Divorce rates globally have been on the rise in the last few years, but the onset of the COVID pandemic has also contributed to a surge in separations. From quarantining together for months to disagreements over government rules and mandates, couples have parted ways for many reasons, causing children to suffer as well. But new research is shedding light on other reasons why divorce rates are going up, especially in the time of COVID.
According to research posted on FormsPal, stress and anxiety and other issues such as depression and suicidal tendencies have spiked during the pandemic, which may have contributed to strained relationships between couples. In fact, there has ben many psychological and behavioral effects of lockdowns and COVID on Americans throughout the past 18 months.
First, the research indicates that in the midst of COVID, domestic violence cases have "grown worse and less controllable behind the closed doors of the quarantining households." Secondly, money issues have played a "crucial part as a pillar of the stability and sustainability of a marriage." But because the pandemic caused major layoffs and businesses closures, the issue of money was placed in the forefront of many relationships across the country and the world.
In 2020 an online company providing divorce agreement documents saw an uptick of 34% in the demand for their products, implying that there was an increase in those couples interested in divorcing. This was in the midst of the COVID lockdowns.
The same can be said for other countries around the world. Doha News reported that in Qatar, the divorce rate showed an increase of 88% in May compared to the same month in 2020. According to the country's (Planning and Statistics Authority), divorces rose from just 12 cases in May 2020 to 97 in May 2021. It also saw the highest divorce rate in September of 2020, with 230 divorce cases in just one month.
Carly Kinch of the U.K.-based law firm Stewarts said that the pandemic was the "perfect storm" for couples. Lockdowns caused them to spend a lot of time with each other, if not all of the time, thereby "sparking more problems that were previously kept apart by separate routines."
"I don't think that the reasons that people are divorcing have necessarily changed. You've always had the underlying current of 'I'm unhappy with this or that at home.'" Kinch explained. "But I think it has just brought the focus on domestic arrangements really into much more sharp focus than they would ordinarily be."
The BBC reported in December 2020 that Stewarts found a 122% increase in inquiries between July and October, while Charity Citizen's Advice observed an increase in online searches for ending a relationship. Noel Bell, a London-based psychotherapist explained that the COVID pandemic also sparked "existential re-evaluations of what, and whom, people want in their lives."
"Such re-evaluation is also taking place in marriages, with couples reassessing their life choices and their emotional needs," Bell said. "The pressures of the pandemic have reminded us all that life might be short and we are tasked to assess how, and with whom, we are spending our precious time."