CONSTANT bickering, eye rolling and huffing from your other half getting you down?
You could be suffering from the seven-week itch.
Sex and relationship expert Kate Taylor says: “Lockdown is putting even the strongest couples under strain.
“This is normal for such an unusual situation like this.”
JENNY FRANCIS picks seven quarantine quarrels which may be causing problems, with Kate’s advice on how to cure that itch.
'Your constant eating and drinking is disgusting’
THERE is no shame in treating yourself to a midweek glass of wine or choc bar but what if that becomes a bottle a night or takeaway five times a week?
Kate says: “Everyone deals with stress and anxiety differently. Try not to judge your partner for eating more than usual or enjoying that extra glass of wine right now.
“But don’t let it escalate out of control. Stay positive and be upbeat.
“If you try to shame them into healthier living, it will lower their self-esteem and they will only crave more wine and extra takeaways.
“Try talking about life after lockdown. Discuss your holiday plans for next year and how you are looking forward to meeting up with friends.
“Raise your partner’s attention away from the next slice of pizza and on to the future.
“They will visualise themselves in that situation and will naturally want to work towards looking their best.”
'You left the kids’ maths lesson to me . . . again'
THERE is still no school run to worry about but adding “teacher” to the list of jobs can ignite arguments.
From splitting who entertains them to who is in charge of getting them to knuckle down in lessons, kids have become the source of daily rows.
Kate says: “Often, arguments arise not over who is the better parent but over who is having the worse time.
“If you feel your partner is getting an easy ride, you will likely gripe at them – perhaps unconsciously – to ‘even the score’. But it’s not anyone’s fault here.
“Stop and breathe. Divide up the ‘child chores’ depending on which of you likes that job best. Then schedule in some non-negotiable ‘off-time’ for each of you, so you both feel you are getting a break.
“Also, praise each other once a ‘shift’ is complete. Doing that says, ‘I appreciate you’ without actually having to spell it out.”
'I am feeling bored in the bedroom'
BEING out of your usual routine is wreaking havoc with your sex life.
Either the spice has gone and the sex has become more like a chore and you don’t feel special any more or your sex drive has disappeared altogether while in a slump indoors.
Kate says: “We all need sex right now. For escapism, stress relief, intimacy, and exercise. Don’t think you can get away with the same-old shuffle, though.
“We get bored by routine at the best of times, let alone in lockdown, so keep your sex life healthy by introducing something new to the bedroom.
Ban your tried and tested techniques for a week and set a joint challenge to each bring something brand new.
It could be a new position, a toy, hot new underwear, a role-play idea, sex in a different room. Go as far as you are willing.”
'You don’t even fancy me any more'
WHEN you are around each other all day, every day, affection and romance can fall by the wayside.
But just because you are in the same house, your partner will still feel neglected if they no longer get a cuddle on the sofa, or your weekly date night disappears out the window.
Kate says: “Passion thrives on mystery and distance, both of which are in short supply when you are locked up together.
“So try to nurture your spark. Flirting with your partner doesn’t only boost their morale, it also reminds YOU how sexy they are.
“Start off small. Send them a flirty text when you’re working in different rooms. Boost your oxytocin (the bonding hormone) with regular touches and kisses.
“And make sure you have at least one screen-free dinner alone together each week.”
'I just need some time on my own, OK?'
BEING isolated from our friends and family has left many of us craving social interaction. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need time AWAY from our partners.
When you take yourself off for a bath, only to have them knocking on the door asking what the plans for dinner are, it can rub you up the wrong way.
Kate says: “Never feel bad for needing time alone. But equally, your alone-time will not always coincide with when your partner wants theirs.
“Firstly, communicate in some way to your partner that you love them. It could be a cuddle, bringing them a cup of tea or telling them how nice they look. THEN take yourself to relax.
“This will make them feel wanted and they are unlikely to come searching for attention while you are enjoying your ‘me time’.
“If your partner does interrupt, don’t snap at them. Instead, be friendly but firm. Make it known you are not available.”
'You spend money like it’s gone out of fashion'
THIS time of uncertainty has left us all looking at our finances in different ways, which can cause problems for couples with different spending habits.
While one of you is anxious about saving money due to job uncertainty, the other has a more frivolous approach to spending and the online orders are rolling in.
Kate says: “This probably isn’t the first time you’ve come to blows over the piggy bank.
“What’s different now is that none of us knows what the future holds. Compromise and do a bit of both.
"Work out areas where you can save money that won’t compromise happiness and fun in lockdown. And then work out where money can be spent in moderation to improve lockdown life.
“If you both see the benefits of both, you should understand each other’s rules when it comes to finances.”
'I did the washing-up, cleaning, ironing . . . '
IN your usual pre-virus routine, you had worked out a way to get the chores done as fairly as possible.
But being at home all the time means your home might never feel clean and tidy. The list of chores might seem one-sided.
Kate says: “These arguments are not really about housework. Tempers fray because we feel our partner is not supporting us or we feel they are delegating chores to us because they see us as less important. Go back to basics, with a joint list of family chores. Draw it up together and, for extra motivation, set rewards.
"Once you have ALL completed the jobs, you will ALL be rewarded with something you all like, such as a takeaway. Group rewards are motivating, as nobody wants to be the ‘Grinch’ who spoils it for everyone else.”
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