Couple adjusts to isolation together

My dear husband and I have a loving but somewhat gritty marriage. We tend to bicker. You’d think we could change, but we don’t. Enter the coronavirus stay-at-home mandate. We are at home, finding things to do. I do exercise videos, cook foods from my dusty cookbook. But life has changed. Many parts of my life have disappeared. However, my husband has not vanished. In spite of our 1,800-square-foot home, it seemed he is always two feet away from me. Suddenly, he has to get into the same cupboard I am reaching into. I creep into the bathroom to brush my teeth, he follows. I sweep the patio, he has to weed nearby. At first our bickering got worse. I kept thinking, “Are you really going to hang around here all day?”

Then, something happened to me. It wasn’t a cough, or a fever as I had feared. It was a kind of surrender, an emotional tectonic-plate shift, an unknown force. No complaint seemed important enough to verbalize. Requests were softly made and politely received. I have started asking for hugs. I even began to ever so slightly stress when he left for an errand. Would he be safe, come back to me? His long meandering stories were met with appreciation. Perhaps there was new comfort in the sound of his voice?

I now understand Patty Hearst, the rich young heiress kidnapped and held until she joined with her captors’ crusade? I am convinced. I don’t have coronavirus. I have Stockholm Syndrome! Good thing it is with the man that I already trust and love.

Pamela Brown


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