A local relationship counsellor has shared his suggestions for navigating fraught relationships through the pandemic.
Wayne Le Cuirot, who works for charity Relate Jersey, explains that the health crisis has created new challenges for everyone - but recognising that we are in a difficult situation with no easy solution may be a good first step...
"Ironies are something that I’m often encountering.
These days when many people need charities the most, they may be finding it difficult to access them. Due to the isolation measures introduced by the government earlier this month, we at Relate Jersey could no longer see clients for face-to-face relationship counselling, instead having to replace them with Zoom consultations online.
Pictured: "For many people stuck within four increasingly enclosing walls there will be added stresses."
For many people stuck within four increasingly enclosing walls, there will be added stresses. Our futures are all 'on hold' at the moment, and, with all nations attempting to find an effective exit strategy without risking a second wave, then this real sense of loss could increase.
So what can be done to alleviate this situation?
That all our situations are different goes without saying. Those with small families and large gardens are likely to face less pressure than those that have the opposite.
Recognising we are in a difficult situation with no easy solutions may be a good first step and we need to be able to communicate with each other perhaps at a deeper level than we would normally do.
Pictured: Wayne Le Cuirot, a qualified relationship counsellor with relationships and sex counselling charity Relate Jersey.
We not only need to see each other's strengths and weaknesses, but must realise we are to each going to handle this in our own ways. Like all issues thrown our way, we are all going to see things differently. This is inevitable, as we all come from different environments, and our storylines are complex and unique to ourselves. It is not possible or even desirable for us to see things the same, as this would create a very one-dimensional world.
We need to keep this in mind and not make assumptions about how each other is feeling for we are all living in a new experience. Realising we cope differently can help us maintain a clear and open dialogue with each other, keeping assumptions out of the equation and avoiding false expectations and resentments.
We must remember there is nothing wrong with feeling vulnerable and anxious. These are perfectly natural emotions to be experiencing in these times and it is the support you receive from your partner that is the mainstay for keeping a relationship strong.
But don’t make things hard for yourselves.
Give yourselves time and space, and if you are feeling tense then own it and be specific, while not playing the blame game. If as a couple you had ongoing issues before the virus arrived, then this may not be the best of times to vent. Instead, perhaps park them and prioritise which battles need to be fought at the moment.
Pictured: "We must remember there is nothing wrong with feeling vulnerable and anxious."
We need to think positively. We may not know how long this situation will last but we can look at it as a challenge, an opportunity to show off our capacity to be wise, thoughtful and kind. We could use the extra time we have to organise new ways of doing things with each other.
Make the most of this chance and organise things to do together. Realise that fun and laughter are the best remedies for improving our moods, not forgetting that exercise will warn off the stress hormone cortisol while releasing endorphins which will give us an immediate buzz.
I’m amazed at the amount of people going past on their bikes which has inspired me to get mine out of the garage - though getting rid of its rust seems to have been the largest source of exercise..."