The Pandemic and Relationships: Stories of Survival, Separation, and Love



 By Allessandra Cintra | March 2021

One year ago, the world was affected by a wave of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety.  The closing of schools, and people having to work from home, caused families’ routines to be profoundly altered by the coronavirus pandemic. These circumstances put pressure on couples and led to a shake-up in many relationships. Simultaneously, during this intense coexistence, there were those who were able to strengthen their relationships, along with others who found deep love while in quarantine.



According to psychologist, Simone Pinheiro Barros, separations would not have occurred without the pandemic.




As reported by the website,, Canada, recorded its highest number of divorces over the past 20 years, in 2020, along with 2.71 million legal separations. The additional tensions that many families and couples experienced due to the pandemic, led psychologists to believe that Covid-19 had a significant impact on the divorce rate in 2020. “Confinement has increased the pressure on relationships.  Some separations probably would not have occurred if there was not a pandemic”, declared Simone Pinheiro Barros, a psychologist specializing in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  According to her, many patients reported problems in the relationship due to the new routine imposed by social isolation.  “Couples mentioned that incompatibilities became more evident in this pandemic period.  The conflicts were motivated by the stress triggered by concern with the disease, an absence of privacy, as well as a lack of partnership in the division of household chores, and with the care of children. The excess contact accentuated problems already existing in the relationship”.

Pressure in the life of a couple

Publicist, Aline Monteiro, 36, and her ex-husband, Economist, Diego Gonçalves, 39, felt this pressure also.  Working from home, and with two young daughters, the couple found social isolating, while living together 24 hours a day, extremely difficult.  According to Aline, the lockdown destroyed her marriage. “The pandemic was too much for us.  Having to take care of the house and our daughters at the same time that we worked, generated a huge stress load.  My ex-husband’s habits that normally irritated me, became more evident and it was the same for him too”, said Aline, who added, “There were moments of anger and disagreement, including how to best protect ourselves from the disease, as I took it very seriously, while his view was different”.  Consequently, after 15 years in their relationship, the couple decided to divorce.

In search of a great love

Portuguese public relations Glaucia Xavier, 38, prefers not to complain about the confinement she has experienced due to the pandemic.  The solitude of being at home in the city of Porto, opened the door for 34-year-old, Vitor Hugo, to enter her life.  She met him last January (2020), through a digital App.  The couple’s first romantic steps were taken over the Internet and soon thereafter, they were able to meet in person.  Distance has been the issue so far as Gláucia resides in Portugal, while Vitor lives in England.  With cancelled flights and closed borders, the couple has managed to see each other on only three occasions during the first year of their relationship.



Gláucia remarked, “It is a difficult, frustrating situation; however, technology has helped us to create our own story.  I feel that with each obstacle, our love has grown.”  In December of last year, Vitor gave a promise ring to his girlfriend and the couple plan to live together when the pandemic is over.




Getting married during the pandemic


Maytê Carneiro & André Paiva: The pandemic did not stop the couple from exchanging rings.

The quarantine also affected the plans of psychologist, Maytê Carneiro, 36, and bank clerk, André Paiva, 44.  They live in Brazil and had scheduled their wedding for May 2020.  The couple had already arranged the ceremony, booked the venue with all the decorations, and completed the hiring for the catering of the reception, but due to the pandemic, everything had to be cancelled.  “It was a huge frustration.  I slept poorly for 15 days, as my anxiety increased over my upcoming wedding”, said the bride-to-be.  To the couple’s surprise, two weeks before the initial date of their scheduled civil ceremony, the registry office opened its doors. “We couldn’t believe it!  Although we could not have the reception as scheduled, we still decided to get married.  It was a rush to find a dress, masks for the occasion, and a cake to celebrate with only my brothers and my parents in attendance, as Andre’s family were not able to travel, living so far away.”

For this couple, technology was an ally once again, as family and friends were able to view the ceremony live via Instagram, streamed by the notary office.



We invite you to read the latest edition of Discover magazine

March 2021 :


Allessandra Cintra

Allessandra has over 20 years of experience in journalism, having worked for the press office of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil. Cintra has a degree in Management and Marketing from the University of Brasília and Centennial College, in Canada.

Veja também