In the last two weeks, four couples I know have advised me they are seriously considering terminating their marriages or relationships. The average age of these couples is 49.
Following the first wave of COVID-19 and as lockdown restrictions ease has the pandemic surfaced issues sooner for couples?
The average age for divorce in the UK is 46.4 for men and 43.9 for women. Similarly, those age 45 to 49 years old have the most divorces. So if we take the four couples in question they are matching the statistics.
Unreasonable behaviour is the most common cause of divorce in England and Wales, accounting for nearly half of all divorces. In 2017, 46.5% of divorces were caused by unreasonable behaviour. The second most common reason that couples divorce is after a 2 year separation with consent. Adultery was the cause of 10.5% of divorces.
Ref: Divorce Statistics UK 2020
For some COVID-19 has seen a return to rebuilding relationships and bringing families closer together, but not for all. It would seem that the pressure of cohabiting in isolation has brought extreme pressure to couples.
In her Warrington world wide Lifestyle brief “Coronavirus ‘very likely’ to cause spike in divorce rates” Hannah Skentlebery says “Deciding to get divorced is never going to be easy. With the current system, couples have to place the blame for the breakdown of the marriage. Coronavirus isn’t officially “grounds for divorce”, so you will instead need to determine the cause of the breakdown of your marriage between you.”
Whether these four couples go ahead with separation or divorce remains to be seen. However, it is more than possible COVID-19 has made many people re-evaluate their position in life, how they want to live their lives and who they want to live those lives with going forward.
We will need to wait some time to understand the full impact of COVID-19 on individuals and their relationships.
Ciara Moore- Founder of Female Leaders At 50 and Beyond