How to avoid having fight with your partner. How to spot the signs of tension, and how to deal with it.

However great your relationship, being confined at home 24/7 with your partner (not to mention the kids) can be tough. Big rows are even bigger in small spaces, so while you’re in isolation learn how to spot the signs a row is brewing and how to diffuse it in advance.

First, think about your own feelings. Are you feeling stressed, tense or anxious? And what about their partner? Do they seem distracted or irritable?

Tip 1: Stressful times make stressful people. There’s so much uncertainty about at the moment, and so many worries about work, money, family and so on that very few of us are feeling tickety-boo. So try and cut your other half – and yourself – a bit of slack. Though it is very real, this period is not normal life – so don’t make any big decisions (unless you really have to) until things are more settled. ings are more settled.

Tip 2: Make some space for each other. Try working in different rooms if you can, but if you can’t maybe arrange your desk to face a window and put on your headphones to cut yourself off a little. And make use of your daily exercise by taking it solo for a little extra headspace.

Tip 3: Try doing things together which bring you closer without forcing deep discussions. Tidy those cupboards you’ve been ignoring for months, do a work out together… or even try something as simple as a jigsaw puzzle. It’s all about spending time together with a purpose.

Tip 4: Don’t say anything you don’t really mean. If they forget to empty the dishwasher don’t make a big deal of it: just remind them. If that doesn’t work avoid labelling them as ‘lazy’. Instead tell them how you feel. It turns it from an argument about who they are into a discussion about something they haven’t done (which is easier to fix).

What to do if you’re arguing in isolation.

Nobody makes their best decisions when they’re angry. If an argument is brewing the first thing you need to do is calm down. Take a walk outside or call a friend to release the tension. And don’t feel you have to sort everything out straight away. It’s OK to give them a hug and tell them you still love them even if you’re both annoyed right now. Just that little olive branch could be enough to diffuse the tension.

When you do talk it through, make sure you listen to what your partner is telling you – and make sure they know you’re doing it. Everyone likes to be able to express their feelings and for those feelings to be respected. When you express your feelings it’s useful to start your sentences with ‘I think’ or ‘I feel’ rather than ‘you are’ – it makes it about opinions instead of blame and labels.

What to do if you regret moving in with your partner during self-isolation?

Once again this is a tough situation – and your relationship may well feel the strain. But remember everyone else is feeling stressed too. Try to get a little more personal space and ‘me time’ and work on your expectations. While being isolated with your special someone might have seemed romantic at first, it’s bound to be mundane, boring or frustrating from time to time. A strong relationship is built on trust, love, dedication and communication. And if you can get through this, you’re on firm ground.

It goes without saying that if your relationship turns violent or toxic you should get out. But if you have a few tiffs about silly things it’s all part of life. Accepting your differences is as valuable as communicating your feelings. So try to steady the ship, remind yourself about what you like about each other and remember: this will pass.

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