How’s your love life during these stay-at-home times? Not to get personal, but Sunday is Valentine’s Day. Besides, getting in the middle of your home life is what I do.
I’m asking because, when the pandemic hit, relationship experts warned that the pressures of constant togetherness combined with virus anxiety could push some couples to the breaking point.
I can’t believe she’s wearing those yoga pants again. If he wears that Denver Broncos T-shirt one more day, I’m going to tear it to shreds. How can anyone get work done with that TV on? His stuff is everywhere. Her phone calls never end. I wish he would shave. I wish she would shave. I cannot take this one more day! And — poof! — there goes the magic.
Homes.com, a home-searching service that polls consumers every February on some aspect of love and home, conducted a pandemic-themed survey this year. The company asked more than 1,000 “coupled” consumers of all ages whether spending more time at home together was helping or hurting their love lives and what changes they’d made in their homes to cope.
The results are in, and Cupid would be pleased: 63% said that spending more time at home, even under less-than-great circumstances, had improved their relationships. Only 10% said their relationships had suffered.
“We were pleasantly surprised,” said director of consumer marketing Gillian Luce, who led the survey. “We went into the survey expecting to find trouble. We anticipated that living in tight quarters under stressors from the outside world would have had a negative impact on relationships. But, for the most part, we found love is conquering, if not all, an awful lot.”
One way couples have adjusted to the new abnormal is by making home improvements. The survey found that one in three couples had made a change for the better during the pandemic to minimize conflicts and make their homes work better for them.
“The more we stay home, the more we see the areas of our homes that need improvement,” said Luce, who lives with her husband and 3-year-old son.
After turning her guest room into a home office, she put in new windows, a fence, a larger pantry and a better backyard drainage system — the latter so her family could spend more time outside even after a heavy rain.
“The survey reinforced what we know about our desire to connect,” Luce said. “We are such a social society. If something nice came from this pandemic, it’s that we got back to basics, to having more meals together, to less hustle and bustle, and to spending more quality time with our loved ones.”
Here are more of the survey’s findings:
• More couples moved in together. 10% of couples who lived apart before the pandemic moved in together. Of those who did, four of five said their relationships improved. Meanwhile, only 10% of those who started the pandemic in a relationship called it quits.
• More brought home furry friends. 9% of couples saw their extended time at home as the right time to extend their family by getting a dog or cat.
• Many found more me time. An indication that most partners can only take so much of the one they love, 57% purposely carved out some alone time. Among the top escapes were exercising alone (17%), designating a separate workspace (17%), watching separate TV shows (15%) and starting a new hobby (12%). Meanwhile, 56% adjusted their routines to create more together time.
• Many modified their homes. Of the 34% of couples who reported changing their homes because of the pandemic, 41% added a home office, 23% put in a home gym, 22% created an outdoor living space and 19% carved out a dedicated space for hobbies.
Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books, with her next book, “What to Do With Everything You Own to Leave the Legacy You Want,” coming in June. Reach her at marnijameson.com.