Being in a loving, stable marriage can provide considerable comfort and support during times of stress. When that stress is relentless and combined with a global pandemic, even the strongest marriages can suffer. The fallout of 2020 is expected to include a serious uptick in the national divorce rate.
This may not come as a big surprise, but the pandemonium caused by the pandemic and other events of 2020 has already caused a surge in the number of couples who divorce. We’ve all been stuck at home in one capacity or another for a while now – with no definitive end in sight – and it’s nothing if not stressful. Stress has a way of creeping into relationships, and the extreme stress associated with the global pandemic we find ourselves in has led to some extreme consequences, including divorce. If you’ve come to the very difficult decision that a divorce is right for you, it’s time to consult with an experienced Annapolis divorce attorney.
It’s difficult to adequately calculate the amount of stress we’re all under, which is compounded by all the uncertainty and anxiety involved in living through a pandemic. Consider all of the following:
These are simply the most obvious forms of stress that every household (with children) faces, the list could go on and on.
An unusual component of the COVID-19 pandemic is the divided stance that many people take on the matter. Well-regarded national and global resources assure us that we should be social distancing by keeping at least six feet between ourselves and others who don’t live in our household, wearing masks when out in public, washing our hands frequently and thoroughly, and by gathering only in small groups (while maintaining these safety practices) – preferably outdoors. This is all excellent advice that should be followed scrupulously.
Unfortunately, however, the immense shock of the pandemic leaves some people unable to cope with this new reality, and they choose to go their own way. Stress and anxiety can do that to a person, and if this happens to be your spouse’s reaction to the pandemic, there is probably very little you can do to dissuade him or her of the inadequacy of this response.
Because you share children and loved ones, however, you are naturally compelled to put their health and safety first. If you can’t trust your spouse to do the same – by ensuring that your children wear masks when they’re out and about together and by wearing a mask himself or herself – it can lead to an insurmountable rift.
Masks, social distancing, and handwashing represent the only line of defense we have – to date – against the Coronavirus. Rejecting this bridge toward a new normal in which we continue moving forward toward more socially engaged lives simply isn’t an option for most of us. If your spouse has a diametrically different view, it can wear away at your marital bond (especially if your marriage is newer).
Human services professionals commonly refer to the Phases of Disaster, and one such phase is disillusionment. For example, when states first entered into the so-called lockdown, we were all a bit stunned, and change came at us so quickly that we didn’t have a lot of time to reflect or even to adequately notice the exact toll that the immense stress took in our lives. Now that some time has passed and we’ve all settled in a bit, some of us are more prone to hitting a wall of disillusionment – when whatever optimism we’d held onto begins to fade. If you and/or your spouse have let go of the conviction that better days are ahead, it can be disastrous for your marriage (and other relationships). While some people are energized by the inherent challenges they face, others are more prone to giving up hope. If even one of you is the latter, it can make continuing to foster a healthy marriage far more difficult.
As if that isn’t enough, it’s important to consider additional challenges that are unique to 2020, including:
Couples who’ve been married for longer often have reserves of coping mechanisms and goodwill that have accrued over time, and that help them get through stressful times like the events of 2020. Couples with fewer years under their belts often face a much more difficult challenge. Experts agree that when the pandemic loosens its grip, we can expect to see a surge in divorces across the nation.
If you’re staring down a divorce as you make your way through 2020, Patrick Crawford at the Law Office of Patrick Crawford in Annapolis, Maryland, is a dedicated divorce lawyer with the experience, focus, and compassion to help. We offer virtual and in-person appointments, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (410) 216-7905 for more information today.