‘Covid ended our marriage’: The couples who split in the pandemic

By Emma Ailes
BBC News

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

media captionRichard and Rafaela say their 24-hour relationship with two children became unbearable

Around the world – from South America to West Africa – previously happy couples are splitting up and many are divorcing. The stress of the pandemic has been blamed by some, while others say it has highlighted old problems.

"I found out during lockdown that my husband has a girlfriend." Reni* whispers down the phone from her home in Nigeria. Her family are chatting loudly in the next room, plates clinking as they prepare dinner.

"I confronted him about her," she says, "and all he said was: 'How did you get into my phone?' It was a big blow out. I think he wants a divorce. He doesn't know I'm speaking to you now, that's why I can't show my real face."

Cooped up together in homes all over the world, many of us have felt the strain on our relationships. Juggling childcare, chores and work, worrying about health, finances and the state of the world, the global Covid-19 crisis has left many of us also navigating a domestic crisis of our own behind closed doors.

For some, like Reni, the close confinement of lockdown has also meant discovering secrets – and having to deal with the fallout.

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