Skip to main content
COVID-19 has challenged Canadians in many ways and relationships have been tested like never before, affecting connections with partners, children, friends and colleagues. What will they look like going forward?

A recent study conducted by RBC highlights how Canadians feel about their relationships, and how they have shifted through the pandemic — for better and for worse.

The impact on love lives

For couples, the pandemic has provided many unexpected challenges.

People have been staying at home with partners for months, and many Canadians say they feel their relationships become stagnant as boredom settled in. Layer in financial stress, anxiety over the health crisis, home-schooling children, and a lack of alone time, and relationships can be stretched to the limit.

This stress has led to an increase in calls to initiate or inquire about separations and divorces, according to Canadian lawyers specializing in family law. While many lawyers agree that the reasons behind relationship breakdowns haven’t necessarily changed, the pandemic has become an amplifier for underlying problems.

But that’s not the case for everyone.

Some couples say the pandemic has made them closer. RBC research reveals that while 32 per cent of respondents say their relationships weakened, 38 per cent feel they got stronger. Positives became amplified too, and many couples have been able to emerge better than ever.

The impact on parent-child relationships

When schools closed in March 2020, parents across the country had to scramble to balance their own work with school and/or childcare. They became overnight math teachers or daycare supervisors, suddenly in charge of the education and entertainment of their children. This situation resulted in some new tensions.

At the same time, the pause that COVID-19 brought to typically hectic lives resulted in an increase in quality time. The drive to soccer practice became a family board game, and a downtown art lesson turned into crafts around the kitchen table. For 32 per cent of respondents to the same RBC study, the connections between parents and kids were strengthened.

The shifts in social and professional relationships

Researchers studying loneliness during the pandemic found that people around the world have started to shrink their social networks. Casual friends — such as those you’d chat with at a book club or soccer game — haven’t been as easily sustained as longer-term, deeper relationships. Friendships based on interests and experiences beyond a common activity or neighbourhood became stronger as people began to focus on the quality of relationships over quantity.

In the corporate workplace, professional relationships have, in many cases, evolved to become more human and personal. Co-workers have seen into each others’ homes and catch glimpses of children, pets, and comfy video conference wear.

While the RBC research shows that the influences on relationships are split, nearly six out of 10 respondents say they have a deeper appreciation for the people in their lives. Relationships and priorities have changed during the pandemic, and Canadians recognize who and what matters most to them.

If you’re experiencing a change in your personal life, just know that our RBC advisors are available and can guide you through your next steps with clarity and compassion.

When you’re ready, book an RBC Check In with an advisor today.

More from the Life After COVID: