Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief as vaccination totals are growing and many of the restrictions we’ve lived with for over a year are being lifted. We can enjoy less time with a mask on, and more time spent with friends and family, while still following state guidelines. Some families are able to see relatives who live far away because they are now able to travel. Celebrations such as weddings or graduations that were postponed or held virtually can be rescheduled and enjoyed in person.
In spite of fewer restrictions and more freedom, things aren’t necessarily ‘back to normal’. There may be a residue left by the forced isolation of the pandemic. The stresses of the last 18 months may have taken a toll on your relationships that haven’t been addressed or discussed. During such a difficult time it may have seemed easier to grit your teeth and work through it one day at a time without dwelling on the stress and hardship during the worst of it.
Our Vermont relationship counseling team is seeing a variety of outcomes as we edge our way out of the pandemic restrictions and our daily routines can start returning to pre-pandemic patterns. Some couples are coming to terms with the fact that spending so many months together without our usual breaks in routine has strained the relationship. Maybe there are more arguments or the conversations are more likely to end without any kind of resolution.
Some couples are noticing a lack of interest in the things they used to enjoy together. The patterns families and couples have been pushed into over the past year and half may mean that some hobbies or habits aren’t as fulfilling as they used to be. The consequence of limiting our activity may be that we don’t enjoy familiar things as much as we used to.
As lockdown and travel restrictions open up a bit, it may be a good time to evaluate your relationship and ask some difficult questions. Are things moving back to healthy patterns of communication or is there a bit of a pandemic hangover? Is there a feeling of apathy in your relationships? Are you both committed to finding ways to enjoy each other’s company in the ways that brought you together in the first place?
If there is lingering stress or a feeling that things aren’t quite right, maybe it’s time to investigate Vermont relationship counseling. Even if the stress on a relationship is hard to put your finger on, you can recognize when it’s there. A consultation with one of our talk therapists can be a good way to find out if we’re the right partner for you—individually or together—as you work to strengthen your relationship in the aftermath of COVID.