Love during lockdown – eharmony and Relate

Relationship studies  |  July 5, 2021

eharmony teamed up with Relate, the UK’s leading relationship charity, to explore the effects of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns on single people and those in relationships. Wider relationships with friends, family members and other loved ones were also considered. We polled over 2000 UK adults and found long periods of isolation had had a negative effect on self-esteem and confidence, which was particularly pronounced for singles. Many couples reported that lockdown had made them reconsider their relationships, whether for good or ill. Almost a quarter of UK adults reported lower self-esteem than before the pandemic, while 42% of singles were keen to enter a stable romantic relationship as lockdowns came to an end.

How have lockdowns affected your view on relationships?

The pandemic period inspired our respondents to a deeper consideration of their interpersonal relationships, not just with their partners but also those within wider circle of family and friends. A majority of both men and women agreed that the experience would lead them to make more efforts in maintaining and nurturing these relationships, while significant minorities felt they were now more comfortable with having open and honest conversations around potentially difficult subjects.

Neither agree or disagree
Not applicable
Lockdown has made me realise relationships are the most important thing in my life
This experience has inspired me to make more efforts with loved ones in the future
I’m more comfortable having open and honest conversations with my loved ones about difficult topics
I have struggled to support my partner emotionally during the pandemic
n = 2,058 Percentages rounded; supported

What caused the most worry in relationships during the pandemic?

Relationship stresses during lockdowns were unsurprisingly focused to a significant degree around money worries and concerns over loss of employment. A greatly altered domestic environment, with one or perhaps both partners working from home, seems to have had both positive and negative consequences. Some worried about loneliness when life got back to normal, others that previous relationship issues, which may have been parked during the pandemic, would come to the fore again in the aftermath.


Lack of money, financial issues

Anxiety about how the relationship will change once lockdown ends

I worry jealously will become an issue in our relationship again once lockdown ends

I’m worried I’ll feel lonely once my partner stops working from home

I’m worried about either me or my partner being made reduntant

n = 1,077; Percentages rounded; supported

Some relationships flourished in lockdown. But some ended

Men were more than twice as likely as women to have an increased sense of commitment to their relationships, with some 15% feeling inspired to propose marriage. They were also more likely than women to feel that the closer confines forced upon the led to the realisation that their relationship should end.

Neither agree or disagree
Not applicable
Lockdown has made me realise I want to propose to my partner
Lockdown has made me realise we need to divorce/break up
n = 1,077 Percentages rounded; supported

The pandemic’s effect on self-esteem

According to 64% of UK adults, high self-esteem and romantic success are closely linked. And although one-in-five believe their self-esteem has increased since before the pandemic, slightly more thought it had decreased. Of the latter group, 20% believed this was a result of comparing themselves unfavourably to others online.

Almost a quarter – 23% – of UK adults felt their
self-esteem had decreased compared to before the Coronavirus pandemic

n = 2002; Percentages rounded; supported


of women reported lower self-esteem as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns


The effect among men was much less pronounced

For many, spending more time together improved their relationship

Almost a third of those in a relationship believed it had improved over the course of successive lockdowns. Our study found that 45% of respondents whose relationship has got better feel like they are more of a team with their partner now. Having more valuable time with your ‘other half’ was also seen as a positive with 42% equating this to having a better quality relationship overall.


Almost one in three couples said the quality of their relationship has improved since before the pandemic. 37% of those said it was because they were having better and more frequent conversations

n = 2,002; Percentages rounded; supported

Study information
  • Study typemember survey, representative survey
  • Approachwritten online survey
  • PopulationyUK consumers aged 18-65
  • Sample Size2,058
  • Reference PeriodFrom 26/6/2020 to 07/07/2020
  • InstituteRelate
  • Region/City/CountryUK
  • LanguageEnglish