Yes, Your Relationship Can Survive the Pandemic, Says a New Study
COVID-19 has coined a lot of new terms—new normal, Zoom fatigue, social distancing—and one of them is the quarantine breakup. A quarantine breakup usually means one of two things: a relatively new relationship that has fizzled out, or an old relationship that has worn thin. While couples who were already living together had to face the newfound challenge of seeing each other 24/7, couples who weren’t living together were forced to confront the cracks in their relationship over Zoom video chat.
But while the strain of 24/7 pandemic togetherness was widely expected to take a negative toll on romance, a recent Homes.com survey of more than 1,000 “coupled” consumers suggests a different love story. It indicated that love has not only survived, but hit new heights during the virus outbreak. In fact, the majority of survey respondents reported that spending so much time confined at home with their significant other has actually bolstered their bond, often with the help of new routines, modified living spaces, and the addition of pets to the household.
When asked how spending more time together at home impacted their relationships, 63 percent reported they have become closer while navigating the ups and downs of quarantine. In some cases, that has included literal closeness, such as greater physical intimacy (11 percent), and/or the decision to have a child (5 percent).
Meanwhile, only 10 percent of those who are still together indicated that their relationship has suffered from the inability to socially distance from one another. And only 10 percent of those who started the pandemic in a relationship called it quits with their main squeeze during the last 11 months.
It even appears that the pandemic has sped up the progression of budding relationships. Nearly 10 percent of couples who lived apart before the pandemic moved in together over the last 11 months, with a roughly even split between dating and married twosomes. Eight out of 10 of the newly cohabiting partners reported the move has strengthened their relationship.
Not only have people adjusted their routines to carve out more alone time (which we all undoubtedly need), they’ve also set aside more together time (again, much needed). The top routine adjustments for couples are eating more meals together, scheduling TV or other date nights, and exercising together. A significant portion of couples (34 percent) have also tackled new home projects aimed at minimizing relationship conflicts, including the addition of a home office, home gym, and even room partitions to create separate spaces.
Another silver lining? The significant increase in pet adoptions. According to the study, 9 percent of people—including married couples, singles, and casual daters—have purchased or adopted a pet to take advantage of the extra time at home.
While this doesn’t change the fact that quarantine dating is really, really hard, it does offer a hopeful proposition that quarantined couples aren’t fated to become quarantine breakups after all.
“When COVID-19 first hit, relationship experts warned that the pressures of constant togetherness combined with anxiety about the virus itself could push some couples to the breaking point,” said Homes.com president David Mele. “While some relationships have understandably not withstood the weight of pandemic stress, our survey shows that most have become stronger and found ways to adjust their lives at home to the new normal. That personal resilience in the face of crisis may be one of the brightest spots in this pandemic.”
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