How COVID-19 has Affected Married Couples

Significantly more newlywed couples are seeking divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic. 20 percent of couples filing for divorce were married in 2020.

Alex Wilson, Reporter

 When the coronavirus outbreak began, people were shut into their homes for long periods of time, most likely for the first time in their lives. People were not used to having to constantly be around their family, or in the case of some people, the person they married. Too much time together can make it hard to have a healthy relationship, because people may begin to lose their sense of self. Couple that with the major stressors that a pandemic brings, such as unemployment and sick family members, and it is no surprise that some couples struggle to keep their relationship alive.

   In April 2020, not even two months after quarantine began, a survey of married or “serious” couples was conducted. They were asked how the COVID-19 outbreak affected their relationship, with the three options being that it didn’t affect their relationship at all, it harmed their relationship, or it changed for the better. 734 people responded to the survey, and 31 percent of those surveyed answered that the pandemic had harmed their relationship.

   Data around the world seems to corroborate this idea. Most notably, in China, divorce rates skyrocketed after quarantine restrictions were lifted. In Xi’an, divorce requests are so abundant that they cannot be processed quick enough. This pattern is spilling over into the United States as restrictions are slowly being lifted around the country, with a 50 percent rise in divorce inquiries, according to top marriage attorneys.

   The most hard-hit group of people in terms of relationship strain are newlyweds. An astounding 58 percent of people looking to divorce during the pandemic were those married within the last five years. Compared to 2019, this is a 16 percent increase in newlywed divorces. Furthermore, 11 percent of those people were married for five months at most. This is double the rate that it was in 2019, emphasizing the debilitating effects of quarantine conditions on newly married couples.

   Based on this data during the coronavirus pandemic, it is safe to assume that divorce rates will continue to increase, and likely skyrocket was quarantine restrictions are fully lifted.