Most relationships are surviving and thriving in pandemic, poll finds
Most relationships are surviving the change in circumstances created by the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a new Monmouth University poll.
The poll finds that 74% of Americans say their relationship has not changed since the coronavirus outbreak. Of those who did report an outbreak-related change in their relationship, 70% say the outbreak has not affected how often they argue and 77% say their sex life has not changed. About 59% say they are extremely satisfied with their relationship. Only 1% said they were not at all satisfied.
Gary Lewandowski, a Monmouth University psychology professor, said he is not surprised that many people are satisfied in their relationship. While stress can be bad for relationships, "we also know that our relationships are a key source of support. So when we're sheltering in place we're sheltering in place with the person who we love and is hopefully our best friend."
The poll found that 18% of couples are arguing less. And 9% said their sex life has improved during the pandemic while 5% said it's gotten worse.
While most couples reported no major changes in their stress levels, the poll found that 1 in 4 couples said their relationship increased the amount of stress they were experiencing. Lewandowsky said that was the only sliver of concerning news found in the survey.
"But for a lot of folks, this extra time, the great pause we're experiencing is allowing us to kind of slow down our lives in a lot of ways and really focus on what matters," he said.
About 29% of women have increased stress because of their relationship during the pandemic versus 23% of men. Older adults are dealing with stress better, which is not surprising, said Lewandowski, because they've had more opportunities in their relationship to deal with stress.
Looking ahead, there is good news: 51% of American couples said they believe their relationship will emerge stronger from the pandemic while 46% think their relationship will be unchanged.
Lewandowski said that even when people are shaken by events beyond their control, their relationships are resilient and a lot stronger than they might think.