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Couples spending more time together than ever before, affecting relationships in California

Posted at 6:21 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 00:32:17-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — We are almost one month into California's stay-at-home order, which means many couples are spending more time together than ever before. Now, a new survey from TruePublic shows how self-isolating is affecting relationships across the state.

In Kern County, married couples make up for six in ten households, according to the U.S. Cenus Bureau, with an average of three people living in each home.

Those numbers fit the bill for Phil and Calley Collignon, new parents to 3-month-old son, Luca.

Both teachers, the Collignons have been developing lesson plans and teaching their students from home, something they've both had to adjust to.

“It’s good and its bad. It’s hard to complain. We have jobs, we have a safe place to live, and we have food in our pantry. And we get to hang out with our baby child. And each other,” Phil said.

The new survey by TruePublic shows 15% of couples in California under 35-years-old believe the stay-at-home order is having a positive effect on their relationship.

“It definitely helps marrying your best friend. It’s just easy to hang out all day,” Calley said. “We’re also navigating the new parent life so learning about all that together. This extra time has been a blessing for us to be able to do that and spend time with him.”

But according to that same survey, 32% of young couples are seeing their relationships get worse, and 51% of respondents said they expect divorce rates to rise after the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Many are saying it’s the small things. It’s those small tasks that you were able to divide before, but now that you’re locked together, those small things are becoming big things,” according to Kaben Clauson, the CEO of TruePublic. “It’s so small, but it’s that daily thing of the house being more dirty which wasn’t a problem before because you weren’t home all day. Now when your house is dirty you’re stuck in it all day and it’s making people go crazy.”

“We cook more than ever, so there’s always dishes. Always baby dishes," Calley said. “I think coming up with a routine is good too. Once we get up in the morning we have our dishwasher ready to unload and fresh for the day... Once you get in a routine and you kind of know whose responsibility is whose, it gets easier.”

Survey results show that mindset is a good one.

“The couples that are most successful during this time are the ones that have a really set schedule around how are we going to live the day? When are we getting up? Who is doing which chore?” Kaben said.

Another popular piece of advice from survey respondents was, it's ok to spend a little time apart.

“There are definitely times where he goes and does his games, and I watch my shows, and we have our separate time apart, which I think is important too,” Calley said.