For many, lockdown has been a period of introspection. A time for everyone to take a long hard look at their lives and relationships to see where connections need attention. A time for pattern breaking, for ending the repetitive, subconscious stories that have been triggering unhealthy life and relationship behaviours for most of their adult lives. As the world is being forced to break old systems and find new ways forward, so too are you being asked to do the very same thing at a far more personal level.
As lockdown has eased, we've all been tentative about re-entry to life, not knowing what to expect. There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the virus, businesses, the economy and schooling. But one common trend we have seen in other countries post lockdown has been an increase in divorce rates. This is the result of 'imposed contact syndrome.' Forced to be in constant contact with another person for an unknown length of time with no break. That kind of pressure is bound to highlight all those things that haven’t been working in your relationship.
What happened in your relationship during lockdown?
Did it carry on as always with no glitches or was it a time of fighting and arguing with your partner?
Were you kind and compassionate with each other or did you both nitpick over the little things?
Did you have patience when it came to those annoying little habits or did your reactive nature get the better of you?
Did you find new, creative ways to grow and evolve in your relationship or did you allow monotony, boredom and repetition to create a rift between you?
Did you respect each other's boundaries or did you get irritated and snappy over a lack of space or privacy?
Did your intimacy improve or was sexual distancing the theme of your lockdown relationship?
Did you work on your communication skills and have important conversations or did you keep brushing all that unsaid stuff under the carpet?
The success of any relationship comes down to the conscious participation each person is willing to bring to the table. Working on your relationship is about finding resilience to weather the storms, experiencing growth by overcoming hardships and feeling what it's like to evolve to a deeper, more profound connection together. Coming out of lockdown is going to require your attention and awareness of how to do the work to keep your relationship thriving past the pandemic.
You've both endured deep stress and anxiety through this global trauma, just like everyone else. But please don't use that as the excuse you use to end your relationship. Now, more than ever, you have to be willing to practice patience, compassion and kindness. Trauma can bring out the worst in human nature so please ensure that you are not attacking, gaslighting or competing against your partner. If you want your relationship to survive, then you have to stop complaining and moaning about things that are beyond your control and find a way through this together. Coming out of lockdown, it's important to be very awake and aware that you don't slip into the same unconscious behaviours that already weren't working for you both before the pandemic arrived. Daily and weekly routines and rituals are the key to maintaining a strong, workable connection with yourself and your partner.
What outdated thoughts and behaviours need to be let go of?
What unworkable communication styled need to stop?
What hidden agenda needs to be brought into the light to be seen and dissolved?
The work we are all being called to do right now is the dismantling of what no longer works and what no longer serves us. You are being presented with the opportunity to liberate yourself from the constricting beliefs and behaviours of your past and step into a new space with yourself and your partner where a different, thriving relationship can manifest.
Here are some questions to explore as you create a new way forward for your relationship post lockdown. Remember, it starts with you first...
What does not work for you about your own behaviours in your relationship?
What beliefs are you holding onto about relationship no longer serve you?
What thoughts, actions and ways of speaking are you willing to shift moving forward?
What do you want less of?
What do you want more of?
Who do you want to be in this relationship? How do you want to experience yourself and how do you want to be seen?
What support can you give your partner every day? How can you show up?
How can your communication be better?
How do you want to handle money in your relationship?
What personal growth journeys are you committing to for yourself?
What are you doing with your own career?
What does self care look like for you and how often are you practicing it?
Once you have those answers, and your partner has theirs, then you can come together to create an intentional relationship built around conscious connection and communication.