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The lockdown effect: how have relationships coped

How have relationships coped in lockdown: Over the last few months during the UK lockdown, many relationships have been tested in ways most couples have not experienced before.

Couples have had to navigate their relationship challenges intensified by the lockdown, for example fast-tracking a move in together or being apart for months.

In the early stages of the pandemic, it had also been reported that China had seen a rise in divorce cases, and this naturally left people wondering will divorce rates rise after lockdown?

This was something we spoke about previously on the blog, where Sarah Jane Lenihan, Partner at our London Victoria office discussed how lockdown was unlikely to be a root cause for divorce, and more likely to be a final straw in an already strained relationship.

How have relationships coped in lockdown

Whilst some couples are finding that lockdown is taking its toll on the relationship, many others have felt more united by recent events.

Although it has been a difficult period with many factors causing stress during this time, it is interesting to see how a positive picture has been built overall.

In recent research conducted by Stowe Family Law, we discovered that half of the couples say that lockdown has helped their relationship and that they now feel closer to their partner.

Less than one in ten (9%) say that they have seen any negative effect.

Because of the nature of the lockdown restrictions in the UK, partners living with each other were able to spend more time together and as a result, have grown a better understanding of each other. With many working remotely or on furlough, people have had more time to connect and prioritise quality time together.

In our study, we found that 31% feel that they have had more time to focus on their relationship, and 21% think that that they can understand their partner better now.

Taking relationships in lockdown to the next level

A common trend over recent months and particularly just before the lockdown was officially announced, was for couples to take next steps in their relationship to be together during this time.

This led to partners moving into each other’s homes and in some cases, with other family members or housemates.

Our research also revealed instances where some couples had decided to take their relationship to the next level. This included getting engaged, buying a dog, and one couple who took part in the research had recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

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New pressures from lockdown

Despite the overall positive outcome for couples, people have still experienced a range of pressures during this time.

Many have missed having their own alone time and cite a lack of personal space topping the list of pressures they felt living with a partner during lockdown (17%).

This was closely followed by other concerns, such as mental health and financial difficulty (16%). Other pressures such as work stress (13.5%) and finding a partner irritating (13%) were also common factors.

Get in touch

We understand that not everyone has had a positive experience in their relationship during this time and we are here to support, if you are looking for any legal advice you can give us a call on 0330 404 6090 or request a free call back here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Andrew says:

    How many lockdown babies will there be?

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