May 25, 2020
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Why Lockdown Could Mean Make Or Break For Your Relationship
Lockdown has made many of us reassess life and make revised plans for the future. But what happens if your new outlook is different from your partner’s? 
This unprecedented period of living in each other’s pockets – or conducting a relationship through a screen – could mean make or break for many couples, according to relationship therapists. 
“There will be more weddings as well as more divorces when the world around us slowly gets back to normal,” predicts Lucy Fuller, a psychotherapist who offers couples therapy. Related... 7 Warning Signs You're Not Being The Best Lockdown Partner Some couples may be enjoying increased intimacy, says Fuller, finding themselves in a “lockdown love bubble”. 
“If people have decided to be in lockdown together when they usually live separately, this may well have accelerated the relationship and many couples will be moving permanently in together with confidence, without the more normal period of weighing up the advantages and disadvantages,” she says. 
Equally, if you and your partner realise you have very similar outlooks during lockdown and feel like a united team who can support one another through hard times, it could be the making of the relationship. 
However, the experience may be the opposite for others. In fact, a recent poll from Relate found 23% of UK adults in relationships are experiencing relationship pressures during lockdown.
Relate counsellor Dee Holmes says the pandemic has given many people the time to re-evaluate life – including their relationships. “Some have realised they want a simpler life and appreciate the smaller things more,” she says. “Some partners may be reassessing things and find their partners reassess life differently.” READ MORE: I Fell In Love With My Landlady's Son. Now We're All In Lockdown Together Little “niggles” present in the relationship pre-lockdown will have also been magnified due to the intensity of the situation. “There has been no escape and no Friends and family to dilute the intensity of the relationship, so inevitably the less favourable aspects of your partner will shine through,” says Fuller.  
The lockdown rules themselves may have caused arguments among couples – or highlighted differences you didn’t know existed. Fuller spoke to one pair who have decided to go their separate ways once lockdown is over due to their different views on social distancing. One person in the relationship was happy to don a mask, confidently go to the shops and carry on with life, while the other was anxious about catching the virus and leaving the house. 
“Digging deeper, there is a partnership here of a very outgoing confident person who wants to go out, explore and experience the strangeness of lockdown, with an extremely cautious partner who wants to hide away from the dangerous world outside,” she says. “Reflecting on this at a deeper level, it’s inevitable to have thoughts about whether this really is the long-term partner for you.”Related... Am I Making You Uncomfortable? We Need To Talk About Nipples Relationship therapists see a peak in calls after the Christmas holidays when families have been cooped up together, says Holmes – and she’s expecting to see the same peak as lockdown lifts. 
But, she adds, if you’re considering splitting up or even starting divorce proceedings, “hold fire” and let the dust settle post-lockdown, if you can. 
“There’s a lot of external pressures on couples such as money worries, concerns about Job security and fear around catching the virus,” she says. “Then, of course, there’s having to stay at home with your partner for longer periods than usual.
“If you have a relationship where you like your separate time, this may come as a shock, but when lockdown lifts and you spend more time apart again, you may find the relationship works better.”READ MORE: Lockdown Has Forced Me To Confront The Link Between Sex And My Self-Worth If you’re having a lot of arguments, Holmes recommends calling a “lockdown truce” to ease some of the tensions. Relationship therapy is still available via online sessions, she adds, and you might want to consider seeking support before the relationship reaches crisis point. 
Wherever you sit on the scale – make, break, or somewhere in between – it can feel empowering to recognise that lockdown has provided a new perspective on your relationship. That can only be a good thing. 
“There’s almost always something to learn about your relationship from being in lockdown,” says Fuller. “It’s not necessarily positive or negative, but just a bit more about how you both work and what each of you need and give within the relationship.”READ MORE: How Weddings Are Predicted To Look In A Socially-Distanced World 7 Essential Pieces Of Relationship Advice For Couples In Quarantine Why We Crave Human Touch – And How To Survive Without It
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