NORFOLK, VA (February 4, 2021) — The strain of 24/7 pandemic togetherness was widely expected to take a heavy toll on romantic relationships, but a Homes.com survey of more than 1,000 “coupled” consumers indicates that love has not only survived but also hit new heights during the virus outbreak. The majority of survey respondents reported that spending so much time confined at home with their significant other has actually bolstered their bond, often with the help of new routines, modified living spaces and even the addition of pets to the household.
When asked how spending more at-home time together affected their relationships, 63% reported they have become closer while navigating the ups and downs of quarantine. In some cases, that has included literal closeness such as greater physical intimacy (11%) and/or the decision to have a child (5%). Just 10% of those who are still together indicated that their relationship has suffered from the inability to socially distance from each other.
Meanwhile, only 10% of those who started the pandemic in a relationship called it quits with their main squeeze during the last 11 months. A slight majority of the dating breakups (53%) and over a third of marital breakups (36%) occurred among respondents younger than 35.
The survey also found that:
- Nearly 10% of couples who lived apart before the pandemic moved in together over the last 11 months, with a roughly even split between dating and married twosomes. Eight out of 10 of the newly cohabiting partners reported the move has strengthened their relationship.
- 29% say the #1 pandemic-related strain on their relationship is the inability to spend time with friends and family, with the constraints on travel and entertainment running a close second (28%). Insufficient alone time (11%), the need to manage e-learning for children (10%), financial challenges (10%) and splitting household chores (5%) are also causing conflict.
- 9% have purchased or adopted a pet to take advantage of the extra time at home, and that isn’t limited to married couples living under the same roof. 19% of new dog and/or cat parents are dating exclusively, 6% are casually dating, and 7% decided to become pet owners after a pandemic breakup.
- 57% have adjusted their routines to carve out alone time that has been lost because of work-from-home policies and other virus restrictions. The top routine adjustments are exercising alone (17% of responses), dividing the days into “alone” and “together” time (17%), and having a dedicated space to work separately (17%). Other strategies included watching different TV shows (15%) and starting a new hobby (12%).
- 56% have also adjusted their routines to create more together time. The top routine adjustments for couples are eating more meals together (29%), scheduling TV or other date nights (16%), and regular exercise together (9%). Starting a new hobby together ranked at 8%, while doing volunteer activities together came in at 6%.
- 34% of couples have modified their homes to minimize relationship conflicts. The top changes among this group were the addition of a home office (41%), home gym (23%) and outdoor recreational space (22%). Also, 19% created a dedicated space for hobbies, and 11% partitioned a room to create separate spaces.
“When COVID-19 first hit, relationship experts warned that the pressures of constant togetherness combined with anxiety about the virus itself could push some couples to the breaking point,” said Homes.com President David Mele. “While some relationships have understandably not withstood the weight of pandemic stress, our survey shows that most have become stronger and found ways to adjust their lives at home to the new normal. That personal resilience in the face of crisis may be one of the brightest spots in this pandemic.”
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