How context can help relationships outlast a pandemic

WATCH: Entertaining love and romance during the COVID-19 pandemic looks a lot different.

While love may find a way, one couples therapist suggests people keep the current context in mind when evaluating relationships.

Teena Singh with Open Skies Therapy in Regina continues to counsel couples via video calls during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important for all individuals to remember that everyone is having some turbulence at this time and it’s okay, this is new,” she said.

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She said most of what she’s hearing lately pertains to how people are adapting to sudden changes, in all areas of life.

“Finances have changed, children are at home, routines and structure has changed,” Singh said.

“Individuals who were going to the gym, seeing their friends socially — everything has changed. And these external stressors impact the relationship.

“There’s something to surviving a crisis together. That does bond a couple, and that does strengthen a relationship with each other.”

Singh said continued validation, support and connection are important to sustain any relationship during a crisis.

“How you do that is by saying, ‘I am here for you through this time. I see you,'” she said.

"We decided we're going to have a drive-thru date," said Pat Dubois, left. The Saskatoon radio host has been meeting his girlfriend of nearly two years for physically-distant parking lot dates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We decided we're going to have a drive-thru date," said Pat Dubois, left. The Saskatoon radio host has been meeting his girlfriend of nearly two years for physically-distant parking lot dates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pat Dubois / Submitted

Getting creative in isolation

Singh said couples, whether new or seasoned, can use this time of physical distance and self-isolation to learn more about each other and explore interests.

“There’s something to surviving a crisis together. That does bond a couple, and that does strengthen a relationship with each other,” she said.

Singh suggested couples try the Gottman card deck app. The cards feature questions ranging from “what’s one small thing that really makes your day?” to “what would you do if you won $100,000?”

"I don't know if outside ... of self-isolation, we would have sat for hours and played games," said newlywed Amanda Watson, left, with husband Billy in Lloydminster, Alta., on her birthday April 4, 2020.

"I don't know if outside ... of self-isolation, we would have sat for hours and played games," said newlywed Amanda Watson, left, with husband Billy in Lloydminster, Alta., on her birthday April 4, 2020.

Amanda Watson / Submitted

“It helps you learn more about your partner’s inner psychological world,” she said, adding couples can also try creating a meaningful list of activities they enjoy doing.

“Creating a list of five new things to try during the pandemic, and five things to try after the pandemic. It really gives you something to look forward to as a couple.”

What about a break-up?

For those thinking of ending relationships during the pandemic, Singh advised once again keeping the situation in context.

“Just being mindful of the times, so knowing there are stressors outside of the relationship that may be impacting the relationship,” she said.

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Singh noted that at this time, challenging yourself with self-improvement and concrete life changes may cause undue stress during a crisis.

However, she added, it’s imperative to continue practicing self-care and engaging in meaningful activities and connections with others.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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