ISTANBUL

Couples might hit a rough patch during self-isolation in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown. But a psychologist says time spent indoors could provide a window of opportunity to strengthen the relationship.

Dr. Rrita Krespi Ulgen says partners could suffer from anxiety and angst due to the psychological effects of the lockdown, resulting in arguments that could grow into fights.

According to Ulgen, couples should refrain from blaming one another and build their relationship on empathy, communication and respecting personal differences.

“Let’s communicate, learn to listen to our partners and have empathy,” she said, adding embracing differences would enhance the relationship.

Given the fact that couples have no other option than to stay at home, she said they should respect personal space and spend time in separate rooms.

“Let’s protect our physical and mental health and pay attention to our nutrition and sleeping pattern,” she said.

She called on partners to be affectionate toward each other, saying this is a “contagious” feeling.

The expert noted couples should set common goals and work together to achieve them.

The novel coronavirus has spread to 185 countries and regions since emerging in China last December.

More than 2.48 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll over 171,000 and recoveries near 656,000, according to data compiled by the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University.

Read more: How can couples turn virus crisis into opportunity?