Passion, intimacy in couples took a hit post Covid lockdown
New Delhi, Sep 9 : Relationship satisfaction, love, intimacy, and passion significantly dipped post Covid-induced lockdowns, compared with the pre-lockdown period, among both dating and married couples in India, finds a study.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, among its other psychosocial effects, has also tested intimate relationships. The danger of infection, death, and uncertainty was coupled with forced proximity in the case of marriage and physical distance in the case of individuals in a dating relationship.
The study, by Lady Shri Ram College for Women at Delhi University, included 100 participants (65 dating, 35 married) who were surveyed in two waves, first in January-March, and then in May after the lockdown.
The results, published in journal Family Relations, showed that commitment among those who were dating remained unaffected.
For those who were dating, watching movies together, and revisiting old memories were activities associated with love. For married couples, doing household chores, cooking, and watching movies together were associated with love.
"Love in relationships has been a collateral damage to Covid-19. How couples spent time with each other is the key to maintain love. Watching movies together, reminiscing positive experiences, and sharing housework led to better connectedness," said Kanika K. Ahuja, doctoral student at LSR.
On the other hand, expectedly, arguing and disagreeing with one's partner was negatively associated with love post-lockdown. Some even expressed that the partner had negative qualities like being selfish or emotionally immature, for example, that they had not noticed earlier.
Parenting was another area where women complained about lack of participation by fathers, as seen from the participants' responses to the open-ended questions.
"While it is widely believed that the way through a man's heart is through his stomach, our results suggest that a similar route exists for women as well, provided men want to take that route! Norms that define a relationship, particularly with regard to participation in domestic work by men must be revisited to adjust to the new normal," said Ahuja.
Practitioners who work with couples must focus on ways in which couples spend quality time with each other. Norms that define a relationship, particularly with regard to participation in domestic work by men, must be revisited to adapt to the new normal, the team suggested.