While the pandemic has been the nucleus for quite a few unpleasant side effects this year, one thing is clear: divorce was on the rise in 2020. According to a recent article in PsychologyToday.com, one legal form website saw a 34% increase in divorce agreement sales in summer 2020 as compared to summer 2019. Additionally, a Washington, D.C. law firm reported a 70% increase in divorce-related phone traffic from last year. Marriage stressors arising from COVID-19 seem to be the top culprits, including economic worries, the pressure of managing both work and children’s schooling from home, missing friends and loved ones because of social distancing, and seemingly no end in sight for all of the aforementioned.
According to the report, shorter marriages – that is, those of less than five years – appeared to be at a greater risk for failure, along with couples who were already in unhappy marriages before the pandemic began. The article cited responsiveness and support as part of what are called “adaptive dyadic processes,” meaning the interaction between two people, which can predict the quality and stability of a relationship. External pressures like those from COVID-19 create instability and decrease responsiveness and support. While things like work and social engagements out of the family home gave such couples an outlet in the past, stay-at-home orders pushed that friction to the forefront.