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COVID-19 breakups: Study says 5 million Canadian couples have split

A quarter of Canadians aged 18-24 have experienced a pandemic split, the most of any age group
Couple break up
Research from Finder Canada shows that millions of couples across Canada have split due to stresses introduced by the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’ve split from a partner this past year, you can take some comfort knowing you are far from alone. National research shows that 15 per cent (or 4,673,565) of Canadian couples have called it quits since COVID broke out last year.

Finder Canada aims to help Canadians make better financial decisions such as finding a credit card or buying a home using data collection. With recent research into break-up and divorce rates, Finder has identified financial issues as one of the main stressors affecting couples across the country. 

Some key findings of Finder’s study include a national breakdown for breakups based on age and area.

  • 25 per cent of Canadians aged 18-24 have experienced a pandemic split, the most of any age group.
  • 17 per cent of Canadians aged 35-44 are splitting at slightly more than the national average of 14 per cent.
  • Breakups among British Columbia couples are the third highest in the country at 17 per cent with Nova Scotia ahead at 21 per cent and Quebec taking the top spot with 23 per cent.
  • Nearly a quarter (21 per cent) of 35-44-year-old Canadians say that COVID-19 has hurt their relationship.
  • In some good news for the recently single, just under half of Canadians are going at it alone and report that they do not have a romantic partner.

As for the rest of the couples that managed to stay together, the research looked into some ‘quarantine quirks’ that have been affecting those relationships. You know the ones, maybe you’ve noticed your partner chews unnaturally loud or maybe you really don’t like seeing your partner in track pants (for some reason). When asked which ‘quarantine quirks’ they disliked the most, a whopping 55 per cent of Canadians admit that they have at least one.

  • Nationally, 61 per cent of men are much more bothered by their partner’s ‘quarantine quirks’ than 46 per cent of women.
  • In a bizarre complaint, 14 per cent of men cite their partners wearing track pants as the ‘quarantine quirk’ that bothers them the most, versus only 8 per cent of women.
  • At 13 per cent, both sexes report being equally irritated about spending ‘too much time together.’
  • 17 per cent of men are over twice as irritated as women (8 per cent) about their partner’s online overspending. 

Nearly 13 million Canadians say that cabin fever is their most significant stressor heading into 2021. Cabin fever describes psychological symptoms that a person may experience when they are confined to their home for extended periods. Such symptoms may include feelings of restlessness, irritability, and loneliness. Over 50 per cent of Canadians aged 55-64 say they are having the hardest time with it.

Closely following cabin fever, 40 per cent of Canadians report the rise in COVID-19 cases as a primary stressor. Other stressors include political chaos, balancing work, virtual school, relationships and nearly 40 per cent of Canadians are worried about finances.

Nicole McKnight, spokesperson for Finder Canada says it’s time to have a tough-love talk about personal finance.

“Millions of Canadians could easily find themselves suddenly single, unprepared and having to make difficult financial decisions like selling a property during COVID, splitting assets and finding an affordable place to live,” McKnight said. 

For tips on how to handle finances during this tumultuous time, you can visit Finder’s website.