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TALK TO US

Love in the Time of Corona

Problems with your partner? Remember, you are in this together.
 
By Dr. Ken Fung

下面是本文的中文版。

Since the beginning of 2020, Hong Kong’s population has been coping with the threat of the Covid-19 virus. In the face of this outbreak, many people have taken steps to self-isolate, protecting themselves and their fellow community members from transmission. It is the right thing to do, but it does not come without its own set of difficulties.

Spending all day together in the same small space, both for work and leisure, can cause friction between couples. Without the usual time apart and with the stress of outbreak pressing in from all four walls, it is easy to understand how tempers can flare and fierce quarrels can erupt.

Problems Will Not Go Away

The situation can be even more volatile for couples who have relationships that are unstable or troubled. Ineffective communication strategies, poorly aligned values, or existing dysfunctional patterns of behaviour will not magically go away when couples must stay home together for extended periods. The relationship will face even greater challenges, and both people may become physically and mentally exhausted.

In this very unique time, we can choose to focus on things that we and our partners can control and manage. We can rise to the challenge and to build deeper relationships on the way.

You are a Team

Remember, in these tense times, that you are a team. Choose to be honest and let your other half understand the difficulties or emotions you face. Make the mental note to interpret “me” as “we”, and you will become more abundant in mental and physical resources.

Even if your partner does not provide you with an effective solution for every problem your face, you will feel less alone. It is very important to remember that just because you encounter a problem and that you both cannot find a solution for the moment, it does not mean that you no longer love and cherish each other.

Release Pent Up Feelings

After nine months of social instability in Hong Kong, beginning with the protests and containing under the current outbreak conditions, some people may be feeling especially negative. Small things can suddenly escalate into big things and both parties might use very hurtful words. One way to exorcise these pent up feelings is talk about them with your partner. An important tip is that you only talk about things outside your relationship, and let your other partner become the harbouring station for your emotions.

Relax Together

As the epidemic continues, we continue to be separated from many of our coping mechanisms. Choose to do relaxation activities as a couple at home. These may include indoor sports or exercises, creative pursuits such as art and music, gardening, watching movies and so on. Find a way cope together. Remember that your other half is an important companion to relax you.

Don’t Worry About Silence

Some couples have never had to cope with sudden changes, or major shifts. They may not have the experience or resources to face the stresses brought on by the need to work from home, home-school children, and self-isolate. For those couples have have not had the opportunity to develop resilience, it can be easy to slide into silence and negativity.

Especially when one partner becomes silent or sinks into despair, it is easy for the other to interpret this behaviour incorrectly. They might believe that their partner is indifferent, or has fallen out of love. In reality, some people simply need space and time to work through what is happening, and digest the accompanying emotions. Do not take this as a reason to become anxious and potentially start a heated inquisition.

Rather, stay curious, avoid making quick conclusions, and find a chance to let the other person know that you have seen their recent changes. Remember not to frame these observations as problems, or to assign blame. Communicate that you care about your partner, and want to offer support.

When your partner understands that he or she can rely on you, they may share their feelings and thoughts – a valuable opportunity for communication.  If you can seize the opportunity, it is more likely to even enrich and improve your relationship in a magical way.

Is there friction in your marriage or relationship? Do you need help finding strategies help you and your partner weather the current unusual conditions? Contact the BFDC, we can help.

***

疫情下的戀人

自今年年頭開始,香港人便一直疲於奔命地去抵抗疫情。個人、工作、學業、社交生活和作息都受到各種程度的影響,無一倖免。

面對這突如其來而時間不短的轉變,我們的情緒更加受到一波又一波的挑戰,其中一個很多情侶會遇到的就是因相處時間比平常長而產生的磨擦,而雙方的情緒都因為在大氣氛的影響下而變得容易升溫高漲,爆發比較激烈的爭吵。若情侶之間本身的溝通不是十分有效,及各自有來自不同地方的煩惱,他們兩人之間的感情亦隨之然面對更大的挑戰,身心俱疲。

在這個非常特別和沉重的時間底下,我們可以透過將注意力放在自己和伴侶能夠控制和管理的事情上,在疫情下成為大家的精神支柱,或者能有機會迎難而上,在這艱苦的路上建立更深厚的感情。

團隊精神,一起面對問題

情侶本身就是一個團隊,無論面對的事情是關於社會的大是大非,還是比較切身的小問題,你們也可以選擇去跟對方坦白感受,讓另一半了解你面對的困難或情緒。若你們兩個人能同時有共識地將「我」演釋成「我們」,除了在資源上會變得更充裕,而就算他未能為你提供很有效的解決辦法,你也不會覺得要孤單面對。

就算是你們之間遇到了問題,甚至一時三刻未能找到處理方法,也不代表你們已不再愛護和珍惜對方。

傾訴關係之外的情緒,成為彼此的情感支援

在這個情緒崩緊的氣氛下生活,小事有時難免會突然變成大事,然後帶著衝動的情緒會讓雙方有機會說出很傷害的說話,而元凶很大機會就是大家因為經歷了九個月沒辦法發洩出來的負能量。

要將你倆心中那滿載污水的水樽內的水排出來,其中一個方法就是向你的情人訴說想法和情緒,重要的秘訣是你們只談你們關係以外的事情,讓你的他成為你情緒疪護站。而你也要嘗試聆聽對方的感受,成為他的情感支援。

一起做放鬆練習,建立正面環境

疫情情況持續底下,有很多我們平時可以做的都遭受到某程度的變更,例如日常運動和消遺節目,這些都是正常情況下用來調節因繁忙生活而產生的情緒的潤滑劑。儘管如此,你倆也可以選擇在家中一起做些能讓身心放鬆的活動,例如各種放鬆練、室內運動、創作、音樂、盆栽、電影等等。讓你的大腦在面對壓力下,得到喘起的機會,也讓它記得你的另一半是令讓你放鬆的重要陪伴。

不要害怕短暫的沉默,保持好奇心

有很多情侶因為環境突然有所變遷,心情難免會受到影響而變得沉默或沒有以往的主動和樂天,畢竟這個負面氣候已經發展成一個很漫長的抗爭。

有些人面對這個氣氛上的轉變會顯得有點手足無措,甚至極端地覺得對方對自己冷淡了或不再那麼喜歡自己,忘記了有時候伴侶或會需要一些空間和時間去消化正在發生的事情和伴隨而來的情緒,若你在這個時候提出你的那個不安,結果可能是讓雙方的壓力百上加斤,不歡而散。

所以,我們要保持好奇心,避免很快地妄下結論,並找個機會讓對方知道你看到他最近的改變。切記不要將事情說成是他的問題,或是像在責怪他,而重點是你將你很關心他和無論如何都會支持他的想法傳遞過去。當他明白他能依靠你,他或許會跟你訴說他的感受和想法那是很寶貴的溝通機會你倆若能抓住機會其實更有可能讓感情有所增長。