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How Isolation Can Affect Your Relationship

By Sheryl Rentz on August 5, 2020

divorced couple sitting on couch

In normal times, many working couples may only see each other after work, on holidays, and on weekends. Even when brief, these periods may prove invaluable to growing and strengthening a relationship. But, with the effect of the Pennsylvania Stay at Home Order, many couples may have experienced more “togetherness” than they needed or wanted. When both partners are forced to work at home, isolated, and essentially quarantined within the same four walls, the stress can put a strain on the relationship.

The Side-Effects of Quarantine

These are stressful times for nearly everyone. We are facing instabilities and uncertainties that were not present in our lives a few months ago. Adults in Pennsylvania during the pandemic must contend with financial and logistical issues, and many people are experiencing higher levels of anxiety and apprehension about the future.

To add to this that, we have been deprived of many of the activities that help us decompress. Activities such as meeting up with friends for a night out, movies, or attending sporting events are limited or nonexistent. Many people have been laid off, are left with idle time, and must contend with financial insecurities that have only added even more anxiety and stress to the mix.

When two people under unusual stress are confined together in the same location for months on end, tempers can flare, and relationships can unravel. The situation can become even more volatile when there are children at home that need to be supervised and entertained while the adults are trying to work. The stress of self-isolation, combined with all these other factors, has driven some couples to consider divorce.

Weathering the Pandemic Together

Maintaining healthy relationships is vital in making it through these difficult times intact. The same factors that make these times stressful can put a strain on relationships. Keeping the following in mind can help you avoid tension between your partner and yourself or even dispel it when it does arise.

Don’t Stop Communicating

If you are feeling stressed and anxious, talk to your partner about your concerns and how you’re feeling. If you find yourself experiencing uncharacteristically strong emotions in a situation that does not warrant such a strong reaction, be mindful of how you respond and try to explain what you are going through. Focus on “I feel…” statements, as opposed to “You did…to me” comments. In addition, always remember that your partner is not your therapist, and you should avoid lumping all of your stress on top of them. Instead, look into therapists who are available for calls or online to discuss deeper issues that you may have to contend with in isolation, such as anxiety and depression.

Establish a Routine

It can be challenging to set a routine when no one is going to work or school, and most of your activities are within the walls of your home. Nevertheless, it is essential to do so, particularly if you have children at home. If you are working from home, be sure to allow time for play as well as for work. Schedule some time to spend with your partner and some time to spend apart.

Put Disputes on Hold

When stress levels are high and you are confined at home together, it may not be the time to vent about ongoing relationship issues. Dealing with the current situation is enough for the time being. Pick your battles. Some problems may need to take a back seat until you are both back to everyday life.

When All Else Fails

If you are seriously considering a divorce, it can help put your mind at ease to speak with an experienced lawyer. At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., our founding attorney has 25 years of experience working with clients through tough situations. She may be able to advise counseling, mediation, or another option besides a costly, contentious divorce. We offer a free initial consultation, so there is no cost to calling us at (610) 645-0100 to speak to a Montgomery County family law attorney.

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