Divorce Blog

COVID Impacting Parents and Marriages

By Karen Stewart

We live in uncertain times. In this age of global connectivity, it seemed almost unfathomable that a global pandemic could grind things to a halt. Yet that is where we are as a global society, to varying degrees. COVID has touched millions in many ways. One of the biggest ways is in how it is impacting parents and marriages.

There is a common narrative that COVID has led to a spike in divorces. After all, couples and families are forced to stay at home more than ever. Being together in the same confined space can lead to people wearing on one another. All of that leads to conflict, which leads to fighting and even divorce.

But what is the truth of the matter? What kind of stresses are these relationships facing? The simple fact of the matter is that COVID has impacted parents and marriages in many ways. Here are some of the most pertinent.

Economic Stress Impacting Parents and Marriages

Contrary to popular belief, it may not be the close proximity that has the largest impact on marriages and relationships. The financial stress facing millions of men and women has become one of the biggest stories of COVID.

We have all heard the horror stories; people have been furloughed or laid off entirely, businesses are collapsing and going under. All of them have serious financial implications that affect not only the individual but families as well.

That increased economic stress has led to a severe strain for some married couples and families. Given that money problems are the number one reason behind divorce, it should not be surprising that the increase in financial stress has impacted marriages.

These relationships may not have been perfect from the jump, but the pandemic made matters substantially worse. Whenever money becomes a major factor, relationships generally suffer for it.

As there becomes a bit more certainty regarding handling the pandemic, we may see those numbers dwindle. Unfortunately, money problems have been a major factor in divorce and likely will not go away in the future.

COVID is Not Just Impacting Parents and Marriages, but Couples too

It should come as no surprise to find out that marriage was down in 2020. The lockdown meant no public gatherings in most places and severe restrictions on the number of people that could gather in a given space in many others.

Combined with the spike in economic uncertainty and unemployment mentioned above, it only makes sense that the marriage rate fell in 2020. Given that we are still in the midst of this pandemic, 2021 will likely be no better.

Some areas are only now starting to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, but that growth will be in question. As more and more Canadians adjust to the pandemic life – whether that means minor changes or having to find new employment – we may see a return to pre-pandemic numbers in a few years.

Until then, Canada faces a slowing rate of marrying couples.

COVID is Impacting Sex Lives

As covered in the previous sections, there is an increased level of stress since the pandemic began. There are several factors involved in that stress, but it is there, no less. Financial uncertainties or being quarantined for long periods of time are putting pressures on married couples. Stress is impacting parents and marriages alike.

Initial media reports as the pandemic started suggested a potential boost in the sex lives of couples due to quarantine. That is actually somewhat true. Some studies have shown an increase in activity among married couples. People who are “dating”, meanwhile, have seen a drop in numbers.

The important takeaway here is that, no, being quarantined does not automatically relate to increased intimacy. And even in the cases where intimacy has increased, it does not mean that it can save marriages that are in trouble.

COVID Schooling is Hugely Impacting Parents and Marriages

Perhaps one of the biggest adjustments that people needed to make during this pandemic is schooling. The vast majority of schools have since moved to a virtual format. In some areas, they have returned to school, but that is definitely not the majority at this point.

So, with kids in a virtual classroom environment, there are new challenges for parents. Some work at home, which makes things slightly easier. Being in the same household allows families to follow schedules, and parents can hold their kids accountable for being on time and doing assignments.

But families where parents have returned to work face more difficult challenges. Kids are finding it largely difficult to be attentive and productive in virtual environments. Being at home, surrounded by all of the things that stimulate them, provides a natural distraction.

Parents have to find new and creative ways to get their children interested and engaged in their virtual classrooms. That in itself is enough to leave some parents feeling the stress of the pandemic.

covid familyCOVID Has Meant Close Proximity for Families

Another major impact of COVID has been quarantining. For families, activities are a great way to keep busy and can also give each member of the family time to themselves away from the others. The pandemic stripped a lot of that away.

Even in homes that are by no means small, we seemingly run into family members more often. Confined in the same space for weeks and months on end has taken its toll, to say the least. Families will have their natural fighting, but this global situation has only exacerbated the issue.

Parents, in particular, are having to find new ways to manage their kids’ time. Finding structure for them without sending them to school or activities creates a sense of normalcy. Moreover, it helps parents maintain their sanity in an already stressful environment.