‘Divorce pandemic’ may lie ahead after quarantine days

‘Divorce pandemic’ may lie ahead after quarantine days

ISTANBUL- Anadolu Agency
‘Divorce pandemic’ may lie ahead after quarantine days

As people across the world have to live under lockdown to stem the coronavirus pandemic, prolonged isolation could cause many relationships to falter, according to experts on mental health and legal issues.

"A divorce pandemic may be around the corner,” Yudum Söylemez, a lecturer of psychology at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, told Anadolu Agency.

"Stressful situations" like living under quarantine can "highlight whatever is under the surface," explained Söylemez, who is also a family and couples therapist.

"If the couple is deeply connected, they become even closer," she said.

"However, if they have distanced from each other, lost their love and attraction towards each other, or they have unresolved issues from the past that create conflict, they may grow even more frustrated with each other."

According to Söylemez, there are many couples who are staying together just because they do not want to face the challenges of the change, and they just "keep themselves busy with children, work, alcohol, and social life" but will
eventually "need to confront the real issues" amid the outbreak lockdown.

When the virus emerged in China and forced millions to stay indoors for months at a time, and then they gained freedom, divorce cases skyrocketed, said media reports from China.

Lawyer Ilknur Atış Köylüoğlu fears an increase in divorce filings not just after the end of the quarantine process but in the long run.

"Although Wuhan was under complete lockdown, we don’t have a complete quarantine in Turkey," Köylüoğlu, said referring to the country's weekend curfews in 31 high-population provinces.

Highlighting the possible economic woes in the virus’ wake, Köylüoğlu said: "Divorce demand may rise due to economic difficulties as small business owners having to shutter their businesses and people being laid off or having to
take unpaid leave."

Köylüoğlu also said that domestic violence seems to be on the rise.  According to a women’s rights group, in March 2020 alone, a total of 29 women were killed in Turkey.  The Istanbul-based We Will Stop Murder of Women Platform called for the better protection of women as people are being urged to self-quarantine to stem the virus’ spread.