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Posted on 03/31/2021

5 Ways the Pandemic Has Affected Relationships

5 Ways the Pandemic Has Affected Relationships

The pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of life in one way or another, including our relationships. Almost overnight, most people had to drastically change their lifestyles, which impacted relationship dynamics with family, friends, and romantic partners. Some people saw their relationships strengthen over the course of the pandemic, and others were pushed into conflict. 

If your relationships feel different due to the global health crisis, you're not alone. Here are five common ways people have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: 

1. Increased Quality Time

For some families and couples who live together, the increase in time spent with one another has been incredibly meaningful. Even if you live with your partner, you may feel like you don't get enough time with them if you both have busy schedules. The pandemic forced many people to start working remotely, which was an opportunity for some to see a new side of their partners. Also, with fewer businesses open, couples spent more time simply hanging out at home.

With extra time at home, some couples and families found new routines to share together. These little moments throughout the day can bring people together and make relationships stronger, healthier, and more compassionate. 

2. Too Much Time Together

While the extra time together has been great for some couples, others have seriously struggled with spending all their time at home. It can be helpful and healthy to have time apart from your partner at work, with friends, or while engaging in your hobbies. Some people found that losing their other social resources and suddenly spending so much extra time at home took a toll on their relationship.

When you're constantly around your partner or a family member, you may notice quirks or habits that you didn't see before. Even seemingly small behaviors can start to become majorly frustrating when you're exposed to them all the time. 

3. Opportunities for Support

The pandemic has been unimaginably stressful. Everyone has had to adjust to a new way of living, and the anxiety, uncertainty, and lack of control has led to emotional struggles for many. However, this has also given some couples an opportunity to see how the relationship functions during a crisis.

As the pandemic continues to cause unprecedented challenges, many people have discovered strengths in their partners that they had never seen before. While no one wants to experience these hardships, seeing your partner successfully navigate these challenges can foster a stronger sense of love and respect. You want to be with someone who makes you feel supported during difficult times, and for some couples, the pandemic has confirmed that the relationship is strong enough to withstand these stressors. 

4. Stress and Anxiety

There are countless reasons why the pandemic has caused mental and emotional health issues. Families are facing grief after losing loved ones, and many people are impacted by unemployment or underemployment. Anxiety and depression have both become far more prevalent due to social isolation, fear of catching or spreading the virus, and other stressful situations. 

Unfortunately, these emotional struggles can negatively affect any relationship. Even if the stress has nothing to do with the relationship, this constant tension and worry can make it difficult to communicate your needs or resolve conflicts before they escalate. Many couples and families have felt on edge throughout the pandemic, which has made their relationships more vulnerable.

5. Difficulty Dating

Couples who live together may have struggled with the proximity during the pandemic, but partners who don't live together face the opposite problem. Social distancing guidelines have made it much harder to connect with people who aren't in your immediate household. Video calls and socially distanced meetings are good options for couples who live apart, but the lack of contact has been devastating for many people.

Those who aren't in a committed relationship but want to date have struggled during this time, too. Many people chose to stop dating altogether for the sake of social distancing, and those that continued found that their options for date locations were severely limited due to mandated closures in public places.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused both positive and negative relationship changes. You may feel like self-isolation has brought you closer to the people in your household, or you may feel like the stress of the situation has caused a rift in your relationship. Remember that the pandemic is an unprecedented crisis and that experiencing stress and anxiety during this time is valid. What's most important is that you take care of yourself and your mental health.

Marriage Friendly Therapists offers trained and experienced mental health professionals for couples counseling and individual counseling in almost every state. If you would like to find one in your state then use the search bar at the top of this page. We are also looking for more mental health professionals in many areas, if you are interested in helping more clients then click on the For Therapists menu bar choice above to see if this would be a good fit for you.

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