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Tips on keeping a healthy relationship during the pandemic

"Any couples that are hearing this right now give yourself some grace and some compassion. This is messy, this is hard,” Babita Spinelli said.

If you feel like your relationship has taken a hit during the pandemic, you are not alone. Whether you've been together for months or years, everything that COVID-19 has brought with it may be taking a toll on your love life.

“I think it’s the pandemic under the pandemic,” Psychotherapist and Relationship Coach Babita Spinelli said.

“Couples are extremely stressed out, they are feeling like they’ve been in a rut with each other as they don’t have the same external stimuli,” Spinelli said.

Love during a pandemic isn't easy, and that's OK, Spinelli says.

"Any couples that are hearing this right now give yourself some grace and some compassion. This is messy, this is hard,” Spinelli added.

She says relationships take constant work, but when you throw a COVID pandemic, job furloughs, and financial struggles into the mix it can get overwhelming.

“What’s happening is all of their anxiety and stressors, maybe even depression, etc. is then becoming a pressure cooker in the relationship and they are really struggling with how to handle it,” Spinelli explained.

And with working from home, couples are given the rare opportunity to spend more time together.

“We've got that too much of a good thing and this is really powerful,” Spinelli said. “And what’s happening in the relationship space, people, even in the best of relationships don't and actually shouldn't spend that much time with each other.”

“It really does lend to unhealthy spaces because everybody needs some breathing room,” Spinelli said.

She says carve out some time for yourself, even if that means going into another room and watching your favorite show.

"The more you can find the balance and recognize the joys that you need as an individual the more you can circle back to the relationship with a bit of recharge,” Spinelli said.

She has a few other tips to share to help keep love alive during this pandemic.

"I think the first one is really sitting with resetting your expectations. So, it goes back to that place of showing yourself some empathy about the relationship and not being too hard on the relationship,” Spinelli said.

And with much stress, she says communicate communicate communicate.

“Reset also what might be your self-care plan and talk about it with each other proactively and just support that person,” Spinelli said.

Another tip: small gestures. 

“Small gestures are really meaningful right now, where people used to have a lot more like date nights,” Spinelli said. “So those small gestures, even a little text message to your partner, saying have a great day goes a long way right now.”

She also suggests checking in with each other, setting boundaries and being sure to look for the positives.

“Sometimes it’s also nice to recognize the gems that are coming up in the relationship even when it feels like things feel really hard,” Spinelli said. 

Spinelli says it does take some work, but just take one small, but mighty, step at a time.

“Just show yourself some self-compassion, you are not in a bad unhealthy relationship,” Spinelli explained. “There’s a lot that’s happening and if anything, just try and take this as an opportunity to say it’s a little messy, we are going to be OK, it can and will get better.”

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