Love in the Time of COVID-19

Romance can lose its sense of excitement over time. But what happens when even your arguments fall into a rut?

As our professional and social lives continue to suffer from the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, our home lives have become more complicated. Our romantic partners provide shelter from the world, but they can also become scapegoats for other things that are bothering us. In Wuhan, China, the pandemic’s first epicenter, the divorce rate has doubled over the last few months. Among the other precautions you’re taking right now, you need to protect your relationship.

Psychologist Sue Johnson has a piece of advice for couples who have found themselves arguing more lately: avoid falling into a cycle of recrimination and blame. If you can recognize that your arguments follow familiar patterns, you can break the negative feedback loop.

When a couple engages in a dead-end argument, each partner tends to adopt one of two strategies. One is to become combative and demanding. The other response is to disengage emotionally or to physically exit the situation. One person may feel angry, sad, or fearful, while the other person feels depressed, inadequate, or numb. And these opposing positions become more entrenched over time.

If you want to improve your relationship, try working together to solve the problem at hand instead of retreating into an automatic response. Find more ways to keep the peace with our Instaread on Hold Me Tight.

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