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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Whilst there are benefits to spending more couple and family time together, this prolonged period of isolating ourselves from family, friends and the outside world has potentially put a strain on the happiest of relationships. I have recently read about or heard on the media quite a few examples of people who have realised, due to spending a lot of time together, that their partner gets on their nerves.
This extraordinary set of circumstances has offered the opportunity to scrutinise both ourselves and others in ways that we wouldn’t normally have the time or the chance to do. Is this a blessing or a curse?
For the large majority of us, work, social events, leisure activities and extended family responsibilities can take up some of our time and probably mean that we are away from our home and family for a while. These events take up our time and attention and give us different things to talk about. When couples are spending the very large majority of their time together, under the same roof, it can be that they both run out of topics to talk about and things about their partner that they may have tolerated before lockdown, take on a new significance. Couples can start wondering what they have in common and why they are still together. They might dwell on how much they are irritated by their partner’s idiosyncrasies or habits and be amazed that they have managed to put up with them for so long. Equally, I guess, couples may have used the time to ‘rediscover’ each other, finding more opportunities to talk to each other and develop a range of mutual interests.
Sadly for some, it might have offered the reflection space to realise that they have been unhappy for some time or to become aware that their relationship is not a healthy one, possibly with abusive elements.
In any couple relationship different dynamics exist, couples learn to live with each other by taking different roles or positions, most of which are never discussed. Sometimes one of the couple is’ forced’ into a particular role by their partner’s behaviour, for example a belligerent person may invite their partner to be constantly compliant and submissive, leading to a huge power imbalance in the relationship. Unhealthy dynamics such as these can exist for years, unnoticed by the disempowered party, but with potentially more time on their hands to consider their relationship, they may become more aware of what is going on.
If individuals have put their relationship under the microscope during this crisis, maybe any decision about ending it should not be made in haste. This is an artificial situation, we have been asked to live in a way that very few of us are familiar with and it will probably have taken its toll on all of us. However, chatting to a professional about any decision regarding your relationship can be helpful, sometimes the outsider perspective can bring clarity to a situation.
Please call Brethertons LLP on 01788 557587 to speak to a member of the Family Team or you can email me for emotional support and advice on firstname.lastname@example.org