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"I broke off my engagement": 9 women share how isolation has changed their relationships.

Content warning: This article mentions miscarriage and mental health issues, and may be triggering for some readers.

The women in this story are known to Mamamia but all names have been changed for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo.

Right now, we’re all weathering the same coronavirus storm. But not all of us are in the same boat.

One aspect of our lives that’s changed dramatically in the last few months is our relationships. Friendships, yes. Family, certainly. But what about our romantic relationships?

When Mamamia spoke to Aussie women about the impact isolation has had on their relationships, the answers were as varied as they are.

For some, living in isolation with their partner has had a hugely positive impact on their relationship. Others have found spending so. much. time. together. has brought out different sides in each other they hadn’t seen before.

And inevitably, there are the relationships that have ended, either as collateral damage directly from the virus, or because this situation has brought up things lurking beneath the surface.

Below, nine women share how coronavirus has impacted their relationships. The good, the bad, the sad and the sex.

WATCH: Here’s how the different horoscropes might be dealing with isolation relationship issues, is yours accurate? Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

1. Gina.

I started dating my new partner about six weeks before the lockdown. Things were progressing pretty quickly, but once we heard we had to self-isolate, potentially for months, we made the call to isolate together with our kids (we each have a son from previous marriages). It could have spelt disaster for a new relationship, but we’re totally in love and are now planning to move in together for real.

The lockdown has pushed the fast-forward button on our relationship, as normally we’d still be going out for dates, socialising with friends and family and taking the cohabitation part a bit more slowly but we’ve been forced just to spend time with each other and our kids. And it’s been amazing! I went from full hair and makeup and pretty dresses, to no makeup, messy mum-bun and activewear in lightening speed, and he still loves me.

2. Amelia.

Last month, I discovered I was pregnant to a guy I’d been seeing for only a few months. This was a big shock and due to various factors, I decided to terminate the pregnancy. I was able to get the last remaining appointment in my regional town as isolation for coronavirus was in the early stages then. Late afternoon the day before the appointment, the clinic called and said the doctor who was meant to be flying in had cancelled all appointments indefinitely due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. They could only fit me into an appointment in the city the following day. It was an extremely stressful and emotional time for my partner and me, but we got through it.

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A week later, my partner and I had a huge argument, which brought up some concerns for both of us. Our relationship ended, and a big contributing factor was the compounded stress of coronavirus uncertainty with work and money. On top of that, we were still recovering from the stress of the week before. Today, a month later, I saw him for the first time since we broke up — we had a good chat and cleared up our feelings. We’re not back together, but it was very healing to talk to him properly and leave things on a more peaceful note.

I will never forget this period of time for all the emotions; it’s been a hell of a month. Oh, and my birthday was smack bang in the middle of it!

3. Helen.

We’ve been married 20 years and are isolating together with our amazing 14-year-old. However, the old sex life is suffering. Usually, our daughter is very social and stays the night at friends’ houses for sleepovers. When she’s not here is the time we have to ourselves. But now, there are no sleepovers or playdates or shopping days, and she doesn’t go to bed until 10pm, or even later in the holidays, so it’s been a VERY dry spell. We’ve got a small house with thin walls, and having sex with the possibility of her hearing just mortifies me. We’re looking forward to sleepovers starting up again for her, and sex for us.

LISTEN: Mia Freedman interviews author and relationships expert Tracey Cox about her advice and stories for every woman’s sexual appetite on the No Filter podcast. Post continues after audio.

4. Madeleine.

Three weeks ago, I left my eight-year relationship. We have a beautiful three-year-old girl together, we are engaged. Well, I guess we were engaged. I’m currently living between my dad and brother’s places, and my ex and I are sharing time with our daughter one night on, one night off. It’s been the toughest and most emotionally draining thing I’ve experienced. I’m racked with guilt, sadness and hopelessness.

We’ve had our problems for years, but something about this pandemic and everything that has come along with it made me realise we only live once, we better make it good. What’s the point if we aren’t truly happy? I also turned 35 in March and something about the iso birthday shined a bright light on the reality of my life. I asked myself, am I truly never going to feel butterflies, passion, trust, and burning desire ever again? The answer was no, and I knew it was now or never.

I’m scared to death, but also feel like I’m finding the old me again. I’m listening to music again. I’m focusing on me and my little one. There’s no more stressing over my partner’s battles. I’ve held on for so, so long for him to get help, but I just can’t sit around and wait anymore. I feel proud for making the hard decision. I always felt I would be too gutless.

5. Sarah.

I’m unable to see much of my partner as we don’t live together and I’m immuno-suppressed, and he still works and lives with three others who are still working. It has been difficult, as existing relationship struggles aren’t taking a break, and we are unable to hold each other or be together to get through this time. I’ve been trying to make an effort to ensure we are still connected on a deeper level than ‘what did you eat today?’, but unfortunately, our daily timelines are different (I eat dinner while he drives home, and I’m going to sleep when he eats dinner).

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We have worked through the New York Times‘ 36 Questions That Lead To Love, and I’ve downloaded some card decks with prompts for connection. Most of our relationship outside of that now revolves around cooking food for each other, and him driving into my basement to swap goodies. It’s not easy, and it’s not very fun for me being alone while his life has barely changed, but it’s the way it needs to be right now.

6. Angela.

We’ve been married for six years and have two toddlers. Now, because of COVID-19 and staying home, we’re having sex every day… sometimes multiple times. As soon as we put them to bed, quickly while they eat their breakfast. I’m having a bloody awesome time.

7. Linda.

My partner and I had just started talking about maybe moving in together when COVID isolation came into play. We decided to isolate together in my tiny two-bedroom apartment. He is working from home and has set up an office in my lounge room, I’m a healthcare worker in a hospital so I’m still working face-to-face. But outside of me being at work during the day, it’s definitely the most time we’ve gone with no time apart at all, and it’s been GREAT!!!!

On evenings and weekends, we have shows we watch together and activities we love to do together like painting and cooking/baking, and we’ve even dragged out his old Nintendo Wii! Then we have stuff we do separately – he has his computer games and likes to go for bike rides, and I have shows I watch that he isn’t into, and books and craft. We’ve also been trying to go for a walk together to get air once a day or at least every couple of days.

In that whole time, we haven’t said so much as one snappy word to each other. I’ve really loved having him around 24/7 and it’s actually been reassuring that moving in together after this is all over is the right decision.

8. Jess.

Spending so much time together at home, with the added stress of homeschooling the kids, I’m finding there are a lot of things I just don’t like about my partner that much. Particularly, his know-it-all attitude. It won’t end our relationship, but bickering and arguing just makes for an uncomfortable existence. At least I won’t have to worry about getting pregnant this month.

9. Anna.

I don’t think this situation has changed anything about my relationship, but it has made me appreciate more just how amazing my partner is. Like all of us, I’ve been feeling quite the mix of emotions. He’s ridden the waves, anticipated what I needed at certain times, and just been an absolute rock. When he had a wobble last week, it was nice to be able to return the favour.

Feature image: Getty.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you’re based in Australia, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636. If you or someone you care about is living with family violence please call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.

What effect is coronavirus having on your relationship? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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