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Gwyneth Paltrow says the coronavirus lockdowns could be a ‘unique opportunity’ for couples to work on their communication

  • Gwyneth Paltrow said couples quarantining together have a “unique opportunity” to talk about communication issues in their relationship during a YouTube video titled “How Do You Find Intimacy in Uncertain Times?”
  • The founder of wellness brand Goop joined her husband Brad Falchuk and Michaela Boehm, intimacy and sexuality expert, for a conversation on how couples can cope with the stress of quarantine.
  • “It’s a unique opportunity to stop and think about the ways in which we communicate or don’t communicate,” Paltrow said. 

  • Boehm said while talking about communication is the best case scenario, couples should not make drastic relationship decisions like whether to break up or escalate their relationship during quarantine. 
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Gwyneth Paltrow — known for her controversial health and wellness tips channeled through her wellness brand, Goop  — took to YouTube to give relationship and intimacy advice to her followers to use with their partners during the coronavirus lockdowns, now affecting more than half of the US. 

Paltrow and her husband, Brad Falchuk, joined Michaela Boehm, an intimacy and sexuality expert, on their YouTube channel for a candid conversation on what couples can do to support each other and keep their relationship strong during quarantine. 

During the video, titled “How Do You Find Intimacy in Uncertain Times?”, Paltrow and Falchuk admitted that, while their relationship is strong, quarantining 24/7 with two teenagers and each other has resulted in some “tension.”

“We’re really following the strict guidelines so she’s not able to see people that she wants to see, so it gets fractious in moments,” Paltrow said. “And there’s definitely tension within the household and we have the added dynamic of step-parent, and I think there is quite a lot of stress that just comes from trying to re-calibrate to this new normal and this level of proximity

Boundary-setting and conflict are problems many couples are having to navigate during quarantine, as people are spending more time around each other than ever before. While the forced indefinite quality time can cause additional stress, Paltrow said it could also be a space to improve communication between partners. 

“It’s a unique opportunity to stop and think about the ways in which we communicate or don’t communicate,” Paltrow said. 

Boehm said, because of social distancing, many couples that would otherwise be too busy with work or social obligations to sit down with each other are now having the space to spend quality time with their partner and evaluate their relationship dynamic up close. 

“Sometimes it’s not possible when people are constantly on the go and most of your communication happens via text or quick phone calls,” Boehm said. “Now suddenly you have the time and the space to sit with your partner and look at your partner and say ‘How are you doing?'”

Just because a quarantine can be a time to improve communication doesn’t mean you should make drastic relationship decisions 

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While the additional time together can be a good space for couples to work on communication, Boehm said this doesn’t mean partners should bring up intense relationship problems during quarantine. 

Because the pandemic is a “crisis situation,” Boehm said the important thing is for people to stay “as ok as they can.”

“I would suggest that at all possible for anybody I work with, that they put any kind of relationship drama, discussions, things that need to be worked on on the back burner and simply focus on the best possible communication and understanding relationship that can be had,” Boehm said. 

Unless absolutely necessary, bringing up underlying issues in your relationship right now could actually be detrimental to the mental health of both you and your partner. 

“Not the time to break up, not the time to have the really heavy-duty conversations, certainly not the time to work on the things that are weakest because that’s just pouring gasoline on the fire,” Boehm said.

Creating a feeling of mutual understanding can help keep your relationship strong during stressful times

Little things can go a long way in ensuring your partner feels cared about during the quarantine without making large decisions about the structure of your relationship during a crisis. 

Boehm said asking questions to your partner in the beginning of the day can be a great way to jump start communication and make them feel cared for in the longrun.

Some good questions to start with are:

  • How are you?
  • How are you feeling?
  • How does you body feel
  • Is there something that you’d like to talk about?
  • What can you and I do today to make this a good day? 

“Making sure there’s a feeling of mutual understanding and collaboration because that’s the key,” Boehm said. “The only way that’s going to improve the relationship is when it feels like two people are collaborating and two people are caring for each other.” 

Read More: 

How a sugar baby is handling the coronavirus pandemic, with an immunocompromised client and city-wide lockdowns

Teens give us their best advice on using social media to date while in quarantine

Transgender people are having to indefinitely postpone gender-affirming surgeries due to the coronavirus pandemic

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