Updated: Apr 6, 2020
As the fear and panic of being in lockdown has slowly begun to fade away (much like many supplies of alcohol), the reality of what this lockdown may actually mean begins to become a little clearer; the reality that you have been, and will remain confined to a relatively small space, with the same group of people, person, or even yourself for an extended period of time. Some may consider this time as quite daunting and stressful, while others seem to be embracing the opportunity to reconnect and refresh their relationships and lifestyles.
All relationships are likely to be tested during this period, irrespective of how good and solid your relationship is, and so the lockdown may be the factor that makes or breaks (or something in between) your relationships. In anticipation of increasing tensions, a rise in nitpicking, exaggerated sarcasm, heightened frustrations, decreased tolerance, sudden spikes in blood pressure, losses of humour, and the odd moments of “losing one’s shit”, it may be helpful to discuss some general relationship requirements and fundamentals that can help you and your lockdown crew (from solo crews to multigenerational family crews) navigate your ways through this period of constantly being in each other’s space .
All relationships take effort
It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest relationship in the world, all relationships take effort and input from both parties. If not, the relationship will fail (sometimes this can take many years). Relationships are not things that can just be left to grow and mature on their own, rather relationships require constant input, effort and hard work. This can be equated to the hard work and effort that goes into carefully pruning and caring for a Bonsai tree.
Up until this point, we have been able to care for our relationships in relatively comfortable ways. We have been able to find the ways that we can put the necessary effort in in order to maintain them, and possibly grow them. Now, however, things have changed in that our regular daily lives are very different. As such we need to be cognisant of this and make the necessary adjustments in order to adapt to the new daily life. Just because things have changed around us, it does not give us an excuse to stop putting the effort into our relationships. The manner in which we previously did this is going to need to change and it needs to change and adapt sooner rather than later, before the dynamics of stress, worry and fear start to become regular features within your relationship too. In all of the points below you will notice that communication is a critical component, as it has been in every relationship, always.
All relationships require balance
Relationships are able to last because of balance. If relationships are unable to balance out, they will not last. Good relationships rely on open and honest communication and engagement in order to raise concerns and address them. Other relationships that lack effective communication find balance through less effective communication, often in the form of a ‘blow-out’ of sorts. For example, tension in sibling relationships often rise until they reach a tipping point, a fight, argument or ‘blow-out’ takes place, and some time thereafter we will likely see a sense of balance has returned (until the next time). Adult relationships are often not that different. The point is that these situations help the relationship rebalance in order to continue on the path that is was on.
Where balance cannot be regained, the relationship is headed towards its end. During this lockdown period our regular means of regulating the balance of or relationships is likely to be challenged, and so we need to ensure that we are at least aware of this, and that we can strive towards seeking alternative, healthy ways to rebalance when our relationships tip one way or the other. Communicating with those in your various relationships about this can help create the awareness needed to help prevent things tipping over the edge. Talk to one another. You may not have all the answers, but the ongoing communication is a means of helping you seek the answers.
All relationships have space parameters