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  • Writer's pictureEmmaleen Muldoon

Covid-19 and Divorce. How your relationship can survive coronavirus.

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

Where I come from, there is an old saying that goes, everything will feel better with a nice cup of tea! It may explain why I have been drinking rather a lot of them recently. Finding comfort in the little things is important in a time of crisis and also during difficult times in relationships.

When I worked as a divorce lawyer, the first Monday back in January was the busiest time of the year for people to file for divorce. This year, with the added burden of Covid-19, I am sure the divorce courts will be busier than usual. January is a high point for divorce for many reasons, the aftermath from the pressures of the Christmas season, having spent more time together over the holidays, as well as the prospect of the new year and the expectations for what it will bring.

This year, with strict stay at home orders in force in different places all over the world, this will certainly add to the number of divorces, but will also bring with it relationship struggles generally. Having all this time together as a couple with virtually no interruption, shows us parts of the other that we may have forgotten, overlooked or even discovered for the first time.

If you’re already at the divorce stage, I’m sorry. Divorce is hard at the best of times but it must be even harder during Covid-19 If you’re not quite there yet, or are still debating whether or not you should stay in your marriage consider the following before making your move;-

1. People want to be acknowledged, this is something that Oprah has expressed several times. It is true for everyone in our lives. More so, it is often expected that the person closest to us acknowledges us. If a person doesn’t feel acknowledged, then they can shut down, turn away, look elsewhere for acknowledgement or just become mean because that person isn’t giving them what they want. They become mean in the hope that the other will react, seeking any acknowledgment is better than none when you feel ignored. Ask yourself honestly, have I been acknowledging my spouse over the last year(s)? You may have unearthed a problem. As an experiment, try for a few days to interact with your spouse and show acknowledgment of their feelings, behavior, and for them as a person. It may seem hard to say that you’re grateful for them, if indeed your relationship isn’t in a good place, but you may be pleasantly surprised by the changes in that person if you do.

2. Listening and communication. These two build upon the acknowledgment factor. To truly acknowledge someone you must listen to them, hear their wants, hear their praise, hear what they say they need. After a while of focusing on a person’s negative qualities, you can legitimately forget that they have good thoughts and intentions too. Communication is a big part of a healthy relationship. In almost every love tale interview that I have conducted, I have been told how important it is. When a relationship is going wrong, often people shut down, they stop talking and turn away from the other person. This in turn can make the other turn inwards. If this isn’t remedied, the relationship cannot remain healthy. Don’t let this happen, if you’re not ready for divorce just yet try talking and listening and finding a way back one another.

3. General points for surviving a rocky relationship during lockdown;-

i) Give each other space in your home. Try to go for a walk (if permitted) alone, not only does exercise helps to alleviate depression, which can only add to the relationship stress but it may be good to give each other some space.

ii) Don’t push the other into having a conversation if they are not ready.

iii) Try and be as nice as possible, people reflect your energy or behavior and so it is likely to contribute to a happier household.

iv) Pick your battles. Sometimes is it really worth arguing over the TV remote control?

In Karen and Chris’s story, Karen shared with us, “I think love is choosing each other every day and remembering what the best circumstances are in your life, when you are having a hard time seeing it because of perhaps some bad circumstances in your life. So always see the best of things and look at the bigger picture.” This is so important, often when something bad happens or we have a quarrel we forget all the good; over time this can build up and be damaging for our relationships. Remember the good and stay positive.

Lastly, I would say, that if you feel your relationship is over that maybe wait until the world goes back to normal to see if you feel differently. Making a hasty decision now may not be in your best interest.

For all those couples out there that are relishing this extra time together and looking for a way to spend your time, what better than to share your love tale and relationship advice? Get in touch on my website, Facebook or Instagram.

Stay safe friends and don’t forget, love is everywhere; we just have to remember to look.

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