coronavirus pandemic

Lovers' Quarrel: Has the Pandemic Helped, Hurt or Completely Busted Your Relationship?

Has the coronavirus pandemic put a new kind of stress on your relationship, or did it uncover problems that existed before it started? A relationship therapy expert says she's seen all of the above

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NBC 7’s Dave Summers spoke to lovers and a love expert about the pandemic’s impact on relationships.

The uncertainty of the pandemic, along with tensions associated with lockdowns and limited social contact, has taken its toll not only on us as individuals, but on our relationships, too.

Some experts say they've seen an increase in divorces and relational stress since the start of the pandemic. They believe COVID-19 revealed some of the underlying issues our relationships had before the pandemic. Some of the biggest arguments were about the disease itself, vaccinations, restrictions and isolation.

COVID-19 caused tremendous loss of lives, jobs and is exacting an emotional toll. Now being realized.

Marine Emily King's 2-and-a-half-year relationship ended during the pandemic. She was deployed to Spain and the virus kept her there longer than expected.

"He was worried about everything. I was worried about everything. Couldn’t get home. We were stuck in our rooms with the same three people all day, every day. We couldn’t get home to our families, and being there when everyone else was stressed out," King said.

Life and relationship coach Haleh Gianni said the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic have pushed many relationships to the breaking point.

"With the pandemic, having to have to be there together, all of the sudden we put each other under the microscope. Every detail, every nuance. The things that get under our skin now are in our face," Gianni said.

And, according to Gianni, the problems aren’t always with the other person.

"Nothing is worse than being in a toxic state mentally, emotionally or physically, and still expect to have a good relationship out there," she said. "Some people put a pause on the whole dating world. They want to now, they are eager."

Logan Posey, also a Marine, and her boyfriend have managed to keep it together through the pandemic, so far. It wasn’t easy or perfect spending work hours and leisure time together.

"I learned what my own stressors were. The things that irritated me, about things he was doing and then opening up about our communication, too," Posey said.

The communication Posey and her boyfriend unlocked is part of Gianni's suite of advice.

"Space, tolerance, communication, being open with one another and not so resistance-based," Gianni said. "When we take care of ourselves we are better partners, we are better individuals, we are better members of the community.

The news isn’t all grim, though. Gianni said the pandemic in some ways has brought many families closer together through the power of social media and technology, including virtual gatherings and events.