March 2020 is a month many we will remember forever. Governments worldwide halted all movement for humans, closing schools, shutting down businesses, and instructing the masses to stay home because of a new virus sweeping the globe. Since then, every day, the media has been bombarding us with terrifying news about Covid-19.

It is no secret that lockdown has been tough on everyone. The entire world has seen a sharp increase in couples ‘calling it quits’ throughout the pandemic. If relationships had issues before, locked away in the house with your partner not only gives us time to think, it puts all the fractures in our relationships under a microscope. Studies show that couples are heading to the divorce court at an alarming rate. Pressured by the fear of Covid-19, and job insecurity, combined with homeschooling, isolation, depression and various other stress-inducing factors, for many people, it is all too much to handle.

A UK-wide poll of 2,000 people at the start of lockdown found 23% said: “lockdown was placing pressure on their relationship”. urged people to seek the help they need and encouraged couples not to let their problems “fester”. Up to 20% of survey participants in Wales said it became clear separation is close, and they are now having doubts about their future together, compared to a figure of 12% for the UK as a whole.

The survey revealed that 42% said they were finding their partner irritating and 36% argued more in the UK.

Leading British law firm Stewarts recorded a 122% increase in divorce enquiries between July and October of 2020, compared with the previous year.

Charity Citizen’s Advice, another firm, reported a spike in searches for online advice regarding ending a relationship. In the US, a prominent legal contract-creation site announced a 34% rise in sales of its basic divorce agreement, with newlyweds who’d got married less than six months earlier making up 20% of sales. [1]

There have been similar patterns in China and Sweden, with couples revealing they are also experiencing a similar fate. It’s no surprise that the pandemic is affecting many of our core relationships. As time went on, therapists and academics were able to get a better understanding of the issues sending once loving couples into splitsville.[2]

Has lockdown revealed the cracks that was always there?
Research throughout the pandemic has shown that many external factors have contributed to the break-up of couples worldwide include:

No Social life
easily irritable
no personal time
working from home
financial matters – not getting any work homeschooling if children are involved
No gym, no motivation to stay fit or look good low self-esteem

Not being fulfilled matters of the heart not much in common

Photo’s credit Alex Green

Another interesting fact is the increase in women filing for divorce.
“What’s been different is the significant increase in the number of women initiating divorces, with 76% of new cases coming from female clients, compared with 60% a year ago”.

Numerous studies on working parents’ and their lives during Covid-19 revealed a disproportionate share of housework and childcare is still falling on women. [3] Even in heterosexual relationships, where the male partner is working from home. Most couples went into lockdown, thinking it would be a nice break away from the daily hustle and bustle. More believed it was a chance to spend quality time together. Unfortunately, the reality was very different from what one imagined.

Lockdown also highlighted the differences between couples, shining a light on the cracks that have always been there. Many couples are realising; they are not in love and probably have not been for many years, but everyday life kept them distracted from their relationships’ harsh realities. Many are learning they need a separation period to figure out how they want to move forward, while others consider they may be better off being friends. Some are over it, and ready for a clean break with no looking back.

If you feel the pressure and are now thinking about calling it quits?

Break-ups are hard and heart-breaking on a good day. You’ve probably invested time, effort, finances and love into a union. You were faithfully building as if it would last forever. It seems your plans may never make it to fruition. You may have pictured marriage, children and a happy home. Unfortunately, reality hit, and slowly it became apparent that this is not what you want. Has the pandemic triggered an early mid-life crisis? Are you confused or felt like you’ve suddenly fallen out of love? Have you realised maybe it was never love? Where do you both go from here?

It is hard, but if splitting up is the option you must take for the sake of your mental well- being and happiness, then do it. We only have one life. We were born alone; if it is meant to be, you will make it through and stay together. Please don’t be so hard on yourself, and remember we can only do our best. Nothing lasts forever; all we can do is love wholeheartedly, whether together or separated and from afar.

Lets stay together

If you want to work on your relationship, seek professional help, you cannot do everything on your own, and you don’t have to. There are professionals and experts available to support you. The pandemic has put immense pressure on us all. Making hasty decisions under pressure or not in the right frame of mind won’t help. If you have spent many years with someone, you both owe it to yourself to work on the relationship if you are not quite ready to let go just yet.

Having short periods apart can do wonders and renew your love or each other as the famous saying goes, “distance makes the heart grow fonder”. No one is perfect and if you want to stay together, continue to nourish and nurture your union.

If you are dealing with breaking up – or falling out of love during lockdown, please remember

– You are worthy, you do deserve real love, and deserve a love that does not include suffering first. You don’t have to prove your love to someone who does the bare minimum for you. You have to love yourself enough to recognise when it is not love.A

You have to have discernment and know the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. When you are young, you wrapped in emotions and sexual attachment. When you get older, sex can be great, but sex does not fill the emptiness you may feel inside. It is a space to be filled with genuine love – whether self-love or love from being in love.

Lockdown or no lockdown here are some stats:

  • Each year, in January, there’s a spike in divorce applications rise. This is most likelya result of festive stress and the financial worries that get highlighted at Christmas.
  • The average length of a marriage is 12.5 years.
  • Unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason for couples divorcing, with51.9% of wives and 36.8% of husbands petitioning on this ground.
  • The number of divorces of opposite-sex couples decreased to the lowest level since1971.
  • The percentage of marriages ending in divorce has steadily decreased since the mid-1990s, but unfortunately, around 42% of marriages still end in divorce.

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