Relationship problems

Have you reached a point where you are questioning where your relationship might be going, or have things changed and you aren’t sure how to get your relationship back on track? It is natural for relationships to change over time, but it can very easy to slip into complacency and to start taking each other for granted.

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Keeping your relationship healthy during self-isolation

Communication is imperitive - During these unprecedented times, talking to each other about how you feel, making plans and schedules that you are both happy with is important. The natural anxiety you may be feeling can heighten feelings and responses. Talking things through with each other can help your partner understand and provide reassurance.

Don't second guess - It is a very testing time at the moment and if you are coping with things well, you may assume your partner is too. Don't make assumptions about how they may be feeling. Keep the dialogue going and ask how each other is feeling regularly.

Managing stress - It is very easy to have conflict when there is stress. This could be trying to manage everything all at once and not being able to get out. Be clear with each other about your feelings and frustrations. Try to work out a plan with each other to help ease the stress and anxiety.

Arguing - If you and your partner do get into a bicker or a row, try to deescalate this by walking away and saying that you will talk later when things calm down. We understand that this is easier said than done but it will add to your plate if you are arguing over things that can be resolve through a calm conversation. Choose your battles and weigh up if they are worth it at this time.

Plan a date night - Ok, so we know that you cannot go out, but you can still get creative a have a few date nights. When the kids have gone to bed, have a meal or watch a movie together. Go for a walk in the garden or perhaps even make something together. The aim of this is to ensure that your relationship stays strong to help you both lean on each other.

Take time out - It is natural to want to have some time to yourself. Plan some designated areas within the home that can be used as time out. It may just be the corner of the kitchen or the bedroom but when one of you or both needs some time out, understand that this is a natural response and not something to hurt one another.

Be kind - Every relationship needs kindness and care. It not only helps others feel happy and secure but can help you as a family get through this very difficult time. Thank each other for being there for one another and build in kind gestures through the day.

How to keep your relationship alive

Communication is key in any relationship – if you are feeling neglected or just simply need a hug talk to your partner. Try and make some time to spend together. If this means being a little more organised and getting the kids to bed early one night then go ahead and do it. Having a nice meal with candles can set the ambience for a special evening together.

Having children can pile on even more pressure a relationship especially when there might be limited time for you to spend with your partner. It might be that you have to be a little more organised to ensure that you do make this happen. It is easy in any relationship for things to become a little too comfortable but it is really important that you do still make time for your partner to try and keep your relationship alive.

It can be hard as a parent to take off your “mummy” or “daddy” head but it is important to do this from time to time. It can be so easy to get caught up in your parenting role that you forget your own identity. If it’s an option and you can get a babysitter why not dress up, put some heels on and feel girly and go out and enjoy each other’s company.

Do you still want to be together?

The added pressure of finances and running a home can all take their toll on a relationship, but what if things have reached a point where you are questioning whether you still want to be together. Relationships do break down and if you might feel that it is impossible to save your relationship then it might be worth thinking about some professional support. Exploring avenues such as counselling or workshops might help, of if you have both decided to end the relationship and you have children it is worth sitting down together and trying to decide how best you can support your children together.

Many parents recognise the impact their adult relationships have on the children. It seems that for some people, seeking help about children and parenting is more acceptable than seeking help about couple relationships. It is common for children’s behaviour to deteriorate when they feel insecure because they see or feel that things between their parents are not going well, and younger children in particular are likely to feel responsible. Offering them reassurance of how much they are loved and that they are in no way to blame for this can be really reassuring.

Couple conflict

Many parents recognise the impact of their adult relationship difficulties on both how they parent and directly on their children and call us about these matters. It seems that for some people seeking help about children and parenting is more acceptable than seeking help about couple relationships. One plus One is a useful site on relationships. It is common for children’s behaviour to deteriorate when they feel insecure because they see or feel things between their parents are not going well, and younger children in particular are likely to feel responsible. Minimise the conflict and try to seek help. 

We work in partnership with an organisation called Marriage Care who offer a dedicated relationship counselling to anyone who is going through a divorce or separation and can help to get relationships back on track. Marriage Care is for anyone who feels they could benefit from professional support. No matter whether you're just starting out or you've been together for years they can help. 

We are here for you

If you would like to talk things through, we are here for you. You can call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 or email us at askus@familylives.org.uk. Alternatively, visit our online forum community to see what others are talking about and share your experiences. 

Please watch this video for more tips 

This article was updated on March 2020

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