AUSTIN, Texas -- When Natali Robertson and her former husband separated after 18 years together, she realized it was worse than she initially thought.
"I knew we were having some problems but I never would have thought that it would have led to a divorce,” said Robertson.
Later, she discovered why her ex wanted a divorce.
“I found out in July he had been having an affair,” she said.
The couple had already begun taking the steps to get divorced, but the coronavirus pandemic put them on hold - temporarily.
“Part of me was like maybe we are not meant to be divorced. Maybe this is going to … you know, I was kind of like what if he calls and everything works out and all of this was just our journey,” said Robertson.
Robertson is not alone. Living under lockdown can have a seismic impact on a relationship. For some, it might feel like a holiday stay-cation, but that is not always the case.
Jesús Aguirre, a divorce lawyer in Austin, says anxious clients reached out to him right after schools shut down and stay-at-home orders were recommended across the state.
“Things that are usually brushed under the rug usually come out to light or become very evident around the holidays. I fully anticipate - I think we are going to be very busy this summer,” said Aguirre.
Natali Robertson appears with her former husband in this undated image. (Courtesy: Natali Robertson)
Lawyers across the country expect a surge in divorce filings as couples emerge from quarantine.
Family court judges and attorneys are now going digital, using video and conference calls to conduct hearings.
Robertson's marriage ended with one email.
“You make such a big deal about getting up to the altar and, you know, getting married, and you know everything is so special and beautiful and wonderful and then to just end it like that in an email and on a piece of paper is to me the harshest thing possible,” said Robertson.
Her new reality in the time of coronavirus is being isolated in her home with her thoughts.
“I feel like I have received so much healing just in this short amount of time. I’m a totally different person than I was before this because there are no distractions. You just have to sit with it and be with it and I think that’s the most healing thing that you can do,” she said.