bit twitchy then remove yourself. Let your partner know, this is what you are doing, so they don’t think you have gone off in a huff, or that they have done something wrong.

Be aware that your partner may be more concerned about an older parent or relative during this crisis and try to be understanding and supportive.

Wherever possible, put off raising the big issues, call a truce until things get back to normality. Remember you can’t go running off to mum or a friend, that is unless you are experiencing domestic violence in which case get out of the house as quickly as possible.

The following information was taken directly from the government website.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police – the police will continue to respond to emergency calls.

If you suspect that your neighbours or those in your community are victims of domestic abuse, we encourage you to report it to the police.

If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, dial 999 and listen to the questions from the operator and respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can.

If you call 999 from a mobile

If prompted, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard and this will transfer your call to the police.
Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.

If you call 999 from a landline
If only background noise can be heard and operators cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed, then you will be connected to a police call handler.
If you replace the handset, the landline may remain connected for 45 seconds in case you pick up again.
When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about your location should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999.


Play games together
Remember those silly games you played at Christmas? Well now is the time to start playing them again, and if you didn’t play those games, now is the time to start. Get out the board games if you have any or even that pack of cards lingering at the back of the drawer. If not get inventive – charades, even EyeSpy can be fun. If you have children get some of their games out and play them.

Arrange a date-night.
Yes, I know this is all a bit cliched, eating your meal off a tray in front of the TV every night can kill romance! Make a nice meal, lay the table, dress up, and put on your favourite music. Make it a special evening.

Get out your old photos and browse through them together, they may bring back memories of when you first met, your wedding or a holiday, or even make you laugh at the clothes and hairstyles you had way back when.

Go out for a walk together
Fresh air and exercise are really good for us. Even if you can’t go far from home, take turns to choose a different route. Enjoy the scenery together. You may find chatting whilst walking makes it easier to talk to each other, whereas talking facing each other is difficult.

If you have children, this will bring other challenges. Being all together in a confined space can be extremely testing.
If they are of school age you may well be dealing with schoolwork that they have been sent home. Trying to get them to do it can be a struggle, so my advice is, try not to let it become a battle. They are struggling with a situation they can’t make sense of and asking questions you don’t have answers to. Be as honest as you can, being age appropriate with your answers. Let them know you understand they are trying to cope as much as you are. Don’t lie to them as they will learn not to trust you.

Model reasonable behaviour, they are always learning from your behaviour.

Younger children may need more of your time, so try and arrange that you each take over for a while whilst the other on has some ‘me time.’

Cuddles and Sex
There is nothing better to activate the good hormones and make us feel good. Hugs are so good for our health, they really do activate oxytocin, endorphins and dopamines.
Sex is also great for feeling closer to each other and again releasing the love hormone. Just make sure you use birth control. There is a good chance there could be a Baby Boom in 9 months’ time!

Wendy Capewell is a Relationship Specialist, author and podcaster.

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