Australian singles have been doing it tough during lockdown. We’ve heard all about the struggles of walking dates (which allegedly make what might otherwise be star crossed lovers ‘friendzone’ each other) and the toughness of being alone in a room, with no one to see, pouring your heart and soul into sourdough tutorials.
It’s enough to make anyone bitter.
if you’re living with your partner during lockdown I would like you to know that I actively hate you
— Georgia (@georgiamariexo) April 27, 2020
But before you look at your coupled up friends and sigh with jealousy, hold on a second. Living with your partner during lockdown isn’t a cakewalk either, Heidi Gee, sex therapist and couple’s counsellor told DMARGE.
In fact, she said, even though it might look like your friends in relationships have the perfect ‘2021 set-up’, social media could be hiding a much tougher reality – the pressure cooker of inmate life.
“I see a lot of couples. Mental health and communication has been a struggle for a lot of my clients and a lot [are] craving that human interaction.”
“It really puts things to the test – hey we’ve had communication issues and now it’s right in front of us.”
She says there have been “intimacy issues as well… sex issues.”
“These things are in the forefront now and I’m finding that a lot of my clients are struggling with this.”
Stats from across the world show we’re not alone.
1 in 8 Britons living with a partner in lockdown has experienced doubts over their relationship and 60% of adults are reconsidering plans to have a child.
There are reports saying we’re heading for a divorce ‘tsunami’. The real story is more complicatedhttps://t.co/UT0xdtXT5U
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) July 12, 2020
It’s taken a lockdown living with my partner to realise that I’m completely unbearable in the kitchen. Total control freak. Appalling backseat cook.
If anything ends this relationship, it’ll be me jabbing at an otherwise happily bubbling sauce with a spoon.
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) April 16, 2020
Heidi tells us couples are now having to figure out: “how do we do date nights and quality time when we’re living under the same roof and both working from home” as well as “how to have those [deeper] conversations – that’s a big problem.”
Heidi recommends, if you are living with your partner during lockdown, to try a few different strategies to keep the magic alive.
One strategy is to have a routine. The other is to have some separation.
If one person is working in the spare room, then have the other work in the dining room, Heidi gives as an example. Then meet up and “have a lunch break at this time.”
“Have time apart. Go for walks on your own (or together if that’s what you want). Talk about how you can be creative and spend quality time together – not just Netflix.”
“Connect – see it as a challenge – plan things you want to do after lockdown.”
She also invited couples to “Ask what you want from your relationship and how to make that happen.”
“Make that time together special not just existing – try connecting and sharing energy and supporting each other because it’s f***ing hard.”
Fortunately, also, all you need to do is look around all over the world to see that we’re not alone. People everywhere have been struggling with being put in lockdown with their partners.
‘When you’ve got nothing but each other’s company, it’s like eating nothing but chocolate mousse!’
Vanessa offers her unique advice to anyone struggling living with their partner during lockdown.
— This Morning (@thismorning) April 12, 2020
That’s not to say it’s all bad though. As Twitter attests, sometimes everything comes up smelling of roses (or charcuterie and champagne).
Toasting to a whole year of living with my partner. Mostly spent in lockdown, both WFH full time, and we still like each other – I’d say we have a good thing going on 🥂 pic.twitter.com/qJuwHIGvgp
— Emma-Louise Hill (@hillemmalouise) July 1, 2021
You heard it here first. Now put Netflix on pause and go cook up a feast. Or go for a walk – on your own…