In our remote couples therapy sessions, we’ve spoken to couples via the phone and video chat at various stages of their relationship, from long-time married couples to new couples, that are now in self-isolation together. Recently, the BBC featured Tribeca Therapy in an article focusing on the latter–couples that are now living together early on in their relationship because of COVID-19.
Speaking to Maddy Savage who first delves into the current lives of five couples, our Founder and Clinical Director Matt Lundquist explains that new couples have a tendency to stick together in crisis situations, including a global pandemic. Observing similar relationship patterns after September 11th, Matt says, “In moments of fear and panic, we grab onto the safest, most-available-for-intimacy person around us.”
While the stress of the pandemic and quarantine might either bring couples closer or encourage some denial of red flags or warning signs in a relationship, Matt asserts that self-isolating with a new partner may not be a bad thing right now. “A lot of therapists are needing to contradict what under normal circumstances would be good advice like avoiding getting into a relationship too quickly or dating somebody who perhaps follows an old unhealthy pattern, and instead make concessions to help people find as much safety as they can to survive,” he says.
This doesn’t mean, however, that couples should settle, especially if they feel they are potentially in unsafe situations. In that case, partners should have a potential exit strategy, even if living together during COVID-19. “From a virology perspective,” he states, “what we want everybody to be doing is to be as locked down as they can and staying in place. But if a situation with a partner becomes unsafe, if this person is really abusive or manipulative, you’ve got to get out of there.”
Read more of “Coronavirus Isolation Is Creating New Couples” in the BBC