Doctor Love: The effect of quarantine on marriage

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

Dear Doctor Love, after nearly two months of being locked down together, my husband and I are heading for divorce. I cannot understand why this togetherness has strained our marriage to a breaking point but instead of bringing us closer all we do is argue about problems I didn’t even know we have. He starts going over stuff that happened years ago and I am reeling with the onslaught of accusations and condemnations. I am finding out that what I thought he enjoyed he has been secretly resenting, like my parent’s regular weekend visits which he now says kept us from doing things he would have liked to do. He also hates his job and being the primary breadwinner. It seems that he has spent years being unhappy and angry inside and I didn’t know. We didn’t fight much—I thought we were just settled down and comfortable. It turns out I was wrong.

Is the entire foundation of our marriage a lie? Do we pick up broken pieces and start again or will it be better to just call it quits?


love and marriage

Dear Blindsided,

You no doubt realize that you have a tough battle ahead to save your marriage. He’s kept this bottled up all this time and now the flood gates have opened and it will take time for the water to recede enough to be able to see a clear solution.

You will have to a great deal of time just listening. Don’t defend or accuse—it’s not time to assign blame. Let him get it all out and don’t tell him he is wrong to feel as he does. Don’t discount how much importance he’s placed on the experiences he thinks he’s missed.

Once he’s exhausted his anger and all of the cards are on the table, let him tell you how you can work towards a happier future. Ask him what he would like to do instead of hosting his in-laws on weekends. Go somewhere fun and exciting if that’s what he wants.

He hates his job? Now is a great time to develop a new career, one that might be done online. Does he want to turn a hobby into a new and exciting venture? Does he want out from under expenses and debts? The two of you can work to find a way to release him from the responsibilities that are causing him resentment.

It doesn’t have to be the end. It will take time and understanding on both sides but you can mend your marriage and see this time that you are forced together as a wake-up call.


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