With most people are spending months in home confinement, couples are facing a scinario probably none ever occured before: Being in each other’s ways all day, every day—with no clear end in sight.
Psychologocal experts say the new closeness is likely playing out in many ways: Some couples will find they enjoy the extra time with each other; others shall be counting the days till they can be with a human other than their beloved.
On the far end of the spectrum, the worst consequences of home confinement are already manifesting: The United Nations has reported a sharp spike in domestic violence around the world.
Many couples, although, will face issues that don’t escalate to that severity—but are not minor, either.
The pandemic has ushered in a tide of new stresses, from the well-being threat itself to job and income losses. At the same time, many of the ordinary coping strategies have evaporated, too, said Katherine Hertlein, a professor of the couple and family therapy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
One general area of contention for companions can be defining their new “roles.” It could get especially thorny if they’ve children and now must be teachers, principal, nurse, chef, and maintenance crew, Hertlein stated.
For many couples, lack of work may be an issue. Aimless days devoid of routine can keep partners up for trouble, according to Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz, both are psychiatrists at MGH/McLean Hospital, in Boston.