Relationships in corona quagmire


As the world passes through the unchartered territory of the present corona pandemic, everything seems turned topsy-turvy. Immediate and prolonged lockdown has affected each and everybody in some way or the other. Stress resulting from the different daily routines with the drastically different working conditions has taken a heavy toll on individual well-being. The most subtle effect is on direct relationships, which have made people feel trapped both physically and psychologically. Many stories coming from all over the world where sudden lockdown has made existing strained relationships to come to happy or unhappy conclusions. It has brought about an essential element to the forefront that external stress can smoothen strained relationships.

A prolonged period of lockdown/loneliness is often the cause of deterioration of mental health and emotional well-being. An unchanging environment is not suitable for health, and it often leads to sleep loss and challenged immunity. The human mind gets tired of similar external stimulations and may result in affecting the memory. The internet has provided some solace to millions stuck indoors, be it in the form of attending classes, exercise videos, or virtual parties. Depending on the situation, the lockdown has worked both ways. It has promoted togetherness. It has also brought about friction between spouses.

During the current lockdown, there was reported a spurt in divorce cases in affected areas of China. A strange story came from India that police took the husband away when the wife had accused him of cheating in the game of ludo during the lockdown. Similarly, on the other side, there was a story from Europe that a couple on the verge of divorce ended in making up. Lockdown effectively puts all the strained relationships in a pressure cooker waiting for the safety valve to go off. It ultimately results in some settlement which can be good or bad either for both or for anyone. Marriage psychologists have an opinion that the success of a marriage depends on their ability to look inwards. Looking inward depends on the availability of time and level of stress. At the onset of marriage, both spouses tend to believe best about each other. Continuation of this belief depends on the motivation to believe that way with time. Perceptions and factors important for marriage continuation change over time. Successful marriages exhibit certain traits. Most important of it is that both the individuals manufacture themselves acceptable explanations within their subconscious environment about annoying behavior of the other half. A perfect example is, “Probably kids kept her busy else laundry would have been done!. It is done to neutralize any negative feelings about marriage, which may become overwhelming. With the increased stress because of lockdown, the ability of either of the spouse to generate the above-stated explanations gets dramatically reduced; hence chances of divorce increase manifold. Sometimes, these increased chances do get converted into reality.

The reverse is also true. Extraordinary stress provided by Corona lockdown motivates individuals in strained relationships to be together lest to be run over by prevailing uncertainties. This uncertainty may be the direct result of the financial situation and its corresponding effect on children or emotional support deficit. Lockdown may provide the opportunity to rejuvenate the capability to generate subconscious explanations of each other’s negative behavior.

Hence lockdown may prove to be a bane or boon for strained relationships depending on the maturity level of spouses. It all depends on their will to let their marriage blossom even under the scorching heat of this prolonged lockdown.

Nadeem Khan is an insurance professional based in Toronto. Email:



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