The pandemic left many people in lockdown for long periods of time, which is definitely stressful.
University of Texas researchers looked at what that stress would do to romantic couples, and found when couples blamed the pandemic for their stress, they were happier in their relationships. They note that previous research has shown that romantic partners tend to be more critical toward each other when experiencing common stress, but that major events, such as natural disasters, are not always associated with poor relationship functioning.
This is because the events are more obvious stressors, and people may be more aware of how they are affected by them and how the stress could spill over into their relationship. Study co-author Lisa Neff adds, “Because of this awareness, when major stressors occur, romantic partners may be less likely to blame each other for their problems and more likely to blame the stressor, which may reduce the harmful effects of stress on the relationship.”