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Learning to live with others amid coronavirus-related disruptions to daily life

Last Updated Jun 9, 2020 at 7:21 am PST

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Pandemic has disrupted routines that act as buffers, coping mechanisms when it comes to living with others

Expert says when people can't escape or do much to get out of the house, the challenges are laid bare

Expert says it's important to keep communication open, especially when COVID-19 measures are keeping people home

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It can be challenging to live with someone in the best of times, but it appears the COVID-19 crisis has made things even harder for some people.

Whether it’s your family, a significant other, or a roommate, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the routines that act as buffers or coping mechanisms for those sharing living arrangements.

Robyn Pitman, a family relations counsellor and lecturer at UBC, says when people can’t escape to the gym, the beach, to visit a friend, or otherwise get out of the house, the challenges are laid bare.

“When we remove those structural supports, there may be things about the other person that we were not aware of,” she explains. “So, what is happening with the pandemic is it’s amplifying that situation.”

Pitman says figuring out what works for everyone isn’t a one-time conversation.

“You have to renegotiate everything. Noise, space, who’s working where, who takes breaks, what time can everyone make noise again, who is making lunch or dinner? What does that look like?”

She suggests checking in with each other regularly as you adjust and implement new routines. Pitman also recommends open lines of communication to address issues head on when they arise