“My marriage had preexisting conditions, and covid killed it,” said Dan, a 44-year-old father of three living in Texas. Before covid-19, Dan and his wife felt free to minimize their differences and their time together. But once they were stuck living together 24/7, things took a turn for the worse. Dan felt he was carrying a much bigger load for the family during the lockdown compared with his wife. The frustrations born of covid time together led him to conclude that “we weren’t a partnership, we weren’t working together.” And so, Dan filed for divorce.
Judging by recent media coverage, Dan would seem to be the poster child for a wave of pandemic-related divorces that have swept America since March. “Why the coronavirus pandemic is leading so many couples to divorce,” read one New York Post headline this spring. The New York Times recently took a similar line: “Considering a Coronavirus Divorce? You’re in Good Company.” But in real life, the net effects of the pandemic are not nearly as negative as many media reports would suggest.