Susan forced herself out of bed. She was exhausted from another sleepless night due to a fight with John about her lack of desire. John was a decent guy, and a good father, but often nights ended up with him storming out of the bedroom and blaming her. When they were both leaving the house at least the tension subsided, but now they were often trapped in it.
John was achy. He had slept on the couch again and felt guilty and like a jerk for getting mad at Susan. He loved her but the lack of intimacy had caused his sense of self to plummet. He had started working out, eating healthy and helping around the house more. He missed his days at work, at least he got some positive attention there. Working from home made him more irritable than ever.
They had tried talking about it, but the conversations often got interrupted. The needs of their two children, 4 and 7 seemed endless. The kids were great but they were getting very antsy. Their mutual efforts not to take out the worry and frustration on the kids resulted on them directing it to each other.
Covid19 has taken away the coping strategies most of us used to make life more interesting and fulfilling. Relationship disappointments could be averted by healthy other sources of joy. Spending time with friends, family, travel, the arts and entertainment could transport us away from negative feelings. However, Covid19 also provides an opportunity for couples to work on their relationship issues and grow. Some ideas of how to do so follow.
The most important thing a couple can do is to stop blaming each other for their own unhappiness. The cycle of blame only leads to more anger and withdrawal. Try to remember what attracted and connected you to each other in the beginning. Try not to have conversations with friends who reinforce negative thinking. Research has indicated that talking during walks tends to ease the situation. Learn how to focus on what you need to change to be happier not what your partner does that infuriates you. Try to spend some time willing to take small steps at affection and laughter. Think in the here and now and not ruminate about the past. The goal is to help each of you feel better and feel success about your relationship.
If you still remain stuck, seeing a professional can be helpful. A therapist can help you see things in a way you haven’t .This can lead the way to editing your life story as a couple to an invigorated and happier one.