Love When Locked Down: How Is the Pandemic Affecting Relationship Satisfaction

We all know that the events in 2020 have dramatically affected the entire world. From lockdowns to medical scares to worries about employment, it’s been a rough year. Unfortunately, we all continue grappling with uncertainty over what the future will bring.

The pandemic has shifted nearly every area of our daily functioning. People are feeling increasingly anxious and depressed, and we may continue to experience long-term mental health repercussions from this year.

COVID-19 has also proven to be an enormous challenge for many couples. If you’re in a relationship, you’ve probably experienced increased tension and frustration. People are facing new issues, and many of them aren’t sure how to cope with the associated stress. Let’s get into some of the top problems affecting couples today.

Increased Financial Stress

Money problems can cause tension in even the most rock-solid relationships.  With that said, nearly half of Canadians report feeling less financially secure since the pandemic began, with young adults feeling the most anxious.

Money is such a personal and delicate issue. How you spend, save, and think about money reveals intimate patterns about your values. In many ways, your financial health has a direct impact on both your emotional and physical health.

If your money patterns clash with your partner’s, you may start becoming scared or resentful. You might find yourself avoiding important financial discussions or trying to control how your partner spends money. With the pandemic affecting job and financial security, the risk for arguments might be even more elevated.

Self-Care Deficits

Self-care refers to the deliberate actions we take to prioritize our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Self-care isn’t a luxurious indulgence- it’s a necessary ingredient for stress management. Without self-care, we risk burnout, fatigue, and health deterioration.

That said, self-care isn’t always easy. When you feel stressed, it’s tempting to suppress, avoid, or even numb the emotion. As a result, you might:

  • Self-medicate.
  • Overeat
  • Shop compulsively
  • Withdraw from friends or family.
  • Self-harm.

It’s no secret that those responses can wreak havoc on your self-esteem. But they can also erode your relationship satisfaction. Being unable to sit and cope with uncomfortable emotions can make it extremely difficult for you to feel safe and supported by another person.

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Too Much Time Spent Together

Although it may seem counterintuitive, spending excess time with your partner can backfire. That’s because quantity doesn’t translate to quality.

If you and your partner are both working from home, the relationship can quickly resemble a roommate dynamic rather than an intimate connection. Think about it. Are you changing out of your pajamas? Are you both making an effort to engage in stimulating conversation? Likewise, if you’ve been quarantined, do you even have anything to talk about?

Disagreements About Safety

Many couples have differing views about how to handle the pandemic. For example, you may feel more cautious about going out and socializing. Your partner, on the other hand, might not think COVID-19 is that big of a deal.

Of course, everyone’s risk tolerance is different. But moving beyond risk tolerance, the pandemic has heightened nearly every emotion. We’re scared, angry, confused, and bored. We don’t necessarily know all the right things to do. But when you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye, this discrepancy can exacerbate these complicated emotions.

Parenting Stress

If you and your partner have children, you already know how this pandemic has elevated everyone’s stress in the home. Maybe you spent months juggling working while homeschooling or supporting distance learning. Perhaps you’re dealing with antsy children who don’t understand the severity of COVID-19.

Parenting is already challenging, but a pandemic certainly throws more fire into the arena. You and your partner might be competing for quality time together. You might also be desperate for alone time, although that may seem impossible if everyone’s under the same roof.

Final Thoughts

Most couples don’t anticipate a global pandemic interfering with their relationship satisfaction. However, that’s our reality now.

If you and your partner are struggling to connect- or if you are concerned that things are rapidly declining- it may be time to reach out for support. Therapy can help you both strengthen your communication, restore trust, and rekindle happiness. 

Find out how we can help, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Pareen Sehat MC, RCC

Pareen Sehat MC, RCC

Pareen’s career began in Behaviour Therapy, this is where she developed a passion for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approaches. Following a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology she pursued a Master of Counselling. Pareen is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. She specializes in CBT and Lifespan Integrations approaches to anxiety and trauma. She has been published on major online publications such as - Yahoo, MSN, AskMen, PsychCentral, Best Life Online, and more.

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