By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Valentine’s holiday is here, but this past year has been nothing but being close to those we love.

But this year of togetherness has not produced the expected result.

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Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers says, “Coronavirus has put a lot of pressure on relationships, whether it’s being cooped up at home together 24 seven. OR having a long distance relationship.”

But she says here is the surprise. “It had been predicted that there was going to be a skyrocket in the number of divorces or breakups, but actually the evidence is quite different, that it has brought couples much closer together. More time spent together at home, more time with activities that they do together. And actually, a division of housework, more even than has ever been before.”

On the other hand it hasn’t worked for all couples.

Dr. Albers says, “If they were on the rocks are having a lot of tension already. The coronavirus experience really made them stop and think about what they want and what they value. And for many decided to break up the relationship.”

So in the interest of your relationship Dr. Albers offers some ‘free’ advice.

Watch as KDKA’s John Shumway reports:

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Starting with giving your significant other some alone time, “This time apart is going to help the two of you to come back together and have new things to talk about and rejoin.”

And she says be creative and shake up your routine, “Go for it together, take up a new hobby. Read new books, whenever you can, to go in a novel direction.”

In the compilation of 43 studies and more than 11-thousand couples Dr. Albers says a common theme emerged.

“The number one factor in keeping couples together and close is expressing appreciation of your significant other. So today, make sure that you tell them. One thing that you really appreciate about them, it could be small, or piece that really is significant to who they are.”

And there is no substitution for focusing on each other as you talk.

“Communicating with your spouse, your significant other, is really important for connecting and making sure that your relationship, grows even closer.”

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But she cautions, the listening part of talking with your significant other is almost more important than sharing how you feel.