‘I’m grateful for our intense lockdown split’: what has the pandemic done to our relationships?

This period of enforced togetherness has broken some couples and turbocharged others

Lexi can clearly recall the day she walked around the house looking for traces of her husband, Rob. Returning from her work as a dog groomer that Friday evening, as usual she went to put her shoes away in the drawer under the stairs. But opening it up, she noticed all his shoes were missing. She went to the bedroom and looked at his side of the wardrobe: empty. As she walked from room to room, the shock set in. The house had been picked clean of Rob’s possessions; even his tools in the garage, the ones he had just got around to organising, were gone.

The couple had been together for six years, married for two, and have a four-year-old child (Lexi also has a daughter from a previous relationship). In the early days of the pandemic, their marriage had seemed strong, but in May they went through a tough patch: Lexi miscarried, and by autumn Rob had become increasingly down, telling her more than once that the year had left him “emotionally drained”. Even so, Lexi felt blindsided when he announced he wanted a divorce in mid-November. Two weeks later, he had gone. There has been no communication between them since. Lexi still has many questions about why Rob left, but she believes 2020 might have broken their marriage.
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