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How to connect with your partner this Valentine’s Day

How to connect with your partner this Valentine’s Day

Many moms are finding it difficult if not impossible to connect with their partners during this pandemic. With the stress of work, kids and decreased activities it’s been really tough on a lot of relationships. 

We spoke to Edel Walsh, a relationship counsellor from Love Done Well Counselling INC. in Vancouver to get her expert advice on how to connect with your partner this Valentine’s Day. 

What we notice is that couples are in survival mode and reacting to situations in a fight, flight or freeze mode; ways of being that were developed in the nervous system to deal with true life-threatening situations,” Walsh said. “In normal times, things that they could more easily deal with on a daily basis, add up now in pandemic times, and become bigger issues that are starting to stress the relationship bond.

~ Edel Walsh

Changes due to the pandemic have hugely impacted relationships 

“The pandemic has truly affected a lot of relationships in the past year particularly for couples where they must work from home or if they have children without childcare. And many families are dealing with job loss or reduced hours,” she said. “This can be compounded of course if they have elderly parents that they are trying to care for who may live in a different home and they can’t see, touch or spend quality time with.”

It’s been very hard on many new parents

“Then there are the couples with new babies who cannot meet family and friends and so lack the support of the ‘village’ so helpful after a new baby arrives. Anything that affects the security of finances, home and family hits hard at individual foundations, and can leave individuals and couples feeling unsafe and insecure.”

Tips to connect with your partner this Valentine’s Day

(Edel Walsh, Love Done Well Counselling INC. Relationship Counselling for Couples and Singles)

Work as a team to get tasks done 

“When one partner feels supported by the other, when they take turns doing the harder things and when they notice the other is not doing well – all of these actions help to preserve the bond and protect the relationship from too much stress.”

Do less, be more 

“By ‘do less, be more’ I mean being versus doing. Meditating or doing mindful breathing together is a great way for partners to support each other and their own nervous systems to stay calm and grounded so that they can take care of themselves and each other when stress spikes. Doing it as a family with children is also very helpful.”

Walk together in nature

“Getting outdoors in nature for walks hand-in-hand is really helpful. It is often easier and less intense to talk about issues that are coming up in relationship, if they walk side by side, holding hands outdoors. Being outside helps to regulate behaviours that could otherwise escalate indoors – we tend to behave better when others might observe us! Being outdoors in nature helps us to feel grounded – we see things, smell things, feel things – we remember that our world is bigger than the current difficulties and struggles we are having in our relationships.”

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Hold hands 

“Holding hands reminds us of our dating times and how good it felt to make physical contact with our loved one. This helps the nervous system to calm and settle, remembering that this was a good time in the relationship and things felt safer then. Feeling safe is a prerequisite for connection.”

Make time for difficult conversations 

“Set aside a time each week for serious talks. Decide who will go first to share their feelings and the other agrees to just listen and acknowledge the other’s feelings. Take turns being the speaker and listener, with no attacking or blame. Use “I” statements versus accusation and criticism. Don’t fall into a ‘conversation’ or ‘discussion.’ Don’t try to solve the issue – just share thoughts and especially feelings about it. Offer empathy to show you really hear and ‘get’ the other person’s experience.” 

“It is helpful for couples to remind each other that these are indeed extraordinary times and that they are working hard to adapt to a lot of uncertainty on all fronts, and that they will survive it all if they can pull together and work as a team.”

For more information on Edel Walsh or if you need further guidance and support visit her website at https://www.lovedonewell.com/about-us

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