While the statistics about divorce have never been great (it’s estimated that 38 percent of all marriages in Canada end in divorce, and this percentage doesn’t include cohabitating spouses), the heightened stress caused by the pandemic has led to a further spike in break-ups and dissolutions.
Two-career families, commutes, parenting, lack of support because families are far away—the demands are endless.
To compound things, we place huge expectations on our relationships. As modern couples we expect partners to be excellent co-parents, expert cooks, domestic gurus, financially successful economic partners, wonderful companions, great lovers, and so on. It’s not surprising we buckle under the pressure.
In particular, transitional periods place stress on our relationships. Many couples point to the arrival of children as the time when they began to drift apart.
Conversely, the transition to the empty nest is also difficult for many couples. The focus shifts away from the children and back on one another, which make the cracks that formed over the years glaringly obvious.
Moving from the world of work into retirement can also be a time when relationships begin to unravel. We lose the security of our former work routine. Our career gave us an identity that retirement doesn’t as easily provide.
Many of us minimize the extent of the issues, hoping that somehow our relationships will get better over time. Or, wee make attempts to improve things by reading a relationship book or sign on to an internet course about relationships. We might ask for advice from a friend or family member or spiritual guide. Perhaps we try date nights or a couples vacation—all to no avail.
To restore connection, perhaps it’s time to look outside of the relationship for professional help.
If you’ve resolved you don’t want your relationship to be over, but you want it to be better, then it’s time to consider couples therapy. Talking together is not a pipe dream. It’s possible to have a friendship with your partner and enjoy being together again.