Coronavirus impact: Here's how to keep your relationships healthy during COVID-19 crisis

ByJason Beal KGO logo
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Coronavirus pandemic may put strain on relationships
With the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, many close relationships are being put to the test.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You might find that some of your closest relationships are being put to the test during coronavirus shelter in place orders. Whether it's your spouse, significant other, best friend, or a member of your family, being cooped up inside with virtually nowhere to go can be challenging.

Erika Boissiere and her husband, Phil, are relationship specialists based in San Francisco. Erika said, "A lot of times, especially with COVID-19, it's causing a lot of fear and panic and overwhelming families where they're now homeschooling their kids. And that overwhelm can drive your mood in all sorts of different directions."

Phil added, "We have got some phone calls...from new couples saying, 'Hey, we are at each others' throats we need help.'"

What if you're in a relationship with someone, but don't live with them? If you're practicing safe social distancing and staying inside, it can feel like you're suddenly being thrown into a long-distance relationship.

Brian Tong used to be in a long-distance relationship. He says that in any relationship, whether you're away from someone or with someone, you have to consider them as your top priority. Tong said, "As someone who used to be in a long-distance relationship, my advice, it sounds easier than you think, but it's to stay connected."

If you're feeling lonely and isolated, apps like FaceTime and Zoom are video chat services that allow you to see your loved ones face-to-face.

"The 'touch' piece, is really hard," Phil Boissiere said, "Because with people that we're close to, or intimate with, touch means a lot. And when you quickly remove that, it can feel like something's wrong. You can start to feel insecurity in the relationship, anxiety, etc."

Treating your video chat like a phone call may get stale after a while, Tong has some tips that may help you feel more like you're with the person you miss.

"What I recommend not only is it about video conferencing but doing things together, like for example, you can have a date night...the whole idea of cooking dinner together, eating dinner, not being distracted by anything else. And just having conversations," Tong said.

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that we're all dealing with a stressful situation. The more we can do to treat each other kindly, the better our relationships will be when this whole thing is over.

Erika Boissiere summed it up best, "People are just being moody right now, and it's really easy to judge a mood. People are just reacting in their own unique way under panic. Trying our very hardest in a relationship, like in long-distance, or in a household, trying not to be too critical of your partner is essential."

NOTE: Phil and Erika Boissiere are licensed, relationship specialists. Visit for more information on their services.

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