Effect of Pandemic on Divorce

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Imagine, your relationship is already strained.  Now you are stuck home with your spouse every day all day.  In the wake of the recent pandemic, couples are quarantined, working from home and forced to spend considerable time together. You never dreamed you would be in this situation, never in a million years.  You are starting to realize you really don’t like each other and have little in common.  As time goes on, you are becoming more and more stressed.  Everywhere you turn, your spouse is there, and murder comes with a lengthy prison sentence.  You can’t escape from them.  You no longer have to go to the office as a temporary escape from your spouse.  You are both working from home.  You realize life is short and the thought of spending the rest of your life with your current spouse is unbearable.  It has been noted that the divorce rate increases when couples are forced to spend more time together. January is known as the divorce month because couples spend extended amounts of time together during Christmas and New Year’s.  There’s an old saying that only the strong will survive.  If you have a good marriage, you can weather the storm.  If your marriage is already falling apart, this could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Retirement can have similar effects. 

I remember it was getting close to my ex’s retirement date.  It was all he talked about.  The closer it got the more I felt a sense of dread.  I worked from home and was pretty much living my life the way I wanted to. He swung shift and worked overtime, so I was used to him not being there.  I was living the good life.  One day I was talking to an older lady at Walmart and told her about my then husband’s plan to retire soon.  She looked at me with a look of pity on her face and stated she had never wanted a divorce so bad as she did when her husband first retired.  They had been married for more than 40 years.  All of a sudden after she retired, he criticized her cooking and cleaning.  In over 40 years, he had never criticized these things before.  According to him, she couldn’t do anything right.  One day, she went to a steak lunch with her friends and shopping afterward.  She was gone for approximately 5 hours.  Upon returning, her husband asked if they had to kill the cow before they ate it because she was gone so long.  They did manage to weather the storm and remained together, I started to hear similar stories from both men and women who had already retired.  Was this what I had to look forward to?  Would it be this bad?  It was worse!  It was so bad that we ended up divorcing.  Being unexpectedly thrown into a situation where you are spending large blocks of time together with your spouse can be challenging especially if you are currently having difficulties. 

By Emmerstine Mackie

Divorce Coach