DEAR ABBY: Since the coronavirus lockdown began, my wife and I have been cooped up together all day, every day. Though we have lived together for 35 years, she’s now discovering that I “don’t cook vegetables correctly.” (It goes without saying that I’m no longer allowed to prepare the entrees.)

I don’t sort the trash the way she thinks it should be, so I can’t take out the garbage without her first inspecting it. Not only do I not wash the dishes properly, I don’t even wash my face right. Thus far the only thing I seem to be able to do is go to the restroom without her supervision, but I lock the door now just in case she decides to kibitz.

I realize that during this tense time, people feel a loss of control over their own lives and try to compensate however they can. I’m able to hang on to my patience almost all the time, but occasionally I want to either scream at her or look for an apartment of my own. Do you have any advice for either or both of us?


DEAR KEEPING CALM: You are far from the only spouse who is experiencing this. Your comment about your wife’s hypervigilance and fault-finding being her way of coping with her anxieties is perceptive. If you haven’t talked with her (calmly) about how her behavior is affecting you, please do it before you explode.

Being cooped up together all day, every day, isn’t healthy for either of you. You both should be getting out separately for at least 30 minutes of walking (60 could be even better) and sunlight every day. The exercise and change of scenery would not only be healthy, but may lower both of your stress levels. However, if that isn’t sufficient, the two of you should discuss what’s going on with her physician.


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