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The Pandemic's Impact On Love And Relationships

An elderly couple wearing face masks sits on a bench in Seville on May 7, 2020. (CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)
An elderly couple wearing face masks sits on a bench in Seville on May 7, 2020. (CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

This hour contains audio from ‘Corona Diaries,’ a project by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality. Find the full audio here and here

The pandemic has taken a toll on all aspects of life, including romantic relationships. We’ll dig into what’s keeping couples together or breaking them apart.


Ashley Fetters, reporter who has been writing about relationships during the pandemic. (@AshleyFetters)

Dr. Lexx Brown-James, licensed marriage and family therapist. Founder of the Institute for Sexuality and Intimacy. (@Lexxsexdoc)

Duncan Newberry, On Point listener. He is quarantining with his four kids and wife.

Amy Fowler, she is quarantining in her one bedroom with her cat and dog.

From The Reading List

New York Times: “Move In? Get Divorced? The Pandemic Forces Couples to Decide” — “As everyone who’s ever been a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, or a spouse or a lover or a partner or even a friend with benefits — that is, anyone who’s ever liked or loved anyone — knows, it can take a long time to muster the courage to say exactly what you want.”

PRI’s The World: “‘Love is essential’: Some EU countries relax rules for separated cross-border couples” — “Closed borders during the coronavirus pandemic have taken long-distance relationships to a whole new level. Now, some countries are providing sweet relief for cross-border couples.”

New York Times: “Is Sex Dead for Parents?” — “While in domestic confinement, the most comforting thing I can say to my female friends, near and far, is not ‘This too shall pass.'”

Washington Post: “Our romantic relationships are actually doing well during the pandemic, study finds” — “Can’t stop fighting with your partner about whose turn it is to do the dishes? Looking at China’s uptick in divorces that followed its coronavirus-related lockdown and wondering if a similar trend in the United States might follow?”

New Yorker: “‘This Is What Happens to Couples Under Stress’: An Interview with Esther Perel” — “I saw your husband just walk through the room. Are you together in the house?”

The Atlantic: “The New Relationships That Fizzled Out in Quarantine” — “When stay-at-home measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 went into effect earlier this spring, something weird happened to our sense of geography.”

CNN: “Love in the time of coronavirus: Couples share how they found matches in the middle of a pandemic” — “If you asked Alec Mahon one month ago whether he believed in love, he’d probably tell you he had ‘given up.'”

Wall Street Journal: “The Strain the Covid Pandemic Is Putting on Marriages” — “For Kristin and Ilya Shapiro, the Covid pandemic has created new tensions.”

New York Times: “Missing the Partner You See 24/7” — “One night last week I looked up from my phone, turned to my husband in bed and said, ‘Why do I feel like I miss you even though you’re in my face 24/7?'”

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