Editor’s Note: FII’s #MoodOfTheMonth for February 2023 is Love In Post Modern India. We invite submissions on this theme throughout the month. If you would like to contribute, kindly refer to our submission guidelines and email your articles to email@example.com
World Health Organization dispelled any expectations that the Covid-19 pandemic would be contained in China on March 11, 2020, when it proclaimed a global pandemic. As soon as people learned about the disease outbreak, it sparked unrest and put the world in an unexpected and unprecedented situation.
The COVID-19 protocol had numerous repercussions on people’s lives, including financial, social, physiological, and psychological ones; the psychological ones were by far the worst. A new way of life was emerging in the world, marked by isolation, fear of illness, physical and social constraints, forced cohabitation, and financial instability. People experienced a wide range of unpleasant emotions as a result of this ‘new normal‘, including fear, rage, anxiety, despair, a lack of positive emotion, and discontentment with life.
Everything was affected by the pandemic, including the complexities of relationships between engaged and dating couples around the world. The effect of the pandemic on personal relationships has been the subject of numerous studies conducted all over the world. A study titled “Covid-19 and Romantic Relationships” suggested the dread of COVID-19; despair, concern, and ruminating about the pandemic had a negative effect on the quality of intimate relationships. People who reported higher levels of these factors also reported feeling more alone and having less control over conflicts.
Additionally, a decline in optimism and hope was linked to the quality of the partnerships getting worse. In the USA, there was a sharp decline in marriage between 2019 and 2020. Only 20% of German couples reported an increase in marital contentment during the pandemic, and 40% of couples reported a decrease in marital satisfaction. There are conflicting responses in the data about “Intimacy and relationships” making it impossible to categorise everything in a sealed container.
In response to the increasing COVID-19 viral dissemination in Austria, Poland, Spain, and the Czech Republic, a study was conducted and published in “Frontiers in Psychology“. The study suggested that during the COVID-19 pandemic, attachment security is an important predictor of relationship quality, meaning that those with a secure attachment style are more likely to have higher-quality relationships during this period of uncertainty and instability.
In other words, having a secure attachment style can provide a buffer against stress and help individuals maintain positive relationship outcomes even during difficult times. On the other hand, individuals with an insecure attachment style may struggle to cope with the added stress of the pandemic and may experience negative impacts on their relationships. It won’t make sense if the statistics from China are left out because that country was the focal point of the disease spread.
A cross-sectional online survey was prompted by the considerable economic and social harm the epidemic and related containment measures have inflicted on several nations, including China, in recent months. Of the 967 participants included in the analysis, 22% reported a decrease in sexual desire, 41% experienced a decrease in the frequency of sex, 20% reported a recent decrease in alcohol consumption before or during sexual activities, and 10% reported a decrease in risky sexual behavior. In addition, 31% reported partner relationship deterioration during the pandemic.
Let’s look at how COVID-19 has impacted relationships and intimacy in India, which, like the rest of the world, has had conflicting results. The sudden shift to social distancing and lockdown measures has resulted in many couples spending a significant amount of time together, which has had both positive and negative effects on their relationships. One of the most notable impacts has been increased stress and anxiety.
Additionally, because of how crucial relationships and social support are, the pandemic has brought some couples even closer. In India, the dating scene has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. With the social isolation code of behavior in place, a lot of people are now using online dating and virtual communication to find romantic partners. The inability to establish a genuine connection through screens and the lack of physical contact are just a few of the difficulties that this shift has brought about. The Covid-19 lockdown had a generally good impact on relationships in India, especially on love and dating, according to a study conducted by the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) in 11 Indian languages and English.
After the start of the first lockdown, nearly half of the respondents (47.4%) stated that their relationships with their spouse or partner had significantly improved. Following the start of the event, therapists discovered a few favorable interpersonal indicators. “Relationships require time and effort to grow. Pandemic-related working from home has given many couples the opportunity to spend continuous time together, work and function in each other’s presence, understand each other’s need for space, support, and nurturing, and also generally enjoy each other’s company,” says Dr. Natasha Kate, Consultant Psychiatrist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai.
Another study found that after India’s COVID-19 shutdown, relationship happiness, love, closeness, and desire have all significantly dropped. Before and after the shutdown, the survey polled married and dating couples in India. The study’s findings, indicated that the dedication to dating couples did not change. Activities associated with love for individuals who were dating included watching films and reminiscing about the past. Married couples associate activities like cleaning the house, cooking meals, and watching movies with their love.
“Love in relationships has been collateral damage to COVID-19. How couples spent time with each other is the key to maintaining love. Watching movies together, reminiscing positive experiences, and sharing housework led to better connectedness,” said co-author Kanika K. Ahuja, Ph.D., of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, in India. The other side of the coin is how the Covid shutdown affected Indian women. The COVID-19 lockdowns, which held women, hostage, at home with their abusers, contributed to an increase in domestic violence rates throughout the world. In India, reports of domestic violence, child marriage, cyber violence, and trafficking in women and girls shot up in the early months of the pandemic.
According to data from the National Commission of Women, domestic violence doubled in India between February 2020 and May 2020. According to certain women’s organizations, domestic abuse reports surged during the first four phases of the lockdown more than they had during a comparable period in the previous ten years. Others claimed that because they had less privacy and access to assistance, many women were unable to report the assault.
Overall, the pandemic has had a complex and wide-ranging effect on interpersonal relationships in India. It has brought about new obstacles and challenges, but it has also given people chances to interact and grow. It’s critical for couples to figure out how to deal with these difficulties while continuing to build solid, encouraging bonds. Consequently, the Covid -19 lockdown’s impacts on intimacy and relationships cannot be evaluated in India or anywhere else using a single criterion. The outcomes vary according to place and time.
However, pandemic has compelled us to reevaluate our social interactions. People’s ideas on intimacy, love, and respect in relationships have been altered by the loss of loved ones and the dissolution of happy homes.