Background. Issues regarding close relations became especially prevalent within the context of the pandemic, due to the forced separation of these relationships. This is now seen as a significant stressor that influences emotions and subjective perceptions of the relationship.
Objective. The current study aims to investigate the specifics of coping with the forced separation of partners with varying types of closeness.
Design. The study was carried out with quantitative and qualitative methods. The sample included 43 women and 42 men (aged 21-47); all were involuntarily separated from their partners by impacts of the pandemic.
Results. Three scenarios of romantic relationships were identified based on a balance of love components (intimacy, passion, commitment) and prevalent feelings (closeness or distance). The authors concluded that certain coping strategies (positive reassessment, acceptance, distraction) can help the individual to cope with the separation, but do not contribute to the closeness of the partners and the strengthening of the relationship. Coping primarily through active support was typical for partners with intense and balanced feelings based on closeness (Scenario 3). Ambivalent feelings toward a partner (Scenario 1) were associated with passive coping, which increased the risk of detachment. The moderate manifestation of balanced love components and closeness (Scenario 2) focused on acceptance of the situation, positive reassessing, and distraction, all of which reduce the stress of separation, but cause anxiety regarding the future of the relationship.
Conclusion. The type of close relationship has been found to correlate to the coping strategy adopted by the couple following forced separation during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, further studies are required to investigate separation in various social contexts, not only in isolation due to the pandemic, as well as its connection to psychological well-being.
Keywords: forced separation/ close relationship/ relation stresses/ coping behaviour