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Are divorces in a far-flung city a sign of things to come?

There's no denying that the COVID-19 virus has drastically transformed the way that people live their lives in many areas of the world. In particularly hard-hit places, residents have been obliged to ride out the rising tide of infections inside their homes for many weeks.

While areas in the United States are just approaching that extreme, people in the Chinese city of Ix'an are already emerging from their quarantines -- and a significant number of them are heading straight for divorce court. City officials report that they've had a massive increase in the number of divorce requests now that people are able to leave their homes.

Could this be a sign of things to come for the United States? Maybe so. There have been a lot of jokes bandied about regarding a possible baby boom in the nation nine months or so after the crisis is over -- but there could also be a "divorce boom." Couples forced into isolation with each other for long periods without work, friends, hobbies and other distractions to occupy them may either find themselves ever-more enchanted with each other or wondering why they're even together.

Being isolated with your spouse can aggravate cracks in an already shaky relationship. If a couple has been fighting, the stress and tensions associated with the viral outbreak (including money worries and the struggle to find basic necessities) can ramp up the hostilities and expose even deeper problems in the marriage. If a couple has merely grown apart over time, the time spent with each other may make one or both people more conscious of the fact that they simply no longer "mesh" with their partners.

Troubled times sometimes shine a light on our deepest truths. If you come to realize that you're no longer happy in your marriage and you want a divorce, find out what steps to take next.

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