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Clinical, Covid, Health and wellbeing, Mental health, Sex and Gender

Covid-19 and intimate relationships: The complicated impact of ongoing lockdowns

To help those in relationships, and single people looking for new connections, to cope with the effects of lockdowns and restrictions on personal, intimate and sexual relationships

22 December 2020

This guidance, written by the Division of Clinical Psychology's Faculty for HIV and Sexual Health, includes tips and advice for people who are in a relationship, or actively seeking new connections. 

A survey commissioned by the BPS into relationships during the Covid-19 pandemic, surprisingly showed that 87% of people in a relationship said they have enjoyed the time they’ve spent with their partner since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK (March 2020), with 84% saying they have felt supported by their partner, and 79% saying they have felt emotionally connected.

86% of people said they are looking forward to spending the Christmas period with their partner.

The YouGov survey of 2,100 adults in the UK, undertaken prior to Saturday’s announcement on new Covid-19 restrictions over the festive period, revealed a surprisingly positive snapshot into relationships during the Covid-19 pandemic, and indicates that despite the unique challenges relationships have faced, many couples have been able to weather the storm together.

Perhaps less surprisingly, the results show that single people looking for a relationship during the pandemic have struggled, with 79% saying they hadn’t found it easy to meet new people since lockdown started, and 90% saying they had experienced loneliness. 

The survey also found that, among those in a relationship, more than one quarter (27%) said they have experienced feelings of loneliness in their relationship with their partner since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK, and just over half (53%) said they had felt sexually connected with their partner.

The findings of this survey offer a small snapshot of the UK’s relationship experiences since the start of the UK lockdown and victims of domestic abuse may have been suffering in silence.

Download the guideline