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“This Is What Happens to Couples Under Stress”: An Interview with Esther Perel

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https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/this-is-what-happens-to-couples-under-stress-an-interview-with-esther-perel

newyorker.com

“This Is What Happens to Couples Under Stress”: An Interview with Esther Perel
The therapist, author, and podcast host offers wisdom on navigating romantic relationships under quarantine.

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Creating routines

Creating routines

Too much is expected of modern relationships: your partner is supposed to fulfil roles that historically used to be spread out within communal structures. Your partner is supposed to be your be...

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How to respond to the "invisible work"

During the pandemic, being at home with a partner reveals the "invisible work" they're doing, which may be taken for granted. This expanded view of ourselves and our partners can go i...

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How people should fight

Couples go through harmony, disharmony, and repair. So they will inevitably get into arguments. However, what matters is how you fight. Don't highlight everything negative while taking the posi...

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The positive side of a crisis

During disasters, our priorities get reorganised. The extra often gets thrown out. Changes get made. "We will move. We will change jobs. We will live closer to our parents." There are...

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The one thing to improve relationships

While couples are stuck together during this crisis, it's important to know that they'll turn on each other and take things out on each other. This is normal.

Inste...

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Conflict mistaken for passion

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Keeping the peace

Ignoring problems in a relationship in order to avoid conflict will only mean that the problems pile up until they can no longer be ignored – and by then, it might be too hard to fix.

Keeping score

Keeping track of the things that you do, versus the things that they do is a way to create pressure and conflict where there should only be teamwork. 

Sit down together and work out a plan on things like chores or bills, and who does or pays what.

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Arguing over text

Couples who argue over text; apologize over text; and/or attempt to make decisions over text, are less happy in their relationships.

Not having kids

This isn't to say you can't be happy if you have kids--it's just to understand that it's normal to not feel happy sometimes. 

Many couples put pressure on themselves to feel perfectly fulfilled once they have a long-term partnership with children, but the reality of kids is that they're very stressful on relationships.

Having friends that stay married

Research shows you're 75 percent more likely to get divorced if a friend or a close relative has already done the deed.

Attending to the health of one's friends' marriages might serve to support and enhance the durability of one's own relationship.

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Esther Perel

“Disasters generally operate as an accelerator in a relationship.”

Esther Perel

Couples under lockdown

Lockdown poses unique problems for couples who are isolating together.
People who are used to seeing their partner at the end of the day now are now living with the new reality of not only being full-time with their significant other but also working alongside them. This situation, together with the uncertainty of the whole pandemic crisis can create tension.

Different coping styles

There is a polarization going on around the way that people deal with fear, with anger, with the preparations in the face of disaster. You can find:

  • People that become clear organizers because order for them means making sense of the chaos of the external world and the one that is rising inside of them.
  • People wanting to talk all the time with other people and have a sense of what’s going on with everyone.
  • People thinking that their partner is not cautious enough.

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