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Two cats in a barrel

Photo by Silver Ringvee on Unsplash

Relationship breakdown is common during periods of isolation – good communicaton and especially listening can help

We are all aware that too much time in the company of others, even if they are family, can lead to tension. During this Covid-19 pandemic we are experienceing more time at home. As the majority of us will be worrying about our health, jobs, finances, family and the future generally stress levels are already high.

In every relationship there are ups and downs and for some that relationship will break down completely but what then?

At difficult times, we all need someone to talk to but it is actually very hard in life to find someone who will listen. 

Listening requires skill and concentration. Jordan B Peterson, Psychologist, speaks about it here.

Your employer is someone who can listen and offer support.  But before we get to that, it is important to look at some basic principles surrounding communication and listening generally:

  • If you live with someone and are trying to resolve the relationship or make peace first acknowledge that your spouse or partner is never going to be the same as you.
  • Their facts are never going to be the same as your facts.
  • There will always be a desire to show that you are right and vice versa. But two heads are always better than one.  Perhaps 9 out of 10 things that your partner says are dispensable or wrong but there may be one part of the conversation which is very real and meaningful.

It is important to always express the truth of the situation to your partner and, if necessary, your employer.

This will make both of you feel better and the exchange of truth is curative – truth produces health. 

So, if a relationship is difficult or breaks down then support can be given to consider what is going on in the relationship: is the dynamic more slave vs. tyrant or two cats in a barrel?  If so then that is not really a relationship.

Your employer may be able to offer you support, to include counsel or therapy in an attempt to try and make things better and not worse.

The conclusion might be that things in the relationship are not acceptable to you and it is important to identify that something is wrong, that you are willing to talk about it and want your life to be better.

This help and support is to understand your thoughts and feelings.  Not to look at revenge but for you to feel better; that the place that you end up at is better than the place you left.  If there is the legal process to follow, for example, a divorce then by this effective way of communication with your partner and the support of your employer then the desire should be to make this process as painless as possible.

The actual legal principles are straight forward: the marriage has broken down irretrievably i.e. beyond repair.

There are 5 ways of showing this to the court and one needs to be chosen:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion for more than 2 years
  • 2 years separation with the other party’s consent
  • 5 years separation without consent

A solicitor can help and guide you throughout this process.  There are protocols in place to provide assistance to make the process less confrontational and more dignified instead.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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