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Lockdown is stressful enough as it is. Figuring out finances, homeschooling, wondering about job security, cooking, cleaning, being a mom and now you can add maintaining a relationship to the list.

Romantic relationships are often the first to suffer when things get tough. You start to get snappy and unsurprisingly, irritability is one of the most common lockdown relationship complaints.

Like any relationship, you didn’t sign up for spending time with them around the clock. You probably see each other in the morning, go to work, come back and share the evening together. Weekends are also spent together but you also visit friends. And now? It’s all the time. So yes your significant other is probably getting on your nerves. Here’s how to fix that.

Give each other some space

Even if you don’t have an East wing of the house, this can be as easy as one person relaxing in the tub, the other watching TV, reading in bed or sitting outside. Time apart will not only make the heart grow fonder but will actually make you a better person.

lockdown relationship issue - spend time apart

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Time alone can help with empathy, productivity, creativity and helps build mental strength. According to Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, as little as 10 minutes a day to be alone with your thoughts can help.

Set up a routine for your new normal

By now it’s apparent that your old routine is a thing of the past. But a daily routine can actually help you feel more in control, can help you cope with change and reduce stress levels. Even if you are just trying to get through the day, a simple routine can help. And no, we don’t mean creating a schedule where every 15 minutes has a task allocated.

lockdown relationship issue - create a new routine

When you both know what is expected, then you can prepare yourself emotionally. This may be as small as waking up and making coffee, going for a walk together and then starting work. You could decide to work in different areas of the house and have regular coffee breaks. Try to keep mealtimes the same and have a bedtime routine. Make sure you also schedule in some time apart.

Here are some more tips from relationship therapist and clinical sexologist, Leandie Buys on how to deal with going back to work during lockdown. 

Have realistic expectations

Give yourself and your partner a break. Dirty dishes in the sink? The trash hasn’t been taken out yet? In the greater scheme of things, these aren’t such a big deal. While they may be important if the dishes are washed tomorrow morning because you or your partner feel overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a break and watch Netflix instead. It’s important to not judge yourself or your partner, and this includes criticism.

Any issues that you had before are likely to be put under the magnifying glass

Spending this much time together was never part of the plan but it has become the reality. Take note that any issues you have before are likely to be put under a magnifying glass. Things that you didn’t notice before or thought were quirky can now make you see red. Remember this if you seem to be arguing or disagreeing all the time. These issues are important to work out, but know that lockdown could make these much worse.

lockdown relationship issue - existing issues will be magnified

While you may be irritated with your significant other, remember that this is also an opportunity to learn more about each other and strengthen your relationship.

Here are more funny memes that you’ll relate to if you’re part of a couple during the lockdown. 

Watch this video for more info on how to cope with being irritated by your partner