Indian research reveals lockdown leads to reduced feelings of love, passion, intimacy in relationships

Whether it's juggling homeschooling together, fighting over domestic chores or just taking out your coffee withdrawals on your partner, the COVID-19 lockdown takes its toll on love, according to a new international study. 

Researchers in India found couples who were dating or married had significantly lower feelings of relationship satisfaction, love, intimacy, and passion post-lockdown.

Over 1000 Indian couples, either dating or in long-term relationships throughout the 2020 lockdown, were surveyed in the study published this week in the journal Family Relations. Participants were surveyed in two waves, first in January-March and then in May after the lockdown. 

Researchers found that for those who were dating, watching movies together and revisiting pre-lockdown memories were activities associated with love. For married couples, doing household chores, cooking and watching movies together helped keep the romance alive. 

"Love in relationships has been collateral damage in COVID-19," said co-author Dr Kanika K Ahuja from Lady Shri Ram College for Women.

"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."

She also suggested that being cooked for was a gesture that helped keep the passion alive. 

"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."

Although it wasn't clarified explicitly, it appears at least most of the couples surveyed were heterosexual. 

If your relationship has been suffering some strain during lockdown, relationship expert and founder of Equal Exes Bridgette Jackson gave Newshub some top tips to keep things thriving.