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How to manage conflict with your partner in self-isolation — Psychology with Sabina Read

With Australians urged to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and many people working from home, most of us are spending more time with our partners than we usually would.

Psychologist Sabina Read says it’s normal to clash more frequently with your partner or children during this uncertain time, but there are things you can do to ease tension.

“It makes sense that when we’re all locked in together into a house with our partner, perhaps with young children or teenagers, that the pressure between us is going to grow,” she said.

“When we have the choice to spend time together that looks and feels very different than when we’re forced to be in each others face.”

Sabina’s tips for dealing with conflict during isolation:

  • Apologise

“We’re all going to have conflict, we’re all going to have arguments during these times,” Sabina said.

“When we experience conflict or arguments with our partner it’s really important to go back, maybe not at the time … but to commit to circling back at some point within the next 24 hours to say ‘I’m sorry’.”

  • Look for the good in your partner

“In the earlier stages we look for the good in each other, and that’s something we need to continue to do over the decades in long term relationships,” Sabina said.

“Research tells us it’s important to make five positive statements or comments for each negative statement we make to each other.”

  • Expect the best from your relationships

“Go into a relationship wanting the best from each other and from ourselves,” Sabina said.

“From that starting point we give the relationship more hope.”

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Image: PeopleImages / iStock