New Delhi: Roman, a young professional who was forced into a long-distance relationship due to the unprecedented circumstances posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, says the journey wasn’t easy for him. He, however, maintains that he is happy that this pandemic made him realise the worth of his partner and he is now planning a future with her.

“Earlier we were living in the present moment. But during the past 10 months there was a lot of stress – both in my personal as well as professional life,” says the 26-year-old. “During this crucial time, my partner was very caring and supportive. Now we think of a future together and have a clearer perspective on how we want to go about it.”

Dr Sanjeev P Sahni, Principal Director at Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, says that distances generally attract people. They miss each other and start valuing one another. However, for partners living together in the uncertain and stressful times of COVID-19 has been strenuous. “Every individual requires personal space and the lockdown does not let partners have it. Everyone was getting on each other’s nerves,” says Dr Sahni.

According to him, couples, who were forced to spend much time together under a roof, started finding faults in one another. And the stress of COVID-19 and its related issues, like anxiety related to jobs and pay cuts, the fear of contracting the disease, a complete change in the daily routine and lifestyle, a new set of expectations, uncertainties, led to a surge in cases of breakups and divorces.

However, Dr Seema Hingorrany, a clinical psychologist and relationship and EMDR therapist, shared with us some tips for maintaining a healthy relationship during times of coronavirus. “Coronavirus is a time of anxiety. We need to show high emotional intelligence in these times,” says Hingorrany.

Below are a few tips by Dr Hingorrany on how to keep your relationship strong and healthy during these trying and testing times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Have open communication: Communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Always communicate what you feel. When one is communicating the other person should listen calmly, not react and get defensive.

Be honest: Honesty is integral to have a healthy relationship. Do not assume that your partner will not understand. You both need to be transparent with each other.

Try to meet your partner’s emotional needs: It is vital to meet each other’s emotional needs in a relationship. This has become all the more important during times of coronavirus as people have become more anxious, irritable, vulnerable and sensitive.

Be more patient: Instead of being dismissive of the irritable or the fragile state your partner is in, learn to be patient with them. These are hard times, in which everyone needs to be more empathetic and compassionate.

Spend quality time together: Try to deliberately take out some quality time for one another as spending the whole day together bickering about house chores and finances doesn’t qualify for quality time. Try to go out on walks together or watch a movie together or go out for a dinner date.

Hope these simple and easy to follow tips help you to have a strong and sturdy relationship with your partner.

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