Love on Lock: the pandemic's impact on romantic relationships

The pandemic hasn't been easy on love, impacting divorce and marriage rates. 

"The vast majority of the people are at home with their partner all day long and that is very challenging," says Ava Pommerenk, San Francisco Intimacy and Sex Therapy Center.

Those challenges could lead to the end of a new or old romantic relationship.

"The stress of having to balance so many different things at once. Couples are sort of in a situation they’ve never been in before," says Stephanie Macadaan, Renewed Relationships Counseling Group. 

Divorce attorney, Yvonne Seely, says when the pandemic hit she received a flood of calls. 

It was like a light switch went on," Seely says. 

"For a lot of couples the pandemic just put a spotlight on their problems and they made the decision to end the relationship and move on," says Seely, Seeley Family Law Practice.

Statics have suggested an increase in divorces nationwide and a drop in marriages. Weddings have been either postponed or canceled.

Newlyweds Sarh and Alexander Mathias made it down the aisle but under less than desirable circumstances.

"So my dad came and my mom was just way across the street with binoculars trying to see the whole ceremony," Sarah said. 

The two got hitched at a courthouse in August and were only allowed one person at the ceremony. Six months later and the two are surviving the pandemic with a little love and tenderness, and plenty of space.

"We knew we had to get a two bedroom and we’ve never made a better decision," said Sarah. 

Though the pandemic has made romantic relationships complicated, it hasn't completely stomped out love.

"It just forced us to really kind of say ok let’s be creative," says Daniel Alpher. 

He and his wife, Faith, have been married for 23 years. And yes, the pandemic has been hard for them too.

"You do end up getting on each other’s nerves a little bit more because it is intense cause you’re in together," says Daniel.

"Sometimes you got one nerve and you could be riding on that," adds Faith. 

But, they began to turn everyday into a special day like Valentine's day and really that's what relationship therapists tell me is key. Stacy Lee of The Couples Institute adds this important reminder: always keep gratitude and appreciation at the forefront. 

"If you can just turn to each other and both express that it can be really helpful in reconnecting," Lee says. 

For couples seeking to reconnect, Macadaan also shares these three tips: share some form of daily physical contact, always respond to your partner when they reach out, and commit to a random act of kindness once a week.