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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: During the Lockdown, the Relationship with My Husband Has Reached Its Limits

Dear Stavroula,

I have been married for four years and we have a young son. My husband and I got married after falling crazy in love and I got pregnant. Our relationship has never been very calm. We've always had problems and quarrels, but I've never gotten to the point where I wanted to break up. Lately, however, I feel that I can't take it anymore. My husband has changed a lot. Of course, he may have been like that for a long time and I just didn't notice because I was working from morning till night, I'm a hairdresser and I have my own business. But since we've been on lockdown in the house, I think I’m living with another man, a stranger. From morning until night he’s in a mood, he doesn't like anything, he puts me down and starts fights over nothing. I wake up in the morning worrying about what he will come up with this time to shout about. And because I don't want my child to hear him, I don't respond or try to stop him. I don't know what's happening to him. I understand that the lockdown has affected everyone, but is he now showing his true self under pressure?

Kallie

Dear Kallie,

Ever since measures were taken to reduce the spread of coronavirus, our lives have changed radically. The luckiest ones are healthy and work from home. But many of our fellow human beings have lost their jobs overnight, and although this may be temporary, they are experiencing all the effects that this situation can have on a healthy and creative person. The less fortunate remain unemployed during this volatile and difficult period.

From what you write to me, I conclude that your husband is not working at the moment. Is that why his behavior has changed abruptly? It is not at all easy for a person who has learned to be active for many hours, to suddenly have to sit for a long time. Some find it difficult to do nothing, others do not know how to manage their free time, others are very anxious about the future and the financial consequences of this situation for their family.

In addition, many were forced to stay at home with the rest of their family for the first time in their lives for so many hours. Unfortunately, the pace of our lives does not allow us to spend much time with our family, we have not learned to share our time with our loved ones and when this is imposed on us without having chosen it and without being able to do otherwise, it can be very difficult. Some people even need personal space and time and the inability to do that puts unbearable pressure on them.

Finally, the loss of freedom, not being able to see loved ones and friends, and the lack of social activities combined with uncertainty even about things we took for granted can have negative consequences for people's psychological and mental functioning. Some people, therefore, do not easily adapt to this situation and become very irritable, are in a bad mood, or do not have the emotional endurance and again may feel anxiety and depression. And of course this affects their daily lives and behavior, as well as that of those closest to them.

That's why even if your husband's behavior has changed abruptly during this situation, it might be a good idea to wait until you make decisions about how your relationship is going. Wait for the return to your daily routine and then decide. Suggest that you do some things together, such as exercise or watching a movie together. Ask him, with a willingness to understand, what is bothering him and how you can help him.

However, you can set your limits, ask him to speak calmly, tell him how you feel each time he yells or lashes out, and ask him to find a solution to manage this difficult situation more effectively.

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