Risk plays a huge role in our lives, especially as we try to get back to “normal” during this global pandemic. With COVID still a present concern, couples may find it challenging to maintain a certain level of safety every time they go out. Since every decision has its own level of risk involved, how can couples decide what is a reasonable level of pandemic risk when they have very different opinions?
Navigating Pandemic Risk as a Couple
We’re all social creatures that thrive when in community with one another. When it comes to socializing and staying healthy, it’s important for couples to understand their own levels of risk acceptance. Read on to learn how couples can handle this risky business.
Communicate Your Ideals for Safety
Getting back into the world is a goal many of us are excited to reach. However, it will be a long time before things get back to what we have been used to as “normal”. As we try to safeguard against a second wave, it’s important to avoid crowds, wear masks, limit our time inside indoor establishments, and avoid other activities that are excessively risky. With this in mind, couples should identify what makes each of them feel safe.
For example, if it’s important for your partner to go to places where masks are always required, it’s best to avoid eating out. Likewise, if you feel as though you’re comfortable going outside to the park or beach without a mask, be sure to discuss this with your partner.
Respect Each Other’s Views
The ever-changing news surrounding the novel coronavirus makes it difficult to know what’s acceptable and what’s not. While we all want to avoid getting sick, there are many other factors to consider. In matters of life and death, it’s hard to remain calm when discussing our viewpoints. This is why it’s so important to be respectful and hear your partner out.
Even if you don’t understand your partner’s point of view, listen to them. Truly listen when they share their concerns and be understanding of any fears they may have concerning questionable situations. By talking it over, you may be able to ease your partner’s fears and help them understand your point of view as well.
Be Open to Compromise
Compromise is very important when considering the risks of COVID. This is especially true if one partner is more risk-averse than the other. If your partner is overly afraid of going to certain places in public, work together to find a compromise. Find ways to spend time together while taking each person’s level of comfort into consideration.
Recognize Your Own Anxiety
In the midst of understanding your level of risk acceptance, don’t ignore your own anxiety. Even as we are several months into the pandemic, it’s natural to experience worry, fear, and stress. Part of understanding the level of pandemic risk you accept starts with acknowledging and recognizing this anxiety.
Couples can limit their levels of COVID-related anxiety by avoiding activities that add undue stress. For example, if your partner is open to eating outdoors at a restaurant but you’re too anxious to be around others, don’t ignore this anxiety.
Getting through COVID as a couple requires an intentional willingness to avoid unnecessary risks, prioritize safety, discuss compromises, and to analyze one’s own anxieties. As you work with your partner to make it through these trying times, remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
As we continue to face the COVID crisis, self-isolation and sheltering-in-place can cause rifts in our relationships. These unprecedented times are leading to a surge in relationship issues, with many couples faced with pandemic-related stress and anxiety as they try to navigate staying sane, healthy, and keeping their relationship together. Keep the love alive by taking time to pandemic-proof your relationship. Read on for three ways to strengthen your love relationship through this crisis.
1. Listen To Your Needs
The uncertainty of these times puts many of us on edge. This level of stress and anxiety affects our health as well as our relationships. If you’re living with your partner, these feelings can easily take hold and overwhelm both of you. When left unchecked, they may even cause you to lash out at your partner. Safeguard against this type of situation by making sure to listen to your own needs.
If you’re feeling especially stressed or anxious, take time to center yourself, stop what you’re doing, and meditate by paying attention to your breathing. Remember that caring for your needs will allow you to adopt a healthier state of mind, which will help you relate to your partner in a positive way.
2. Carve Out Personal Boundaries
Whether you’re working from home or you’re trying to fill your newfound free time with hobbies, don’t forget how important it is to set boundaries. Couples that usually spend time apart during the day may be overwhelmed having to quarantine with their partner for months on end. With our daily routines awry, it’s essential to set boundaries to protect personal space, both physically and emotionally.
While these boundaries may be difficult to define, this will help you both create a “new normal”.
For example, if you and your partner are working from home, try to section off separate areas that give you both the room you need to work in a quiet space separately. In addition to spending time apart, making time to plan romantic dates together will give both of you something to look forward to as you take time to strengthen your relationship in these confusing times.
3. Always Communicate
Though many couples get accustomed to each other’s behavior, there is no substitute for effective communication. Now more than ever, couples need to be able to share what they’re feeling. Make an effort to verbalize all of your thoughts and fears as we transition through this pandemic. While much is still uncertain about the future, being able to share your concerns and expectations with your partner will help to bring the two of you closer together.
Similarly, if you find that you’re experiencing certain issues with your partner, find a way to communicate them. Letting anger or discomfort fester will only result in a blow-up later on. Finding ways to air your concerns with each other may be uncomfortable at the moment, but it’s a necessary step in navigating the COVID crisis together.
Getting through these challenging times requires proactive thinking, intentional planning, and paying extra attention to your needs and those of your loved one. Pandemic-proof your love relationship with this guide. Take the necessary steps to keep love alive in the midst of this global pandemic.
Have you ever reacted to something that your loved one, a colleague or friend said to you in such a sharp and angry tone that you even surprised yourself? When certain buttons are pushed it can create feelings of anger. In an instant you may find yourself unleashing your emotions as if you were an angry tiger suddenly jolted out of a deep slumber. Such is the difficulty of managing feelings when your instinct to react defensively is triggered.
For some people angry outbursts may be an infrequent occurrence. For others irritability and quick anger occur too often. While the emotion of anger is normal and appropriate in certain situations, when anger gets out of control it creates problems.
The key to managing your emotions including anger; is to be aware of your emotions while allowing wisdom and logic to guide your responses. If you are thinking, “That’s easily said, not easily done.” You are correct, it takes practice but it is indeed possible to gain control of your emotions. Here’s how:
Press The Pause Button
You may have heard the suggestion to count to 10 to help calm yourself. There is something useful about that approach. It allows you a window of time to apply the brakes so you can BREATHE. When you intentionally pause and breathe for a while, it gives your brain and your body a chance to calm down. It allows you to get back in the driver’s seat so that you can think through your next response.
Take A “Big Picture” Perspective
Consider the current situation, how does the reaction you are on the verge of unleashing fit into the bigger picture of your values and your goals? For example if your spouse has just said something irritating and you are now livid, if you explode, does that explosion help or hinder in reaching the goals you have for your relationship?
Use Logic To Guide Your Response
The best way to respond is to acknowledge your emotions while allowing wisdom and logic to guide you. By doing so you will be able to honestly share your feelings in an appropriate way. When you are calm, you are more in control of what you say and how you say it. You are also in a better position to hear the other person in a more objective and compassionate manner.
Sometimes it takes a little while to reach this place of calm. It’s beneficial to allow yourself a time-out. Doing so gives you space and time to get back in control of your feelings. It also allows you the time to refocus your perspective on what is most important in your relationship. It also helps you to avoid getting caught up in petty arguments that in the long run can damage your relationship.
Learning how to manage your reactions when you become upset is challenging, but it is a very important skill that you can master. Pressing pause, looking at the big picture and responding in a logical manner are the steps to achieving this. Undoubtedly it will take time to restrain the natural instinct to lash out defensively. More than likely there will be times when you will fall back into old habits of reacting harshly. This does not mean that you are a failure at this. Just keep working at it. Your relationship is worth it.