Survey Results: The Surprising Impact That COVID-19 Is Having On Relationships

May 07,2020

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the team here at VM Therapy has been working hard to produce content that is tailored to your changing needs during these challenging times.

So we decided to survey our community to see just how much the COVID-19 crisis has been impacting your relationships. 

Here’s the reality we’re living in: Nothing is normal right now. 

Our work lives are vastly different (if we are lucky enough to still have a job). 

Our social lives are almost entirely virtual at this point.

We’re spending every waking moment with our family or partner. 

We’re all feeling the tension of being at home for weeks on end. 

And all of this is of course affecting our relationships. So let’s take a look at our survey findings…

47% of people say their relationship has been harmed by COVID-19

We asked our community to rate the strength of their relationship both before the COVID-19 crisis, as well as in the present moment. 

47% reported that their relationships now are not as strong as they were pre-pandemic. 

I just want to point out that this makes a lot of sense. The anxious and scary energy of the world makes your home environment tense, as well. Things that may not have bothered you prior to the pandemic are now easy triggers for a full-blown argument. 

But it’s not all bad news…

While the majority of people reported a less stable relationship because of coronavirus, 26% reported no change in the strength of their relationship, and 27% actually reported having a STRONGER relationship because of Coronavirus! 

The #1 thing couples are struggling with is conflict

We went on to ask our community which areas of their relationships they were struggling with most – both before the pandemic and at the present moment. 

Of those who reported having less strong relationships because of COVID-19, the number one thing they are now struggling with is some form of conflict. 

This makes sense given all the extra time couples are spending with each other, but compelling nonetheless. 

It’s a major reason why we decided to launch the Relationship Care Package to help couples navigate these crazy-inducing times!

The #2 challenge is sex

Now this was really interesting…

Of those who reported having stronger relationships because of COVID-19, the number one thing they are struggling with is sex, intimacy, and libido. 

Maintaining a healthy sex life on a normal day can be tough, but add in all the tension and anxiety of lost jobs, arduous homeschooling, and the potential for life-threatening illness and it’s no wonder even strong couples are struggling to stay sexually satisfied. 

This data confirmed a lot of anecdotal evidence I have seen in my own private practice for many years.

Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? It’s a psychological concept that every human has a hierarchy of intrinsic needs that need to be met. Each tier of needs must be met in order for motivation and inspiration to climb to the next stage manifests. 

The results of our survey reminded me of this concept! 

A baseline of communication, security, and support must be established before a couple has the emotional, mental, and physical energy to explore their sex life together. 

And if their physical health or ability to provide food for their family is jeopardized? 

You can bet sex is the last thing on their minds.

What it all means

One of the biggest takeaways I got from going over this data was that we are all impacted by the current Coronavirus crisis in one way or another. There is no denying that it’s interrupting and upending all of our lives.

Unfortunately, this pandemic is not affecting everyone to the same capacity. 

If you have your basic needs met, with a strong foundation of food, shelter, a job, and a relationship, you may be able to harness your energy towards cultivating an even stronger relationship after this has ended.

But if you’re struggling in more ways than you can count, it’s OKAY if your relationship is suffering. It’s not at all out of the norm! 

Don’t take the strength of your relationship during COVID-19 as a sign that your relationship is doomed. Take it as a sign that you are working on surviving something unimaginable. 

And we’ll be here to support you in having the strength and tools to work towards a better relationship in the future.


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!