Lockdown’s Strained Marriages


The Lock-down has been a real test for relationships. Weeks on end stuck in the same few rooms has been too much for some and yet other relationships which were getting stale have re-found their spark and are now flourishing. Close confinement and financial strife are cited as the key reasons behind the spike in divorce inquiries which Co-op Legal Services reported this week in the Telegraph – claiming a 42% rise in inquiries compared with the same period last year.

In Saudi Arabia there has been a nearly one-third increase in divorces due to Saudi women discovering during the lock-down period that their husbands had married a second wife in secret, Saudi Daily Okaz reported. There were 7,482 divorces in Saudi Arabia in February, when curfews and travel restrictions were first implemented. Meanwhile in Dubai the authorities have banned divorce during their lock-down for fear of a divorce deluge.

This has been a hard time for the unfaithful. Sneaking out to see lovers has of course been illegal. Now we are told that having sex with someone you don’t live with is illegal which makes sense in terms of the Coronavirus but must be virtually impossible for some who have been locked away for months on end. I feel particularly sorry for young students who are missing some of the best months of their lives and who tend to think of little else but shagging. A study of 900 adults by researchers at the universities of Anglia Ruskin and Ulster found 6 in 10 Britons have gone without having sex during lock-down – one wonders how much life has changed for some…

When social historians look back on this period of lock-down they will point to the jokes and other popular culture doing the rounds, showing how some people have had enough of each other. When they are scouring web pages and articles they should take note of the following tale which had me chuckling yesterday over breakfast:

A man was leaving a café in Milan with his espresso when he noticed a most unusual funeral procession approaching a nearby cemetery.  A black hearse was followed by a second black hearse about 10 metres behind the first one.  Behind the second hearse was a single Italian man walking a dog on a lead.  Behind him, a short distance back, were a couple of hundred men walking in single file one behind the other.

Overcome with curiosity, the man with the espresso respectfully approached the Italian with the dog and said… “I am so sorry for your loss, and this may be a bad time to disturb you, but I’ve never seen an Italian funeral like this. Whose funeral, is it?”

“My wife’s.”

”I’m so sorry. What happened to her? Was it the Covid?”

“No. She yelled at me and my dog attacked and killed her.”

He inquired further, “Oh. So who is in the second hearse?”

“My mother-in-law.  She came to help my wife and the dog turned on her and killed her also.”

It was a very poignant moment.  Silence passed between the two men.

The man with the espresso then asked… “Can I borrow the dog?”

The man with the dog replied, “Get in line.”