The coronavirus lockdown could test your relationship. Here’s how to keep it intact (and even improve it).

A Queensland relationships expert who has researched extensively into “why individuals get into a cycle of continually failing at relationships” believes she has identified a key reason..

By Raquel Peel

14 February, 2020.

Retrieved from The Conversation

With the raft of social distancing measures in place to control the spread of coronavirus, you may be spending more time with your partner than ever before.

If you’re both working from home, and with nowhere to go out to in the evenings, there’s a chance you might start to get on each other’s nerves. Perhaps it’s happening already.

This is normal, particularly given the increased stress we’re all feeling right now. But since we could be in this predicament for a while yet, it’s worth taking steps to ensure we get through this period with our relationships intact. We might even be able to come out stronger.

American psychology researcher John Gottman proposed certain behaviours, or the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, lead to the dissolution of romantic relationships.

The first horseman is criticism. This behaviour is defined as an attack on your partner’s character, as distinct from offering a critique or voicing a specific complaint.

Particularly at a time like this, you might be keeping track of your partner’s flaws but not saying anything so as to avoid conflict. But bottled up, anger and frustration will turn to resentment, which you may express by criticising your partner.

Psychologists explain criticism includes inflexible “always” and “never” statements such as “you always have to have the last word” or “you never listen”.

Make sure your daily routine includes quality time spent as a couple. Shutterstock

The second horseman is contempt. This behaviour is defined as an insult to your partner. People might do this verbally using sarcasm, or simply by rolling their eyes.

An example is when your partner is talking to you and you say “here we go again” without mindfully listening to what they are trying to say.