The spread of the global coronavirus pandemic has had many unforeseen consequences, and one of the closest to home is the undeniable impact on our personal relationships. As couples used to working outside of the home and dealing with childcare separately are quarantined together with more time on their hands than ever and zero outside distractions, it’s no wonder that marriages are coming under the spotlight. 

In fact, many outlets are predicting a sharp uptick in both the birth rate and the divorce rate after the worst is over. If your relationship is falling more on the latter side of that, and conditions feel like they are becoming unbearable, it can be an impossible situation. Most of us need time and space to process the immense emotional impact of something like contemplating a separation.

Usually, one half of the couple involved tends to move out of the home, at least temporarily, and turn to friends and family for some much needed support. Of course, during lockdown neither of these options are available. The property and rentals market has been mothballed as social distancing is observed, and our closest confidants are physically unreachable. It’s an extremely hard and unprecedented circumstance to be negotiating a split in. And yet for some couples, it’s the only choice they have. So if you feel like you’re on the brink, what can you do?

Separate The Immediate Situation From Fact

There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic is the dominant force in all our lives right now. It’s causing untold stress, from worries about our health and how to avoid catching the virus, to financial and job pressures, and the impact on our mental health of being separate from people we love. Everyone is struggling with high levels of anxiety right now. On top of that, many couples are trying to combine working full time from home with looking after small children or even homeschooling while all childcare is shut, which is an impossible task.

It’s little wonder that stress levels are through the roof. All of this pressure is in no way healthy, and it can make the situation within your four walls feel so much worse. So aim to take a balanced step back and ask yourself if what you are feeling really relates directly to your marriage. How much of the pressure you feel is down to the impossible situation many of us find ourselves in? If there are still good parts to the relationship, and they outweigh the bits that you aren’t so keen on then it could be that you don’t actually need to take the drastic step of starting divorce proceedings. Try to take a step back from the situation and see it objectively.      

Get The Right Support In Place

If you do decide that divorce is the only way forward, then getting the right support in place is absolutely vital from the word go. Every separating couple needs access to good legal advice in order to get proceedings off on the right foot, so before you even consider making any formal steps, seek advice on your personal situation. The circumstances of each divorce are highly personal and need to be fully understood. Luckily, you can start the process of researching the best support available for you at to begin to understand your options.

Being able to access impartial guidance is absolutely crucial at such an emotive time, when you may not be able to think entirely straight. Divorce is a decision with long term implications, especially if there are children involved. You can also access some support from other sources such as marriage counselling services or even divorce coaches. Sometimes these steps can help shed a different light on your experiences and mediate the split. This kind of guidance can be especially useful if you want to postpone the actual act of divorce until after the crisis has passed for practical reasons. By giving a more balanced view of your situation, it can make things bearable in the short term.

For this reason informal divorce support groups are also an option which can take some of the pressure off. Taking some form of independent financial advice is also a good idea, as often some of the most intense wrangling in a divorce case can be around money. It can take several months to untangle the financial aspects of a separation, so being prepared can save delay further down the line.

Focus On Your Future

It may be quite flippant, but the saying ‘Don’t get bitter, get better’ applies here. Going through a divorce is a tough emotional ordeal, and not many people manage it without experiencing some very negative thoughts about the other party. And yet this energy is very misplaced, no matter the circumstances. Divorce takes a huge toll, and so it’s important to focus your energy firmly on the future. Once the decision is made, make a conscious effort to leave your feelings behind. You are unlikely to get any apologies, no matter how badly you might have been treated. Try to separate your feelings from the court proceedings. While you do want to reach a fair outcome, don’t get drawn into diversions just to get back at your ex. Focus on what is going to be right for you in the future. Learn to reframe your thoughts, so that instead of seeing what is happening as an ending, you view it more as a beginning of the rest of your life. 

Set Boundaries

Agreeing to divorce while in a lockdown situation can feel like being stuck in limbo. Make it work for now by agreeing on a few basic rules to make the situation easier – things around sharing space and domestic duties, even on dating and other relationships can be helpful to spell out to avoid confusion and hurt feelings. Whatever happens, divorce is an extremely difficult undertaking during the best of circumstances. During such an intense situation as the coronavirus lockdown, the pressure is multiplied, so try your best to be respectful whatever your personal feelings  – you’ll be glad you did in time.