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Looking after your relationship during coronavirus

Raising a family can be a difficult thing for any couple. Add coronavirus and physical distancing into the mix and even the strongest couples will feel the strain. Although restrictions are starting to ease slightly, we are all spending more time at home than we usually would. But there are things you and your partner can do to support each other and get through this difficult time together.

Tips for maintaining your relationship during coronavirus

Tip #1 Find your routines

One or both of you may be working from home just now. Take a look at your working hours and see how to make them work for you. With kids at home you’ll likely not be able to work at the same time. Speak to your employers and see if they can be flexible during this period. Make sure you both have a clear idea about when one person is working, when the other is looking after the kids, and when you’re all together.

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Tip #2 Be understanding

Couples don’t normally spend this much time with each other. This is tricky for anyone. You or your partner may be used to a certain amount of your own time - whether at work or at home when the kids are at school. Accept that this is as difficult for them as it is for you, and try to see things from their point of view.

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Tip #3 Put arguments on hold.

Try and put any big arguments or disputes you have on hold until this is over. Focus on the things you can improve together and call a truce on any issues you may have been arguing about recently.

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Tip #4 Give them some space

It’s hard being in the house for this length of time but if you both can, try and find a little space for yourself each day. You might want to take some time to go out and relax or do some exercise alone or with a friend (for information on the latest guidance around meeting up with other households visit our section on restriction changes). Even letting them have space to cook tea or soak in the bath could help. Ask them to do the same for you. Doing certain things on your own will also help give you things to talk about together. 

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Tip #5 Make time to spend together

It could be a chat before the kids are up, or a cuddle on the sofa when they’re in bed. Try and make time that’s just between the two of you.

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Tip #6 Accept each other’s feelings

One of you may be more worried about the news than the other. Accept that you’re different people and your responses to what’s going on will be different. They're probably not feeling great either and it can be really helpful to understand where the other one is coming from.

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Tip #7 Have fun

This is a strange and difficult time for everyone. But you may not have this much time together again. Try to see the positives and have as much fun together as you can. Who knows you may even look back on this period in your lives with fond memories.

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Support available

It’s understandable that during difficult times like these some people may need professional support to help with their relationship problems. If you and your partner are having relationship issues there is support out there to help.

The mygov.scot website has more information about the relationship and counselling support that’s available. As well as links guidance on mediation and help for people separated from their partners

The Your Parenting Plan section on the Scottish Government website has a guide for parents who live apart or who are separating, on how to agree on childcare.

Find a local counselling service through Relationships Scotland. The charity has information about what happens at counselling including how much it costs. They can also help you find a find a mediator.

The Relationship Helpline is available to provide support and a friendly listening ear. Phone the charity's relationship helpline on 0808 802 2088. It's open from Monday to Thursdays from 9am to 9pm (Fridays 9am to 4pm) and it's a free number. The Helpline can also set you up with free relationship counselling either online or on the phone if you feel more in depth support would help.  

For advise and tips on understanding conflict and emotional needs to transform relationships, visit the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution website for award winning digital resources.

Staying safe

Everyone’s situation is different, and home isn’t always a safe place for some people. If this true of yourself or anyone you know, there is support available during this particularly tough time.

For anyone in Scotland experiencing domestic abuse or forced marriage and for others supporting them you can look at Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline. 

For anyone affected by sexual violence support is also available via a helpline and also by email at Rape Crisis Scotland.

Last updated: 29 May, 2020