Emotional intimacy plays a key role in our happiness and mental wellbeing. But the global pandemic is taking an unprecedented toll on relationships. Amid shelter-in-place recommendations, offices aligning with the WFH (work from home) model and events being cancelled, couples are spending more time at home with their partner. The fear and anxiety of a new disease and our vulnerability to it can be overwhelming and a cause for increased stress, says an article published by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Added to this are financial stress and uncertainties around lives returning to normal… even if it is a new normal! Amid this, even couples who love each other can feel lonely, misunderstood, and underappreciated, while longing for emotional connection and physical intimacy, says New York based couples counselor Linda Charnes.
So, here are a few things you can do at home to reconnect with your partner.
Let your partner express their thoughts and feelings, while you try to absorb and reflect on them. Listen attentively, without interrupting the conversation. In the end, consider responding in a constructive manner. While responses like ‘okay’ and ‘alright’ can encourage a person to continue the conversation, these responses become demotivating if that is all you have at the end of the conversation. Being empathetic can help you connect and deal with their stress, anger, and anxiety at this critical time. Make an effort to understand how they feel and create a safe space for them to open up, whenever.
Any task like reading a book together, a long drive, cooking meals or even simply looking at old photographs and reliving memories can help you focus on each other. Life can become monotonous with restrictions and social distancing. So, consider taking up an activity that you both enjoy. You can join an online workshop together. Activities like gardening and exercising together can be quite fulfilling for your relationship.
Turn the Situation Around
There will be times when you feel indifferent or disconnected. And it is easy to blame your partner for this. Instead, create moments that make your partner feel special. When your partner is in a good mood, there is a greater chance of them being attentive to whatever is bothering you. Remind yourself that working towards a common goal can help you achieve a stronger and deeper bond.
Physical intimacy makes us happier, as our body releases endorphins, a natural mood booster, says an article by Healthline. This can strengthen the emotional connection, provided you participate mindfully.
You can also consider seeking professional help from couples counselors. Do not wait till your relationship to hit rock bottom before seeking help. Talking to a professional may help you and your partner resolve underlying issues that you may not even be consciously aware of.