The Secret Benefit of Quarantine You Didn't See Coming

Relationships are emerging from lockdown stronger—and sexier—than ever, survey says.

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While it may not have been your first worry when the pandemic began, the impact of quarantine on your relationship has likely been an ongoing concern during the last few months in lockdown. Articles about the pressures and problems relationships have faced because of the coronavirus were everywhere from The New York Times to Cosmopolitan—and predictions were generally pretty grim. But as it turns out, those may have been overly pessimistic. A new poll found that more than half of couples in the U.S. say their relationship will actually emerge from quarantine stronger than ever.

Monmouth University polled 808 randomly chosen adults at the beginning of May, 556 of whom were either married, living with a partner, or in some other kind of "non-cohabitating romantic relationship." Based on responses to various questions regarding their love life, the Monmouth team found that 51 percent of participants said their relationship will emerge stronger once lockdown is lifted—with 28 percent saying it will have gotten a lot stronger and 23 percent predicting a little stronger. In addition, 59 percent of respondents said they were "extremely satisfied" with their relationship, while 33 percent were "very satisfied."

Couple looking at laptop in kitchen smiling
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"It isn't surprising that so many people are satisfied in their relationship," Gary Lewandowski, PhD, a professor of psychology at Monmouth University, commented on the university's website. "Our relationships are a key source of stability, and when the world feels uncertain, having your partner there to be your rock is assuring."

When specifically asked how lockdown had changed their relationships, an overwhelming 74 percent of people said that it had no impact at all. Of those who did experience changes, more said they were of a positive nature than those who said things had gotten worse—17 percent versus 5 percent, respectively.

"It's likely that couples are noticing little change because there is a combination of factors at play," Lewandowski said. "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."

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The majority of survey respondents also found that their sex lives had improved in lockdown versus those who said it had worsened. In a similar fashion, the portion of respondents who said that they now argued less with their partner outweighed those who said arguments had increased.

Even with positive results across the board, however, Lewandowski did offer one caveat. "Peoples' optimism about how the outbreak will affect their relationship long-term is encouraging. Although the results likely represent some overconfidence by respondents, research shows that optimism benefits relationships," he said. "In fact, as long as couples have at least one optimist, both partners enjoy higher relationship satisfaction, even when one partner is less hopeful. Optimists handle life's rough patches better, which is certainly helpful given the current situation." For more on managing love during lockdown, check out 17 Quarantine Marriage Tips from Relationship Experts.

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