What state is your relationship in? Has lockdown affected you as a couple? Do you feel your emotions are yo-yoing at the moment? Are you constantly looking for someone to argue with?
If you’re a regular viewer of ITV’s This Morning, you’ve probably heard of psychologist, TV presenter and expert media commentator, Emma Kenny.
We asked Emma whether our feelings are normal? Why are we all f’ing and blinding more than normal? How do we address our heightened emotions?
True to her roots, Emma’s answers are straight to the point, BS free and honest.
‘First and foremost it’s crucial to acknowledge these feelings are normal. Normal for the circumstances we’re living in. Without delving too deeply into the ‘clinical’, our brains have been hugely affected. Over the last five months, the area of the brain that helps rationalise has shut down. Instinct has taken over.’
We are living in an escalation of fear. We need to escape the fear but we’re stuck on ‘fight’ mode. There is no flight option. Our natural coping mechanism is to get something sorted. But we can’t.’
So where can all this adrenaline go? A relationship, drinking, eating, exercise? Out the window when it comes to sex?
Emma nutshells three scenarios that can help refocus our mental health.
We’ve all done it. Pointed the finger. Projected our anxiety onto someone else. Expected more when something hasn’t met our expectations. Yelled for the sake of yelling the felt like crap for losing it. Used sex (or lack of), as a punishment.
Emma explains that instead of saying “you make me feel” replace it with “I feel”. Take responsibility for your own emotions. Own it.
Give it a go now. Instantly you’re not projecting onto your partner or shifting the responsibility of your emotions onto them. Instead, you are communicating your own feelings logically and efficiently.
What About Sex & Communication?
Communication is SO important in a sexual relationship, loving or just recreational.
Maybe one of you wants to experiment? Perhaps one of you wants to bring in a fantasy? So how do you communicate it?
Expect that you might feel embarrassed or shy, and out of your comfort zone. You may be testing your personal boundaries in a mega way. It’s a risk laying your sexual cards on the table! The fear of this risk builds courage and confidence. If your partner understands and loves you, the chances are she or he will be up for it! So, take a deep breath, take that risk and run with it!
Blurting out a sexual desire might begin by feeling a little weird. Who hasn’t wanted the ground to swallow them up having voiced a little kinky fantasy? But, let’s make sex and sexual communication part and parcel of our everyday language. Why shouldn’t it be? It’s all for the greater good, right?!
Working From Home & Relationships
Working from home together can be very testing for any relationship, no matter how much you love them! Let’s just say it certainly wasn’t included in marriage vows or relationship expectations! You can very easily drive each other round the bend. Except there’s been no bloody bend to escape to.
Arguments might flare up and you might feel that this just isn’t going to work. These are all real feelings and it can be understandably frustrating and exhausting. But it is possible to re-frame yourselves, either as a couple or within a family unit.
So how do you delegate out the roles?
Emma says that they don’t need to be equal roles; just play to each of your strengths. Why should someone suddenly become the master chef if they’re crap at cooking? Sit down every evening, express what’s worked and, what hasn’t, (using ‘I feel’ not ‘you make me feel’), and then gently re-structure.
Put your hand up if you’ve had a moment where you’ve ranked your job more important than your partners? We’ve all done it. Put your hand up if you’ve made your procrastination more important than everyone else’s? Again, we’ve all done it. Emma warns of the perils of letting this continue.
“Escalation and conflict in a relationship come from a position of blame. When you blame someone, the natural state of an animal is to defend itself. We get angry or withdraw. Nothing is resolved”.
Resentment is so powerful. The mindset where you believe someone is doing something in a way they shouldn’t? So deeply toxic. It’s crucial to adjust your thinking. Ask the question; ‘How do you feel’? And ‘What can I do better’? You’re then moving in the same direction.
How to Re- kindle Your sex Drive?
Sex life experiencing a drought? Totally normal. Or is it? Is it sex that’s the problem or the sex that you’re having that’s the issue? Emma says get checked out! If you’ve experienced a shift in your libido, it might be down to something else. Iron/hormones/diet all can play a part. Can you change anything? Drinking/diet/exercise all impact how you feel physically.
Or maybe you feel overwhelmed by the idea of ‘performing’? We’re all knackered, even the idea of a quickie can lead vaginas to shut their doors and penises to recoil in terror.
Here are a few tips to reframe your thinking:-
- Have a quickie every day.
Better than building it up into what you think needs to be a porn movie-equivalent performance. Quick and to the point works just fine!
- Express your fantasies.
Women can be problematic in this area, we can have wild imaginations whilst not liking the idea of vocalising it. Vocalise it!
- Masturbate together.
Pleasure yourselves in front of each other. You’re both then involved in the experience without either feeling like they need to go the extra mile. If you need tips then have a read here!
Emma’s overriding message is we need to acknowledge this is a blip in the road. There are constraints on us, but these will come to an end. In the meantime, address the ‘now’ in your relationships and re-frame and communicate the blips you are experiencing. And try and have fun in the process!
As ever, if you would like further advice from Emma Kenny, then do reach out to us.
I am Georgie, Director of customer Services at Killing Kittens, first point of contact for our 100,000 members, problem solver, occasional writer of bits and bobs. Lover of wellington boots, mummy to 2 amazing little people.