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The Pandemic: Emphasizing the Need and the Opportunity to Revitalize Relationships

The pandemic has made many couples spend much more time together in the same space than ever before. The impact of the pandemic on couples has become an important issue for psychologists and couple therapists, and has received quite a bit of attention in the media.  (As just two recent examples of media coverage, click on the following links: Sex gets complicated during the pandemic and Secrets of couples thriving right now in the pandemic.)

The reports from national and international surveys point out multiple varied observations, ranging from increases in tensions and even in rates of domestic violence, and difficulties in maintaining work/home balance as one or both partners work from home. However, other observations suggest also that, for some, the pandemic and social distancing has brought an opportunity to focus on their relationships, to improve communication and increase intimacy.

Last week, the tenth and last presentation of the first round of my lectures in the series “The Next Generations” focused on intimacy in couples. Many of the issues discussed there are relevant to any couple; for example, we each bring with us into our romantic relationship an “emotional dowery”, the way we were loved when growing up, what we saw in our parents’ relationships, and what we learned about the different faces of love and intimacy. In the lecture in the context of this series, I highlighted the connection to specific issues that are central psychological themes and personal characteristics of children of Holocaust survivors, and the ways these manifest themselves in the arena of couple relationships. It is never easy to speak about intimacy, and especially about sex, and even more so in couples who have been together for many years. Habits and patterns established long ago are often hard to change, and yet, what if not a one-hundred-year pandemic can call our attention to the need to tend to the quality of our most important relationships, whether those with an intimate partner or with others.

Participants in last week’s presentation asked me to post the list of some of the resources I mentioned. As promised, I provide below a list of some videos available on youtube, books, a film I recommend, and some self-compassion and positive psychology resources available (free of charge) online.

With warm wishes for Happy Chanuka to those who celebrate it and Happy holidays for all!

                   Irit Felsen


Movie to watch: “Hope Springs”, Romance/comedy, 2012, with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.

Robert Waldinger Ted Talk, “What Makes A Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness”

George Vaillant , books: “Aging Well” and “Triumphs of Experience”

Dilip Jeste, Youtube :

Book: “Wiser: the Scientific Roots of Wisdom, Compassion, and What Makes Us Good”

Book: Whitbourns, Susan and Whitbourn, Stacey “Adult Development and Aging: Biopsychosocial Perspectives”

Hedy Schleifer, Ted Talk:

Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence. Register to receive the blog at

Self Compassion exercises and more: website of Kristin Neff at :

A website full of resources from positive psychology, including free online personal survey and other tools for assessing your own personal character strengths and enhancing your well-being, at :



  1. Jenni Frumer says

    Thank you, Dr. Felsen. As always, your remarks are so relevant AND meaningful!

    • Irit Felsen, Ph.D. says

      Thank you, Jenni, I am so gratified by the responses I get to our lecture series. It is a great privilege to be able to speak to my fellow 2Gs about living our lives to the fullest!

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