Nothing helps a bad mood like spreading it around, so the saying goes. Behavioural Psychologists suggest the truth behind this old adage might be behind a predicted increase in divorce enquiries in the UK brought on by lockdown.

Working from home and self-isolation are causing stress and putting pressure on relationships. Some divorce lawyers are suggesting that there might be an increase in the level of enquiries about divorce proceedings because of lockdown.

For many couples, working from home means spending a lot more time together than normal. Those living with children or in smaller houses might find it difficult to get a moment to themselves. If one partner is having a particularly stressful day, tempers can fray, and arguments ensue.

Relationships are built on empathy. The moment that breaks down couples need to take a step back, cool off, and see the bigger picture, advise relationship counsellors. During lockdown that’s more difficult than usual, add in any financial difficulties that may also be a result of the reduced working hours, and we have a perfect storm for marital disharmony.

Speaking to Psychology Today (see here for the original article), The University of Manchester’s Dr. Nathan Smith, who is researching the psychology of astronauts working at the international space station says, “Self-isolation has thrown many couples into a completely new way of living, one that is comparable to astronauts on a space station, or submariners on a tour of duty. Although the situation is different physically, the monotony, repetition, boredom and social proximity mean that psychologically and emotionally there are many similarities.”

Divorce should always be a last resort, and experts say that couples should work to maintain their relationships. People should be aware of the things they do and say, think before speaking and try to pre-empt any arguments. Having an independent third party can help couples discuss their relationship difficulties, and there are many such organisations offering professional, trained counsellors specifically for that purpose. Relate, for example, offer counselling services and they can help remotely (www.relate.org.uk).

However, if the relationship has broken down beyond repair the worst thing you can do is ignore the situation. If that’s where you find yourself, or just need some advice to see what help and options are available to you, Burnley based Real Legal are on hand to help. You’ll be able to get expert legal advice from your friendly local solicitors.

Find out what your options are by calling Real Legal on 0345 646 0501, or visit the website reallegal.co.uk

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