In my few years on earth, I have never had to be in one location for so long out of necessity rather than desire. Obviously, that is disregarding boarding school where I would have desired to be anywhere but there. With coronavirus has come such a case and unlike localised pandemics, this one has seized the whole world.
Some of those affected are people in relationships. If the daily pressures of relationships are not enough, the partial lockdown has had people wonder what the future holds.
It all begun with social distancing which affected hugs and holding hands, you know how all those show how one feels about the other. But the twist would later get tighter when the President announced the need for people to stay home not to mention putting a ‘padlock’ on meeting places such as restaurants. With all these in place, can people even start a relationship, let alone nurture one?
Elliot Esabu, a pastor at Tent of Testimonies International, says relationships can start and flourish despite the lockdown. “With technological advancement such as Zoom, where people can hold virtual meetings, relationships can thrive.”
Esabu is also financial advisor working with an insurance company where they have had to devise means of business continuity whilst observing Ministry of Health guidelines and the presidential directives.
“I had to change my mindset from having face to face engagements to virtual engagements. Even with relationships, a mindset change is important if relationships are to be nurtured,” he advises.
He adds that 65 per cent of marriages in the USA emanate from online and dating sites. “Imagine spending the rest of your life with someone you met online and still make the best of life by growing old together,” he mentions.
However, Sandy Asingwire, a counselling psychologist at New Dawn Counselling and Psychotherapy, believes that this is a tricky time for those who intend to form new relationships.
“People need to be cautious about who they let into their lives (love life). Many people are bored and as such are all over social media flirting. So, it is hard to tell whether someone is really into you or they are just passing time,” she cautions.
However, she adds that this does not mean that people cannot find love during this time. “The only advice is be cautious, so you do not get hurt. Be sure you know what you are doing,” she emphasises.
For those who are already in a relationship, here is how you can keep them thriving:
Telephone calls, WhatsApp, and the like form the various ways one can communicate. At a time when we are in partial lockdown and face to face meetings are almost rare, Mary Butamanya, a marriage counsellor, says people can call or text each other to keep the relationship strong and going. “However, it ought to be effective communication in the sense that one has to be intentional at it, say calling everyday to find out how the other is,” she shares.
Asingwire mentions that people can engage in video calling through Skype and zoom. “This should not be just for chatting but a time to share your day. You could, for example, make breakfast and have the meal together, have a date night and have normal conversations like you would when together using these platforms,” she says.
While people previously tailored their relationships around outings, and walks, Butamanya advocates for the need to think up ways to spice up their relationships now. For example, if it is your boyfriend’s birthday, sending them lunch from Cafe Java’s will show them that you care inasmuch as you cannot spend the day with them.
Make future plans
Talk about things you cannot wait to do together when this is all over. “You can even get naughty and talk about the things that you cannot wait to do to one another. This keeps the partners looking forward, and the fire burning. You can also make travel plans,” Asingwire advises.
Play games together
There are so many online games such as crossword puzzles, scrabble, and chess. “Find something that is fun for both of you. Even when you were the kind that are into games, you may want to try this to keep the fire burning,” Asingwire adds.
Feel for each other
Some people do not know how to handle boredom, but in this time, it will take a keener ear to listen out for such feelings and more from your partner. ”For example, someone may not call through the week. Rather than think that there is something wrong with your relationship, you need to find out how to help your partner cope with the times,” Butamanya says.
While many are weary about how they will sustain their relationships during this period, Asingwire believes that being apart should also help one realise how much they love their partner.
“This is a period that will make you make an emotional connection with your partner rather than the physical connection. It will test whether your relationship is more than just physical.”
People should also know that the lockdown is stressful enough so avoid any conversation that is likely to stress your partner. “Be the bearer of good news and spread positive energy.
Keep your partner in the loop
Inasmuch as boredom may grow on you, keeping away or silent is not the solution. Besides, your partner having to figure out what is happening to you miles away is a lot of work. Therefore, Sandy Asingwire, a counselling psychologist at New Dawn Counselling and Psychotherapy, advises people to keep their partner informed about their day.
“It could be what you did or went through. Just let them feel like they are a part of your life. It will also will do away with any feelings of insecurity,” she points out.