Some have been able to work together to overcome obstacles presented by the situation in a way that actually allows them to improve and strengthen their relationship. Others have more simply thrived from constant togetherness without external obligations and distractions clouding their priorities.
Below, pros get specific about the ways in which couples in quarantine may actually be closer and happier than ever as a direct result of the largely otherwise stressful time.
1. Sharing chores leads to improved relationships
Pitching in more regularly and visibly with shared household duties can do wonders for the health of a relationship. “Working together on a joint goal can be very strengthening for a couple, and keeping the house clean can provide a great sense of accomplishment and organization that can make any couple feel more bonded,” says therapist and relationship expert, Jaime Bronstein, LCSW. “It’s important to work together in a relationship in order to have a strong relationship.”
2. Fewer distractions makes for more quality time…
Without the ability to make and see out endless plans to fill an entire year's worth of a social calendar, many are finding themselves without endless distractions from the outside world, allowing them to enjoy more quality time with their partner.
“When there are fewer distractions, a couple has more time and space to focus on one another and on the relationship itself.” —Jaime Bronstein, LCSW
Furthermore, if a couple shares common goals and interests (and given that they are in a relationship, it's likely they do), they can get closer and feel more connected by spending this time doing and working toward those things as a team. Common goals can facilitate common interests and teamwork. “When there are fewer distractions, a couple has more time and space to focus on one another and on the relationship itself,” says Bronstein.
3. …And more sex
Not having a commute to work, after-work plans, and y'know, just working from home period, can mean you might have a lot more time for sex—and that's likely great news for the frequency of sex you might be having. “With more time together, comes more intimacy. With an increased sense of intimacy can come more sexual encounters,” says Ellen J.W. Gigliotti, LMFT. “Couples who were rarely having sex before have now seemingly ‘rediscovered’ their joy in connection and those who were having sex before have redoubled their time and commitment.”
4. This time doubles as a reminder of their 'early days'
Life has likely sped up in myriad ways since the beginning of your relationship, which may have rendered those long date nights and lack of obligations a memory…until quarantine brought back a hint of that vibe.
“Time together and away from ‘normal’ life has brought many couples back to the way they were before they got together and ‘real’ life intervened. The same focus, intensity and delight they often employed early in their relationship has been renewed when they were forced to change their lifestyles completely and they rediscovered what they saw as truly important,” says Gigliotti.
Early markers of a relationship include time spent just talking, cooking together, doing home tasks together—all things that can easily become tedious and items to check off a to-do list. “The quarantine simultaneously made them value their relationship and gave them the time to explore how it could be wonderful again,” she adds.
5. Couples are supporting and finding support from one another
A not-great component of quarantine is that it's made staying connected to people you can't see in person difficult. So, without many of their non-partner supports, many couples in quarantine have been forced to seek new connection and security within their intimate partnerships.
“Fear, uncertainty, feelings of being overwhelmed—all of these have been ameliorated by the stronger couple bond, and there has been a sense of ‘the two of us against the world’ that is new and refreshing,” says Gigliotti.
6. More resilience
Many couples are feeling like more of a united team in quarantine, which can feed into a sense of resilience. “Naturally, when spending 24/7 together little things might come up more frequently that bother you or that need attending to, so it forces the couple to work through issues and conflicts, often resulting in more resilience,” says Bronstein.
Upon understanding that they can successfully work through, recover from, and move beyond challenges, couples in quarantine will find a newfound strength and resilience that’ll improve their relationship even more moving forward.
7. Greater gratitude
“You learn to show up authentically. Walls come down, and people end up being rawer and more honest than they were pre-quarantine,” says Bronstein.
As couples navigate this physical and emotional proximity, they stand to gain more compassion toward one another. “It gets very real in quarantine and gratitude for each other is revealed. It’s good to appreciate and feel grateful for one another because it breeds more love and understanding in the relationship, too,” she says.
When a person feels grateful, they feel heard, seen, and known for who they authentically are, and that reality can contribute to keeping the bond of any couple strong—in quarantine or not.
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