Pandemic marriage’s first year leaves wife dreading a second

Published 8:14 am Tuesday, January 11, 2022

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Dear Abby: My husband and I got married during the pandemic in a short ceremony. Our first year of marriage has been less a honeymoon than a nightmare. He tends to be hotheaded. He fights dirty with name-calling, which he had occasionally done previously, but since we’ve been living together, it happens more often.
We are trying marriage counseling, but all of his temper tantrums and antics have made me see him in a different, negative light. He’s now talking about growing our family. He can be very sweet and thoughtful, but I don’t even know if I still like him at this point.
I’m also wondering if I’m just better alone because I like my space and time to myself. Maybe I’m settling with the current situation when there could be someone better out there. I know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Is this something I need to give some time to see how it plays out, or should I end it, the sooner the better? — HONEYMOON-LESS IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR HONEYMOON-LESS: The pandemic has stressed many marriages, but with the quarantines relaxing there should be less pressure and confinement. Has it helped? Whether your hot-tempered husband is capable of changing his behavior is something that may be revealed during the counseling.
You didn’t mention how long the two of you have been seeing a therapist, but if it has been more than six months with no improvement, it’s fair to assume he isn’t likely to change, and the marriage should end. In the meantime, use the most powerful form of birth control you possibly can so you don’t find yourself pregnant and trapped in a marriage from which you cannot escape.
DEAR ABBY: My mom is in a home for dementia patients, and Dad was living in their big house by himself. He couldn’t sell it until everything was settled with my mom. Because he was very lonely, I decided to let him move in with me. We agreed he would pay $320 a month. I needed the money and thought it was fair. My roommate pays $400 a month, but I was OK with Dad paying less.
When my sister found out, she was very upset that I was charging Dad. She had him move out that day, so now he sleeps at my brother’s and spends most of the day at his house.
When I turned 18 and lived at home I paid rent, so I saw nothing wrong with it. Now I am an outcast. No one talks to me except my dad, by phone. I am very depressed about this and feel suicidal. I suffer from anxiety and depression, see a therapist and have been on meds for years. Am I wrong, and how do I fix this? — GOOD SON IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR GOOD SON: If you haven’t done so already, talk about this with your therapist. It is very important that he or she knows you are having suicidal thoughts and that they persist. You did NOTHING “wrong.” Your father agreed to the arrangement, and he should have made that clear to your sister. She was wrong to interfere, and she seems to wield a disproportionate amount of power in your family. I can’t fix that and neither can you, so you will have to find ways of coping not only with your depression but also with her. You have my sympathy.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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