A few weeks ago, I read an article about a spike in calls to divorce lawyers in and around Wuhan, China. Wuhan is where COVID-19 had its first outbreak. Lockdown restrictions were easing and couples had simply had enough of each other.
Spending an inordinate amount of time in close quarters with your partner or spouse for the first time in your life can be a little nerve-wracking. But coronavirus doesn’t have to necessarily be a negative in your relationship.
New data is showing that using this time to increase affection can increase the quality and satisfaction of your relationship. All it might take is a few snuggles, cuddles, and other consensual non-sexual touching.
So, if you’re sitting beside your husband, wife, or partner while watching a movie, try getting a little closer and show some affection.
The study was conducted by researchers from Binghamton University in New York state. Using 184 heterosexual couples over age 18, they found that both men and women feel more satisfied in their relationship when physical affection is shown, whether or not they had avoidant personalities.
Researchers found that higher levels of affection were associated with higher levels of relationship satisfaction. In women, lower levels of affection were associated with relationship dissatisfaction, meaning touch was essential for greater satisfaction.
It appears that the more partners engage affectionately and positively, the happier they are in their relationship. This can translate into less stress and improved heart and mind health.
There is even research to indicate that holding your partner’s hand during an argument can help de-escalate the situation and make the conversation more productive. Of course, this means a gentle, friendly hand-hold and not an angry grip.
Taking a more affectionate approach to your relationship may help reduce COVID-related stress and improve your overall relationship quality. Some of the health benefits associated with a healthy relationship include:
- Longer life
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved immune function
- Greater pain resistance