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The problem with lockdown is that everything becomes exaggerated. For a lot of single people, this means spending more time alone than usual and more chances to overthink situations or dwell on emotions. Couples that don’t live together, meanwhile, will suddenly find their opportunities to spend time with one another have been disrupted.

But, for couples already living together, going into lockdown poses a different set of challenges. The Coronavirus and the changes it has brought to everyday life has piled stress on to all of our lives, and it is highly likely this will add new stresses and strains, particularly to LGBT relationships. What’s more, all that extra time you are spending with your other half may reveal cracks in your relationship, cracks that may begin turning into crevices. So, what can you do to protect your relationship? How do you know when it is time to call it quits? And how do you navigate a failed relationship when you’re forced to remain under one roof?

Unlocked: Calvin & Drake (Image from GagaOOLala)

Anyone who has gone on holiday with their partner and got into a fight knows that it is hard to stay on perfect terms with your significant other when you are spending every waking minute with them. Cute peculiarities may quickly become annoying habits. Things left unsaid can grow and mutate into bitter resentment. Coronavirus lockdowns also bring new stresses to the relationship, such as concern over the health of yourselves or your loved ones, financial pressures if your work situation has been disrupted. And, you may find yourself both working from home and bringing work stress and pressures into your home.

 (Image from GagaOOLala)

So how to navigate this minefield? According to relationship experts, setting clear boundaries is rule number one. Everyone needs their own personal and physical space. If your home permits, set up individual work areas in separate parts of the home. Different people require different levels of interaction and affection. So, it is important to respect that and allow your partner room to “do their own thing”, whether its reading, playing computer games, or calling up their friends. You might consider making specific time and space plans to structure your days.

(Image from GagaOOLala)

Communication is the key to navigating this and other issues. Make sure you are taking the time to share your feelings, thoughts, fears, ideas, and worries clearly. And of course, make sure you are encouraging your partner to do the same and listening thoroughly. Other golden rules include not sweating the small stuff and remembering to be polite. And don’t forget, even though it may feel like the world has been brought to a standstill, your relationship can still develop. Even at home you can try out new hobbies and interests together. 

If you hit a bump in the road, communication, patience and forgiveness will be tools to overcoming the arguments you might experience. Make sure each person has the space to express their wants and needs clearly, be patient in allowing you and your partner to fully examine and express their feelings. Remain calm, take some time to organize your feelings alone. Go for a walk and write things down.

(Image from GagaOOLala)

Lockdown may bring to the surface foundational differences or irreparable damage to the relationship. Experts speak of a few tell-tale signs that it’s time to really question if a relationship is right for you: You feel that your needs aren’t being met and you no longer want to ask your partner to fulfil them. You are fulfilling your needs elsewhere. You feel scared or obligated to stay with your partner even though you don’t actually like them. 

 (Image from GagaOOLala)

So, if you’re living with an unsuitable partner during lockdown, should you immediately break up with them? Some relationship experts suggest delaying the break-up until post lockdown, if you can. You could also seek online relationship counselling as a way to try to mend the relationship. Obviously, continuing to live in the same apartment and even same bed as an ex is not ideal. But, if you’re sure you want to end it, be tactful, but honest. Be clear in what you want to happen, and why you want it. Don’t be ambigious or give your partner false hope for reuniting in the future. If it helps, most experts believe lockdown breakups were bound to happen anyway, and in fact is merely helping to accelerate the death of already maligned relationships.


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