Quarantining with a partner can often result in some conflict, no matter how stable your relationship usually is. Being together 24/7 can strain any type of relationship when tensions run high. With no real end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, the strength of many couples' relationships has been tested. If quarantine made you realize you want to break up with your partner, this may be a difficult pill to swallow. According to NYC-based relationship expert Susan Winter, it's normal to doubt relationships during tough times, but if the conflict between you and your SO is never-ending, it may be time to call it quits. Here's what to do when you start re-thinking your relationship post-quar.
Make Sure The Problem Is Actually The Relationship
"It's completely normal to start doubting everything during this pandemic," Winter tells Elite Daily. "Life is not 'as we know it,' and it's been a time of mass introspection. Without the ability to get out and do the things that keep us grounded, we've had excessive time to ruminate, and these factors can make us question the validity of our life choices, including romantic." So, before you make any big decisions, it's important to ensure that your relationship is actually in trouble, and not just strained due to forces outside of your control. "It's been tense for everyone who's been cooped up with their mate, but if you're continually bickering and fighting with no conflict resolution, you have a problem."
Despite the fact that everyone is living through extraordinary circumstances that require patience and empathy to successfully navigate, life is always going to consist of ups and downs. That's why it's important to take note of how your partner copes with high-pressure situations and adversity. "Trying times reveal a lot about a person," says Winter. "How well do they cope with anxiety? Does their anxiety prompt fear or aggression? Do they take their anger out on you? The quarantine will reveal much about your partner and whether they're a good long-term match, or not."
Analyze The Frequency And Source Of Your Dissatisfaction
It's typically not a great idea to make big decisions during an abnormally intense time. However, if your doubts are strong enough that you are considering ending the relationship ASAP, Winter suggests analyzing the consistency of your discontent. "While it's true that stressful situations reveal the true nature of your compatibility, the final action you take should be based on consistency," explains Winter. "Was your partner consistently irritable? Did you consistently bicker and fight? Were you consistently unhappy with your mate?" If it's clear that bad interactions far outweighed the good, and you no longer want a future with this person, then the best thing you can do is to be upfront with them.
Communicate Your Concerns Openly
Whether you've made a concrete decision to end things, or you want to wait until life is a little less chaotic to make a change, Winter recommends talking with your partner about what's been going on. "Be honest and direct," she says. "Explain to them that quarantine revealed cracks in the relationship. Give examples of the numerous times that you could not come to a resolution, and you were both miserable." Although it can be scary to talk about possibly ending the relationship, hearing their perspective on it may help you find clarity. "The good news is, they probably don't want to be with you either, as these decisions don't happen in a vacuum." Ultimately, if they still want to work on the relationship, it's important to figure out if it's worth waiting out the storm or not.
"Weighing the final balance of pros and cons will reveal the answer you're seeking," says Winter. Remember, breaking up with someone is never easy. The added coronavirus-related stress and uncertainty only make the situation more complicated. That's why thinking things through and analyzing the relationship as a whole (and not just basing your decision off of quarantine conflict) will help you reach the conclusion that's best for you. In the end, it's OK to give yourself the time and space you need to assess a relationship's viability independent of extenuating circumstances like coronavirus.
Susan Winter, NYC-based relationship expert