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Pandemic fuels more family strife
From:Shanghai Daily  |  2021-01-07 08:29

There was a surge in marriage counseling cases in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic a factor in family strife, a report revealed yesterday.

Shanghai-basedWeiqingGroup said it received 58,504 marriage counseling cases online last year, up 86.9 percent from a year earlier, and 2,376 offline, a 121 percent surge.

The pandemic disrupted people’s daily routines and habits, andlockdownswhich had increased family interactions had also magnified problems.

Many complained of partners idling at home all day and contributing nothing to the family, said Ming Li, a senior marriage counselor with the group.

“The pandemic exposed problems that had existed for years in many relationships, and triggered an outbreak of complaints and contradictions, leading to a wave of divorces,” said Ming.

Financial pressure worsened the situation, she added.

On the other hand, the pandemic also gave many people a chance to review their marriage and reunited some couples after they realized how fragile life was, she said.

A 34-year-old woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she had quarreled a lot with her husband during the pandemic. She was in the advertising industry and her husband worked online during the pandemic.

“The quarrels were triggered by trifling things like who does the cooking or takes care of the kid,” she said.

XuTianli, director of the Shanghai Marriage Agents Management Association, said: “Many people seek a divorce out of impulse, while restarting a new relationship is difficult..

“Many don’t know how to manage and maintain a relationship, which leads to divorce.”

Extramarital affairs topped the list in terms of counseling content at 62 percent, followed by daily disputes and issues resulting from divorce such as division of property and custody of children.

Meanwhile, there was an increase in wives being neglected by their husbands for a long time, the report revealed.

Those aged between 31 and 35 were found to be the highest percentage seeking marriage counseling services, at 25.54 percent, followed by those between 26 and 30, according to the report.

“The pandemic trapped many people at home, and lack of contact with society makes people aloof and changes their mental state, which can lead to a change in family relationships as well,” saidLiuZhongqi, a professor with the Shanghai Administration Institute.