The COVID-19 pandemic has altered my family’s life. With the lock-downs and restricted movement imposed, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased family bonding time. In this way, the family functioning has improved because we can now spend more quality time together. As members, we have attempted to focus on what is important, eliminate communication barriers, and forge stronger relationships for productive family life.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed family functions. The pandemic has forced my family to revert to the inter-dependent structure. In this structure, feminine members of the family assume secondary submissive roles. In my family, most of the routine chores and functions have been allocated to the feminine siblings. Besides, the feminine members are actively involved in taking care of homes and cleaning the house. The male members in my family are providing the basic amenities, helping with home-schooling support, as well as supporting recreation activities.
The daily family routine has changed courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic. My family’s routine before the pandemic was marked by daycare drop-offs and pick-ups, rushed workdays, and hasty dinners. Presently, unexpectedly, the pandemic has transformed our daily routine calendars. There is no school or daycare, a significant challenge that parents confront as they attempt to continue to work in the same capacity as previously. I have observed that the change in daily routines has also altered gender roles. In my family, we have managed to divide roles among members. The process of dividing roles starts by allocating different responsibilities to family members. For example, senior family members take turns supporting school children and preparing food. I believe that the division of roles is an important step towards enriching the spirit of family time.
Intimacy and Closeness
The COVID-19 pandemic has confined people to their homes, thus bringing family members together. Even though the pandemic has strained the relationship through gender role challenges and financial hardship, I believe that the elimination of communication barriers has assisted me to adapt to the new world. I have witnessed improvement in communication, whereby members discuss pertinent issues and consider each other’s perspectives during conversations. Consequently, I have avoided expressions of blame, hostility, and contempt with my siblings. The memorable experiences we share together during the lock-down have significantly enhanced intimacy and closeness among family members.
The close family relationships have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic. In our family, each member is tasked with the responsibility of taking care of their own health with the hope of taking care of each other. For example, I have managed to fit in the family exercise activities undertaken daily. To fit in the current COVID-19 circumstances, we have sought ways of exercising together as a way of strengthening the family unit. Staying together during the pandemic has also enlightened me on how to adapt to the new world by managing my emotions. The family relationship has granted each member the opportunity to manage emotions and feelings to confront the negative effects of the pandemic.
The change in roles has modeled behaviors among family members and in the process encouraged respect for the rights of each other during the pandemic period. Hence, as an individual in the family, I have various roles to fulfill. I specifically fulfill the affective roles of providing emotional support and encouragement to other family members during the pandemic period.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected relationships as people are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible to limit the spread of the virus. I have maintained my relationships with friends and intimate partners by working from a coffee shop. Here, I share and interact with friends to avoid boredom during the day. Nevertheless, I feel that people can remain connected through scheduled video chats with family members, friends, and work colleagues. In this way, family members and friends can schedule common interaction activities such as taking exercises together by sharing the same online exercise video. The intention of scheduling common interaction activities is to enhance relationship building and bonding.
Dating and intimate relationships have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The imposed quarantine and social distancing have prevented people from physically meeting to engage in intimate conversations and activities. Consequently, people have resorted to virtual dating during the pandemic. Based on my experience, people are devoting several weeks to know each other over the phone and video chats. Through these avenues, online discussions revolve around families, friends, and hobbies. Importantly, people that are not in relationships and desire to establish partnerships can use online dating applications to initiate connections with others. The dating sites are booming because the physical dating avenues are closed. With plenty of time during quarantine, people are open to messaging and online chats.
The COVID-19 has influenced how relationships are developed and maintained. Foremost, the COVID-19 pandemic has enhanced emotional and physical closeness, which is essential in building and sustaining relationships. Closeness and emotional proximity are influenced by the amount of time people spend together (Keneski, Neff, & Loving, 2018). As such, people spend extensive periods together due to quarantine and isolation advisories meant to combat the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, the pandemic is challenging the building of relationships due to feelings of disconnectedness. Notably, social distancing has negatively affected social activities and interactions necessary to reinforce relationships among friends, family members, and work colleagues.
Keneski, E., Neff, L., & Loving, T. (2018). The importance of a few good friends: Perceived network support moderates the association between daily marital conflict and diurnal cortisol. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 9(8), 962–971.