While there have been some funny opinions about the divorce rate going up after this quarantine is over, over half of Americans polled by Monmouth University expect their romantic relationships will emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic even stronger. The percentage who say they are extremely satisfied with their relationship has remained largely unchanged. For example, past national polls say that people who are extremely satisfied with their relationship were at 57% in 2017, 58% in 2014, and is 59% currently. One Monmouth scholar whose research focuses on romantic relationships says these findings point to the resiliency of love.
While 59 percent say they are extremely satisfied with their relationships, an additional 33 percent are very satisfied. “It isn’t surprising that so many people are satisfied in their relationship. Our relationships are a key source of stability, and when the world feels uncertain, having your partner there to be your rock is assuring,” said Dr. Gary Lewandowski, professor of psychology at Monmouth University.
Quality time with loved ones balances stress
“It’s likely that couples are noticing little change because there is a combination of factors at play,” Lewandowski says. “The extra demands on the relationship — from managing work-life balance, home-schooling kids, and generally dealing with a global pandemic—are balanced out by more quality time with the ones we love.
“A couple steps back, another few forward, leaving us very close to where we started. Our relationships are amazingly resilient,” he says.
Most say arguments haven’t intensified
Stability is also evident in Covid-19’s negligible impact on how couples argue. At least 7 in 10 told pollsters the outbreak has not changed how often they argue, and 18 percent of those who did report a change say they get into fewer arguments. Only 10 percent say they are arguing more now. Some 17 percent say their overall relationship improved compared to only 5 percent who report it’s worse. And 77 percent said the pandemic has not changed their sex life.
Holding optimism for the future
Hope for the future is expressed by half of all Americans in a relationship who expect that their bond will emerge stronger after the outbreak. “Peoples’ optimism about how the outbreak will affect their relationship long-term is encouraging,” says Lewandowski. “Although the results likely represent some overconfidence by respondents, research shows that optimism benefits relationships.”
The psychologist notes optimists are better than pessimists at handling life’s difficulties and adds that outlook is “certainly helpful given the current situation.”
“In fact, as long as couples have at least one optimist, both partners enjoy higher relationship satisfaction, even when one partner is less hopeful,” he says.