COVID-19 has warped our way of life all across the globe, and amongst those changes, a COVID divorce has become quite a popular topic.
COVID has uprooted our lives in endless ways. Quarantining at home with your spouse or partner can be hard on a relationship, even the healthiest one. Are you or someone you know facing a COVID divorce?
Being home for work, avoiding social gatherings and those outside your household, can put a lot of pressure on your relationship.
For partners that are independent and enjoy their alone time, it can feel overwhelming and even suffocating to be together every day without an end in sight.
It may sound bad, but marriage doesn’t mean you are connected at the hip. Most couples have friends outside their marriage, visit extended family, go to work, and social gatherings. These things keep your relationship healthy.
When your spouse or partner is your only source of socializing, it can be hard on good relationships and expose ones that may have already been failing.
What is a COVID divorce?
A COVID divorce is essentially a divorce or break up during the current pandemic overtaking the world. But, it is more than that. Sure, in some cases it may be a coincidence that a couple breaks up now, but for others, it is caused by the strain brought on by the hardships of the pandemic.
Some celebrity couples who have broken up and started the term, COVID divorce are: last year’s Bachelor, Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph, Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart, and Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock.
These breakups could have been in the works for a while, but I’m sure COVID didn’t help things.
Imagine spending all day every day with your partner outside of this pandemic. You normally have a night out with friends, run errands, and more. Now you are together in your home without the support and independence you’re accustomed to.
Now, this time has also given some couples a chance to rekindle their relationships. Dave and Odette Annable separated a while back but announced their reconnection a few weeks back. Perhaps this time has given them a chance to focus on their relationship in a way they couldn’t before.
But, that seems to be the exception, not the rule.
Why are there so many COVID divorces?
Now that we get what a COVID divorce is, why are they trending? Why does it seem like a new couple announces their breakup every day?
Well, according to experts, this adjustment has disrupted routines to a breaking point. Couples are forced together. This means they need to communicate and interact in ways they have never done before.
For example, a couple that is working from home may need to share some work essentials like an office, computer equipment, and more. This can put a burden on a relationship that thrived away from work.
Yes, this is likely temporary, but without an end in sight, many couples cannot cope with this new set of issues.
Everything from rescheduling an expensive wedding to losing income and working from home adds struggles to relationships.
According to a notable psychiatrist, most of these couples were struggling before the pandemic and lockdown orders were set, but the extensive time together brought the troubles to the surface.
Things that couples have been resenting or holding in for months or even years have erupted because there are fewer distractions outside of the home.
Not to mention, there is a lack of resources right now. Couples staying home may find it hard to do virtual therapy due to a lack of privacy. Therapists are also seeing a rise in new clients so it could be difficult to get an appointment for couples counseling.
Couples that loved to travel or were accustomed to one partner traveling for work have to readjust to something they are unfamiliar with. All of this introduces new hurdles and adds to existing ones.
Are you headed for a COVID divorce?
Maybe you clicked on this article because you’re curious. Or perhaps you were seeking it out for advice or insights. If you are in a relationship, living with your partner, and struggling right now, I can tell you, you are not alone.
Tensions are running high for family members as well. The anxiety and stress of the current climate along with all the changes are enough to stress you out. Add that to a delicate relationship and it makes sense that you are nervous.
If your relationship was on the rocks before the lockdown, the changes in your routine are probably making it unbearable. People respond to high-stress times so differently which is why big life changes often lead to divorce or breakups.
You may be anxious about contracting COVID-19 while your partner is a lot more relaxed. Maybe you want to be as cautious as possible while they are still visiting friends and refuse to wear a mask. These sorts of differences can cause a rift in a marriage that is as intense as a difference in religion or politics.
But, this time can offer you time to focus on these issues and work through them together. This time is something you may not have had before.
How to prevent a COVID divorce?
If you are feeling stuck during quarantine, you are not alone. Wanting to keep your marriage or relationship intact makes sense. Whether new issues arose due to the pandemic or this time is shining a light on old problems, work on them from home.
#1 Split your time. If you share a small space, you may feel trapped in your relationship which makes everything more difficult. But, just because you’re at home together doesn’t mean you have to be together all the time.
If you share an office take turns. One of you can work from the couch and the other from the office. You can even switch off days. Go for walks separately and even watch your favorite shows separately. Come together the same way you did before.
Maybe have breakfast and dinner together, but spend the middle of the day apart doing your own things.
#2 Have dates. Okay, you can’t go out to eat in a neutral environment. You may not feel the need to get dressed up or talk about things you would if you were in public but try.
Plan a date night once a week. Take turns cooking or ordering food and setting something up. Maybe an indoor picnic if the weather is bad. Go for a romantic stroll. And get dressed up if you’d normally do that.
#3 Vent. Just because you can’t meet up with your friends to vent about how loudly your partner breathes doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them. Have FaceTimes or phone calls with friends.
Do this outside or on your daily walk to maintain privacy. Recreating the social times you had before virtually may feel off, but it will help you.
#4 Online therapy. Whether you want to schedule counseling together or alone, there are a lot of online resources that offer talk therapy during these times. A lot of traditional therapists offer virtual visits as well.
Whether you went to therapy beforehand or not, the help and guidance from a professional will offer you outside perspectives on your relationship.
#5 Don’t try for a baby. I know so many people are getting pregnant right now, but if you are struggling in your relationship, now is probably not the time. Adding a child to a marriage on the brink will only add more stress to your situation.
The distraction may push things off for a while but adding a baby to a risky relationship is never a fix to a problem.
#6 Check-in. This is a hard time for everyone. Don’t assume you know how your partner is feeling without talking about it. Take some time once a week to check in with each other.
Discuss your worries and fears. Listen to each other’s concerns. If you can communicate and work through your struggles right now, this time could bring you closer together.
The term COVID divorce seems to be trending now and has been for months. Remember, it doesn’t have to be the case for you.