Couples should work as a team, make plans for the future during coronavirus lockdown, experts say

Couples trying to cope with the coronavirus lockdown should work as a team and make future plans to keep their relationship strong during the crisis, experts have said.

Making use of any additional spare time to build friendship, having realistic expectations and trying to see the best in your partner despite the difficult situation will also help those struggling with the change in circumstances caused by the virus outbreak.

Academics from the University of Exeter working on the Shackleton Relationships Project—backed by high profile divorce lawyer Baroness Shackleton—have developed practical tips people for surviving self-isolating with their partner.

Professor Anne Barlow, who is leading the project, said: “New COVID-19 measures restricting our freedom to go out are bound to put couple relationships under pressure, even when family members are not ill. Yet keeping your closest relationships strong is even more important in a time of crisis.

“Over the past few years our research has shown what helps long-term relationships to thrive and we hope this further advice helps people during this difficult period.”

The experts advise people to:

Dr. Jan Ewing, a member of the project team, said: “People’s lives have changed dramatically in a short period of time, and couples will be trying to cope with this, as well as worries about money and family and friends. As much as it will reinforce how much people depend on and love their partner, being together so much will be new, and difficult for many. We hope our advice will be useful for all those coping with stress, change and illness.”

Experts working on the Shackleton project interviewed ten divorce lawyers/mediators and two judges to ask them the key reasons why relationships fail. They also interviewed 45 couples married for 10 years, or who had separated during this period, and ten other couples in same-sex and opposite-sex relationships, who had been living together, married or in a civil partnership for at least 15 years.

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