Lockdown: Your Relationship Survival Guide

A family are sitting together, sharing a space on a pink sofa in their home

Learning to live with lockdown

Our friendships and relationships are what’s going to get us through this corona mess. But they’re also being put to the test, in a big way. Being shacked up with your parents/ partner/ flatmates 24/7 can be challenging to say the least. And then there are all the people we really want to see, but can’t.

Whether you’re struggling to maintain harmony at home or you’re worried your relationship is fizzling out because you’re unable to see each other, we’ve got you covered with this survival guide.

Keeping the peace at home 

Being quarantined for weeks on end is weird and intense, and it’s putting a massive strain on relationships. Some people have noticed they’re arguing more than usual or are more easily irritated. There’s no surprise really, but fortunately, there are things you can do to help keep the peace.

Things that apply to every co-living household:

  • Create a cosy, private nook for yourself. This will probably be your bedroom but it might also be a corner of the living room or a chair in the garden. Keep it tidy and looking nice and it should feel like a nice space to escape to when you need some me-time.
  • Give each other space. Respect that your Mum might want a bath in peace or your partner might want a private chat with their mates. Just because you’re quarantined together doesn’t mean you have to spend every minute of every day with each other.
  • Do nice things for each other. Make dinner for your housemate, help your sibling with their homework, offer your Dad a helping hand with his new potato growing project. Remember, kindness breeds kindness.
  • Talk about how you’re feeling. Feeling anxious? Worried? Upset? Try telling the people you live with. This should help you to feel better and may bring you closer together.
  • Nip conflict in the bud. If you can see a potential conflict brewing, try opening a conversation earlier rather than later. Bring it up in a calm, sensitive way and this should help to stop the conflict escalating.
  • Normalise the bickering. It’s normal to get on each other’s nerves when you’re together 24/7. Try to remember this rather than reading into it. Arguing more doesn’t necessarily spell the end of your relationship or friendship.

Extra tips for…

Living with family:  

  • Have a rota for jobs around the house. If people have set days for cooking or cleaning, there’s less room for arguing about whose turn it is.
  • Enjoy your time together. It’s not all going to be roses, but try to see this as an opportunity to spend some QT with your family.

Living with housemates:

  • Remain social. If you’re feeling low or anxious it can feel easier to hide away in your room. But try doing things together like cooking, eating together, doing exercise videos, going out for your daily walk. This could be an opportunity to really bond.
  • Let things go. If you find yourself getting irrationally pissed off with your housemate for the way they eat their cereal, try to remember it is just that – irrational. It’s normal to feel irritated by silly things, but try keeping it to yourself.

Living with a partner: 

  • Have date night. Don’t let lockdown squeeze the romance out of your relationship – get yourself dressed up, cook up a storm and share a different kind of date night.
  • Squeeze in some me-time. Time by yourself is so important for your relationship. Go for your daily exercise by yourself, talk to your mates, basically don’t morph into each other.
  • Have more sex. Sex is a great way to pass time and if there was ever a time to focus on your sex life, it’s now. Use this time to talk to your partner about what you like, and get practising.

How to care for relationships when isolating separately

So on the flipside, are those relationships struggling because of people having to isolate separately. You might be missing your partner like crazy or worried what this will do to your friendships. So what can you do to keep those relationships alive?

I’m missing my partner…  

This is a really tough time for couples who are separated, there’s no doubt about it. Try treating this time apart like a long-distance relationship and remember it won’t last forever. Video call regularly, or keep the romance alive by sending letters. And remember, if your relationship can survive this challenge, that’s a really good sign!

What does this mean for my friendships? 

The key thing to remember during all this is that everyone is in the same boat. FOMO basically doesn’t exist, because you can guarantee all your mates are at home too. Missing your friends is horrible but try to focus on how great it will be when you can hang out again. Keep in touch regularly using social media and schedule phone calls and Zoom chats. You can get creative about video calls and write a quiz for your friends, do a skill swap (like painting or playing an instrument), or even have a karaoke session. And of course, arrange a massive party for when this is all over.

I’m struggling to deal with my living situation…

If you’re finding things really tough at home, for whatever reason, you’re not alone! So many people will be going through the same thing as you and The Mix are here to help. If you want to talk it through then get in touch with our free and confidential support services, who will listen and point you to the best advice.

Read our article on how to deal with corona-anxiety and our top 10 fun things to do to pass the time during lockdown.

Use our relationship tool to understand your relationship dynamic, and what you can do if it’s not as healthy as it should be.

Next Steps

  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • AnxietyUK run helplines, email support, live chats and therapy services for people with anxiety disorders. 08444 775 774
  • Mind offers advice and support to people with mental health problems. Their helpline runs nine to six from Monday to Friday. 0300 123 3393
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Olivia Capadose

Updated on 23-Apr-2020