Relationship Counseling

The Banyan Group understands the stress a pandemic introduces and wants to help

It is no exaggeration to say 2020 has been a year for the books. The whole world seems to be riding a yoyo of intermittent quarantines followed by limited, cautious freedom, then rinse and repeat. There is no telling when we will feel comfortable socializing in a group once more, or even shaking hands or hugging friends and our elderly relatives. And that does not even scratch the surface in terms of how this “new normal” impacts our relationships.

The smartest and most obvious solution to avoiding the current chaos is to stay at home as much as possible, but that is not nearly as easy as it sounds…especially when living with a significant other or a family member or just about anyone really. Every year before now, one or both of you would have left the house for work or outside interests several times each week. Now you can spend the majority of time together, day-in and day-out, and *that* can be enormously challenging for any relationship to navigate.

If you are wearing a mask and social distancing, you know the basic requirements for protecting yourself from the coronavirus. The Banyan Group of Palm Beach County has the following four suggestions on how to protect your relationship from the perils of constant contact:

Communicate Openly about Expectations

If everyone is being honest, most people were a little excited to be working from home when the idea of quarantine first became a thing. Some enjoyed the prospect of freedom from work attire, some preferred to work alone even if it meant their significant other was there too, and some *really* thought the idea of working side-by-side with their partner every day was going to be nothing short of amazing! Then reality set in. There can be many benefits to this arrangement, but the longer it seems to be lasting the more tensions are becoming harder to keep at bay. It is possible you are at very different places in terms of daily interactions. Have a direct conversation with your partner to learn for certain whether or not you are both on the same page. And that discussion can then lead to boundaries.

Does Everyone Know Where All the Lines Are?

Consider that while things may be ok for one of you under these circumstances, the same may also not be true for the other. Does everyone have the workspace they prefer? Are there times when breaks and casual conversation is ok, and times when it absolutely is not? If there are kids, are the responsibilities divided up fairly and are *those* expectations being adhered to? These conversations are recommended for couples regardless of such outside influencers as a virus, but they should be actively taken into consideration when times are as trying as they have been this year. Of course, most vital is the implementation.

When Time Alone Is Good for Both of You

Without being cynical, having to be the person someone else expects us to be all the time can be exhausting.  That is not to say we should not be ourselves with our partners, but we should keep this to one counseling topic at a time. The point is, whether it might be taking a walk or a long shower, that time alone, having the opportunity to check in with yourself consciously and emotionally, can be critical to your mental health. If your living situation accommodates being in separate rooms while working from home, you might have a better chance of simulating the “coming home at the end of the day” catch up, making your time together feel more fresh. If that’s not a viable solution for your living space, literally schedule time to be in your own headspace and have your own experiences, if just for a little while. But then don’t forget to…

Check-in

Checking in can be helpful for couples no matter what else is happening in the world. This forced time at home makes it even more vital to the health of your relationship. Talk about your emotional well-being, about how the boundaries and expectations are working for everyone, or what might not be working, and what you both can still do to make this the best possible experience for one another.

If the current state of the world and its impact on your home requires additional attention over the steps laid out above, the therapists and counselors at The Banyan Group offer all manner of family therapy to help cope. From Palm Beach Gardens to Boca Raton, we have five offices to serve you county-wide. Call our main office at 561-967-2566 or contact us here for a complimentary consultation.