Beyond the colossal impact on global healthcare systems and economies, Covid-19 has put unprecedented strain on relationships. Lockdown measures, home working and the furloughing of workers have resulted in couples spending a whole lot more time together than usual.
Add to this a backdrop of anxiety about health and financial stability, and it’s understandable that stress and cabin fever might be taking their toll. In fact, national divorce day – the annual influx of divorce filings that follows the Christmas holiday – was predicted to be the busiest ever in 2021.
Intimacy is often one of the first aspects to suffer in a relationship on the rocks, and studies have shown how crucial intimacy is to our happiness. But, there are a number of different and relatively simple steps that couples can take to reconnect with one another, and ensure a stronger, healthier and more intimate relationship than ever before.
Here are four ways that will help you to promote intimacy in your relationship.
It might sound clichéd, but communication is key in any relationship. The close proximity and increased downtime brought by lockdowns may have presented new challenges for you as a couple, or even have brought longstanding issues to the forefront.
So, if tensions are building for whatever reason, it’s crucial to address them from the outset. The best way to do so is to sit down and talk about things calmly and openly. The alternative is waiting for such issues to reach a boiling point and emerge in the form of a huge, ungracious argument – a situation that’s best avoided.
Fixing long-standing problems and allowing yourself to grow, both as an individual and as a couple, is certainly time well spent.
Just because you and your partner are seeing a lot more of one another, doesn’t mean you’ll be spending more meaningful time together. In fact, the opposite may be true – you might be trying to avoid one another, or not interacting much at all to compensate for the close proximity.
We’re all individuals in need of our own time and space, so this isn’t something you should feel guilty about. However, to ensure your intimate connection remains, it’s important to make dedicated time together where you’re both fully present.
This could be as simple as a shared weekly walk or a daily coffee break if you’re both working at home. Better still, you could always set a date night (or day) where you ditch your usual routines for something a little special.
You could, for example, take it in turns to cook a nice meal or plan some kind of fun activity that you know your partner is bound to enjoy.
A good sex life is important to nearly two-thirds of UK adults, according to a 2016 YouGov poll. In fact, studies have shown that sexual satisfaction influences how happy we are in our relationships, and in our lives in general.
It’s clear then how important intimacy is to a healthy relationship. I’m happily married with two kids, but I know how tough it can be to maintain intimacy in your relationship – particularly with the added stresses of Covid-19.
This challenge led me to launch Pleasy Play – an app that combines with subscription boxes of intimate items, setting fun challenges for couples to help spice up relationships and make it date night (almost) every night.
While the whole experience is based on each couple’s preferences, Pleasy aims to broaden horizons, encourage experimentation, and to help couples discuss and explore intimacy in a relaxed environment.
Trying to reignite that spark in the bedroom is a sure way to bring about a stronger relationship – and certainly the most fun.
It’s common for couples to go through rocky periods and sometimes it can take professional help to get you back to where you ought to be. Many people don’t seek out help due to a perceived stigma surrounding it – but there is no shame at all in doing so.
Counselling for individuals can be incredibly useful for your mental health, giving you an independent source to vent to and help work on the aspects of your life that you might wish to change. For a relationship under strain, couples counselling can be crucial for de-escalating a situation when you’ve found yourselves in a sort of standoff, with neither side able to concede.
A counsellor can help you to see things from each other’s perspective, reflect on your own role in a relationship, and plot a good course forward.As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, it will be some time before we’re able to return to some kind of normality. For couples, these trying times are offering us unprecedented challenges.
So, it’s crucial that we do our best to build and maintain a strong, intimate connection with one another. I hope the ideas I’ve shared help you and your partner to stay intimate during the lockdown, and long after!