Quarantines might be a fairly recent development in Europe and the US, but China’s been dealing with it since last year and people have been stuck at home for a while. Many thought this would mean a baby-boom for the country since you can’t leave the house, you might as well get busy and use your free time to make some babies. But the reality seems to be way less optimistic.
Many couples are splitting up and married couples are planning to get a divorce as soon as they can. Being stuck at home with your partner 24/7 for over a month is not an easy thing for many. With so much time on your hands and few distractions people started revealing their darker sides, bad habits and even some secrets were uncovered.
Turns out you can live with someone for years, but since you’re both at work most of the time and only seeing each other for a portion of the day means you get to keep to yourself for most of the time. But once you’re truly stuck together for days on end – your true colours come out.
Some women found out their partner was cheating on them, others found irreconcilable differences that they found to be manageable before. You could say that people were just spending an unnatural amount of time in close quarters with their partner and going a bit stir-crazy all cooked up at home, but on the other hand – can you really spend years with a person if you can’t even get along for a month?
There has been a lot of talk on Chinese forums about hearing neighbours quarrelling, fighting and crying, yet at the same time, some of the people complained that even though they were staying home with their partner for a month they barely spoke for 10 seconds a day. Self-isolation is tough no matter how you look at it. If you’re stuck alone you might feel lonely and missing human contact, on the other hand, realising you barely talk to your partner and feel lonely even when you’ve been stuck together for weeks sounds even more depressing.
Some people say that for them quarantine has been described as living in a pressure cooker. You’re just encased in a small space, with all your demons and inner thoughts and another person with their own emotional baggage and strange habits. At first, you think it’s going to be fine, then you start getting annoyed by certain things, but don’t want to let it turn into an argument. After all, you’ve got no way out of this situation so it’s better not to start a conflict, so the pressure builds until one day you both lose patience and just explode into the biggest fight in the history of your relationship. And that is how cities in China have been seeing a massive increase in divorce applications.
A marriage agency in Dazhou, Sichuan Province of south-western China has had over 300 applications for divorce in the past two months. Other cities have had to limit the amount of divorces applications they will grant per day, possibly to discourage people from making such drastic decisions, but it hasn’t slowed down the public at all. They just wait for the next available date, people are actually queuing to get a divorce.
Is this something we can learn from in the future or is this just an experiment that proves the futility of marriage and the dark side of isolation? It’s hard to tell at the moment. Some are saying that the spike in divorces could be simply because people are stressed and want an easy way out of the situation, others say that the quarantine was an awakening to people’s real needs and life goals. So which one is it? Only time will tell.