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South Africa: Love in the age of Coronavirus: How to be a better partner during lockdown

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Global lockdown has had a number of unintended consequences, not least of which has been the rise in rapidly accelerating relationships. Millions of couples around the world have either moved in together or have spent more time together than they ever have done before.

Couple kissing in kitchen

But how do you cope? How does anyone cope? Questions like this don’t have simple answers but Couples Help, lead by the award-winning relationship counsellor Louis Venter, has a number of choice tips to help your relationship survive these unprecedented circumstances.

1. Listen to Their Worries

A relationship is largely about listening, you don’t have to fix everything

We’re all stressed at the moment. Stressed about our health, our jobs and the state of the world; but sometimes you can lose sight of how severely this stress might be affecting your partner. If it's all feeling a bit too much, raise your concerns and fears to your partner. If it’s something manageable like a change in career then your partner might be able to offer practical support but don’t be afraid to verbalise anxieties and concerns that your partner has absolutely no control over either. A relationship is largely about listening; you don’t have to fix everything. Take the time to hear your partner's concerns, absorb their worries and lighten their load, even if it’s just for a little while.

2. Give Them Space If They Need It, Give Them Love If They Don’t

This presents an opportunity for your partner to “opt-in” rather than “opt-out”

One of the most noticeable things that this lockdown has taken from us is the opportunity to be by ourselves for extended periods of time. This has been further heightened by the fact that the things we would usually do by ourselves like going to the gym or even just commuting to work has been curtailed by the mass closures of businesses and public spaces.

This is why it’s important to remember that your partner might be craving some time by themselves but might feel uncomfortable asking to be left alone. A proactive approach to addressing this concern can be adopted by choosing to do some solitary activities of your own. This presents an opportunity for your partner to “opt-in” rather than “opt-out”, boosting the sense of positivity surrounding the opportunity to do something together and leaving negativity of detaching them from you at the door.

3. Build on What You Have

So much of how we show love to one another can become embedded in restaurants, plays or holidays abroad.

I think we can all agree that a big part of lockdown is monotony, a feeling of repetition that can be difficult to see past and harder still to break out of. If you are feeling frustrated with your relationship, it might be because you and your partner have ceased to grow in the same way that you might have done before the lockdown.

It can be difficult to detach our conceptions of relationships from the outside world. So much of how we show love to one another can become embedded in restaurants, plays or holidays abroad. In a lockdown you need to look inwards and find ways of making each other feel loved without the trappings of travel and luxury. Cooking an elaborate dinner, making a personal gift or taking up a shared hobby like yoga are all great ways to show that you are committed and care about your future together.


Being a caring and considerate partner is difficult at the best of times, a lockdown of this scale is unprecedented and has required an adjustment to every facet of our everyday lives. To be a better partner in lockdown means to try and resist the urge to settle into autopilot. If you’re concerned enough about being a better partner to do some online research, then don't worry, you’re already on the right track!

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