Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Relationships get mashed up by Covid

Lockdown is forcing many people to look at their marital status. Those who are single are realising that being alone can be really tough and after this is over they’ll make a special effort to find an intimate partner. Those in relationships are realising that much as they love their partners, there can be such a thing as too much of a good thing. Whether you live with or without someone, in lockdown our marital status comes under a spotlight and the pros and cons of both exaggerated. 

There is no easy answer to this of course. To act dramatically would be a potentially catastrophic short term solution to a long term problem, so I would urge the singletons out there not to rush out and jump into a relationship (online initially, of course) and for the long-term partners, don’t do anything rash in the heat of the moment

The advice to take a few deep breaths and try and see things in perspective will naturally fall on deaf ears. Yet it is exactly what we need to do.   

Singletons can have a lot of fun with online dating, if you don’t let your instinct to be in a relationship overwhelm you. It’s natural to want to share ones life with a significant other, but online flirting can quickly get out of hand.  Before you know it, someone who you only ‘met’ last week is someone clearly destined to be with you, is the most attractive person you’ve ever met and your best friend who you can share all your deepest thoughts and dreams with.  That’s because we really do have an instinct to pair up, and when you’ve been starved of that for a while its easy to be drawn very quickly into something that feels good.

And those in partnerships are probably discovering previously hidden depths to their loved ones. Whereas previously one or both went to work, both are now working from home which often a small space getting smaller every day. Familiarity makes people contemptuous, and given that romance needs surprise in order to thrive it can be very hard, if not impossible, to keep the relationship alluring and exciting.

In all seriousness, both these situations are real and painful.  For the singletons their single status is never more clear and often feels sad. Apart from those rare individuals who truly thrive in a solitary life, lockdown will be emphasising more than ever before their struggle with being single and their desire for a partner. For those in a relationship, the feelings of dislike and irritation can just seem to be getting worse and worse. Clearly both cohorts would benefit from seeing a therapist or counsellor. But while singletons can often get online sessions with a therapist, it’s harder to begin working online with a couple and they are frequently being told that they need to wait until lockdown is over before starting the work with a therapist.

A therapist won’t give you any easy silver bullets to help you feel calmer and able to tolerate the personal thoughts and difficulties made sharper by the lockdown, but they will be able to help you to understand yourself better so you can understand your deeper feelings. Armed with this self-knowledge, clients are better equipped to understand why they are being triggered by isolation and lockdown and what they need to do to choose the best way to respond and act over the coming days and weeks.

And whether you are a single parent or married with kids, the little darlings only seem to exacerbate the feelings of isolation and/or overwhelm linked with Covid lockdown. Rarely are they a source of joy when you’re not allowed to leave your house or see relatives or friends.

Annie Gurton is a mature Couples Counsellor and Individual Psychotherapist located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. She is fully registered and insured, and has been helping people to thrive for many years. Contact her through her website