Is this a Lock-Down Break-Up?
Are we giving up on our relationships or finally getting real?
The year 2020 has brought challenges no one expected. The global pandemic and its effects on our finances, our family life and our health has rocked our world. Those of us lucky enough to skate through without getting sick (yet) have been faced with a new and radically altered reality.
Divorce rates have skyrocketed during this year. In the months of March through June, couples have filed at a rate 34% higher than the same period last year. Just three weeks into the lockdown, there was a 57% spike in divorce filings.
So did the pandemic kill the relationship? Or was it something more?
Where We Go Wrong
We become disconnected when there is no reason to connect. You cannot save a doomed relationship on your own. I give a lot of credit to the people who bolted in the first three weeks. Those are the brave souls who said no. The world is a mess, and I don’t know what is going to happen next but life is too short to be locked up in this.
Teetering on the edge of making a decision is a hard place to be and stepping into the unknown always feels precarious. Check your feelings. In your heart, you already know the answer.
I can’t remember the last time we laughed
Long-term relationships require work and effort. While that is true, that effort shouldn’t feel arduous. It should feel fun. Are you having fun? Being an adult comes with jobs and commitments and decisions. But do you and your partner ever take the time to be silly, to just laugh? For god’s sake, life is supposed to be fun. Remember that.
Life feels lonely, together
The fact is that the more connected our world seems to become, the more lonely we can end of feeling. And when you are in a relationship that has become disconnected, loneliness is exacerbated. You aren’t alone but you feel alone. You feel even more alone when you are lying in bed next to someone while you each scroll your phone, consume yourself with gossip or news, obsess about how everyone else is living a better life than you are.
We fight to win
Every fight ends, it doesn’t resolve. And those issues just linger, year after year. Resentments pile up and the interaction becomes nothing more than a tally of who did what wrong. In love, we don’t just love what is perfect about our partner. We love their imperfections. Apologizing to someone we love, even when we don’t think we did anything wrong is the ultimate strength. I love you and our relationship more than I need to be right.
Everyone has it better than you
When we let our social media feed dictate how we feel about our own lives, we come up short. Look how perfect her husband is… And then we start living our lives to come up with our own posts to bolster the belief that our own relationship is worthy. The second you need to make it seem like you are happy…you aren’t.
We don’t let it breathe
Relationships have a rhythm. Like waves in the ocean, they swell and contract. There are times of deep connected togetherness and there are times of separation where the individual needs to pursue their passions. Every part of that living breathing entity are a part of a healthy relationship. Demanding complete undivided attention from your partner is a sign you are not maintaining your own individuality. And you are choking the life out of your relationship each time you insist on undivided attention.
The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.
Experts say that financial strain, homeschooling, and all the added stress has led to a historic rise in separations. And sure, those things are stressful. But the truth is this, if you were in a strong and healthy relationship, one where you felt fulfilled, would you ever consider running out the door?
Most of us have spent too long in dead relationships. And with the prospect of stay-at-home orders lingering for an unknown period of time, many brave people just called it. There were no more distractions, no running kids to school or sports, no elaborate vacations, no late work events or parties to attend. No more social media posts advertising how amazing your life looks as you buzz from event to event.
Subtract all the things we use to distract ourselves and what is left? The reality. Two people looking at each other with nothing to say. When asked to stay home, don’t go to work, don’t go out and socialize, don’t go shopping…when we had to close ourselves in the house and just be together, it all crumbled.
Of course, relationships don’t fall apart in three weeks.
Many people took stock of their lives and found themselves asking, what have I created here? And they went out to create something new.