My Boyfriend Is Annoying Me During This Coronavirus Lockdown

My Partner of 7 Years Won’t Get Divorced!

Love U is my coaching program for smart women who want to make smarter choices in love. You might think that since people can’t date in person that demand has gone down.

Not only are single people lonelier than ever but couples in weak marriages are being tested

That is not the case at all.

In this unprecedented time, not only are single people lonelier than ever but couples in weak marriages are being tested like never before.

I’m no Nostradamus but I would predict a big divorce boom in 2021-22.

Which brings me to this article, written by my friend, author Lori Gottlieb, from her weekly Ask a Therapist column in The Atlantic. The gist of the reader’s question is this:

“This time spent under the same roof is showing me the problematic aspects of our relationship, and making me question whether this is really the right fit. I have wondered this at times before. For the most part, I feel like I am with someone special who “gets me” and makes me happy, but now I’m second-guessing myself and wondering what all of this dissatisfaction really means.”

Rather than give a weaker answer than Gottlieb, I would encourage you to read the above piece and note the balance and nuance of her reply. She offers validation of the OPs feelings but emphasizes that it’s up to the OP to do something different to get a different result – in this case, seeking to understand him instead of trying to change him:

“I realize that I’m asking you to ask him more about himself, when you’re the one who doesn’t feel heard. But the best way to get someone to listen to you is to listen to them first—which means not resentfully or half-heartedly hearing their words, but making the person “feel felt,” as we say in therapy. Some people repeat themselves because they don’t feel as if the person truly heard them the first dozen times. There’s a good chance that if your boyfriend feels truly understood by you—which will regulate his anxiety—he’ll be less distracted and more able to hear what your needs are as well.”

With relationships, you have 2 choices: stay or go. If you’re going to stay, you have to come to terms with accepting your partner largely as he is while working on your ability to reset expectations, manage emotions and communicate more effectively.

Concludes Gottlieb:

“Dealing with a global crisis adds stress to many relationships, but it creates a great opportunity for growth as well. We don’t have control over much right now, but how willing we are to examine our role in what’s not working and take action to make things better—that’s one choice we all still have.”

This is exactly what I teach in Love U. Control what you can. Let go of the rest. Choose relationships that don’t require too much work and if you don’t feel good, find a better partner.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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  1. 1

    There’s a lot of wisdom in Lori’s response. These are tough times for everyone and stress brings out the worst in all of us. I’ve occasionally found myself annoyed with my wife’s need for structure, for socialization, her incessant need to clean and organize everything. I’ve suggested she relax and she gets her back up. “If only she’d better understand me,” I thought. And then one day I had a conversation with my accountant who told me that his only clients who are thriving in these times are the divorce lawyers. I mentioned this to my wife and she snickered and shook her head. And I thought…”WHAT?! SHE understands this, empathizes with why couples are splitting up? But that would mean that to her….I’VE not been the perfect partner. I’VE been annoying. I’VE not fulfilled her every expectation of how a partner should be.” Ah, shit. Focus on yourself before you focus on others, just as Lori suggests.

  2. 2

    Gonna be a lot of overthinking women getting dissatisfied during this time. After all we all know that someone your meant to be with would never get on your nerves if your with him 24/7 in a confined place for months on end. Time to seriously examine the relationship!

    Like Evan, I predict a boom in women wanting divorces in 2021/2022.

    1. 2.1

      Bbq, you are so right. I am getting dissatisfied with your poor grammar, ‘women are at fault’ mindset, and wildly unrealistic belief that a couple meant to be together would never get on each other’s nerves if they were confined 24/7 for months on end.

      Both Jeremy and Michelle share more realistic views. Human relationships are difficult even when people love each other, and being together in a highly stressful situation will certainly raise tensions. It is natural and expected. As Jeremy suggests, the more mature and compassionate will take a step back, and focus on how they could do better rather than on the faults of others. Lori’s advice to FaceTime with friends is an excellent way to clear some of the tension so that one can better listen to one’s partner (another of her pieces of advice).

      Good luck, all. Blame games are not helpful, but focusing on oneself – self-care and working on improving the self vis-a-viz relationships – can make things easier.

      1. 2.1.1

        And I agree with them. That’s exactly what reasonable people who don’t let their neurotic thinking override their peace of mind would do.
        Hence the “overthinking” part of the (sarcastic in case it wasn’t apparent) comment I writterd.

      2. 2.1.2

        Excellent response!

    2. 2.2


      you really, really don’t like women, do you? I’ll stick to my earlier advice. You can simply just avoid them, that way you’ll never have to deal with their issues.

      1. 2.2.1

        Nah I don’t think I’ll be doing that.
        Yeah my comment was sarcastic, but I’ve seen a lot of these types of things written about relationships being tested in quarantine and the vaaaast majority are being written by women. I don’t believe men are that much more inherently annoying than women (some may disagree) so I think it’s fair to question why that is. Maybe they could do better in this regard? Maybe they should be encouraged to try harder rather than have those feelings validated? Who knows? (Cue outrage)

        1. Jeremy

          Hah! It’s an argument I have constantly with my wife. One of her areas of expertise as a school and child psychologist is how to best diffuse a situation where an individual – child or adult – is wallowing in negative affect. There’s a large body of research that shows that the best strategy is “emotion-focused” – that the best thing to do is to provide emotional validation with no “buts”or conditions or sideways looks. The idea being that once the individual has been validated, their emotional state is able to calm down and they can then better move on and appreciate logical suggestions that they would likely reject while emotional. She counsels teachers and parents to use this strategy, and has used it to good effect on our kids when they have tantrums. And she has told me, during and after our arguments, that I should be doing the same with her…. Instead of what I normally do, which is to argue against how she’s feeling.

          For example, during this covid-19 quarantine she has told me that she feels overwhelmed with all she has to do, all the housework, the kids’ scheduling, the meal planning and prep. And I look at her sideways and reply that she only has as much to do as she wants to take on. I try to do half the housework, but she insists that the dust on the baseboards and shelves no one can see bothers her to distraction. The kids don’t need scheduling, they’re fine on their own after their Zoom classes. I’d do the cooking if only she didn’t insist that she wants to. “So,” I say, ” there’s no reason for you to feel the way you do.” “You know,” she replies, “if only you’d just validate my emotions, that would go so much farther than telling me how I should feel, which only serves to piss me off further and make me feel worse, both about myself and you. Don’t try to tell me what to do to change my emotions, just tell me that you hear me, understand me, and understand how hard it is.”. ” But, ” I can’t help but reply,” it ISN’T that hard. You’re MAKING it hard by doing things you don’t have to do. Just stop doing them.”.” I don’t understand you, “she says,” you know about all the research about emotion-focused therapy, so why do you insist on doing what you’re doing? The research tells you that validating me would have better effects, I tell you the same…. So why can’t you just DO It?! “.

          “I agree with you that validating your emotions without buts would yield the best emotional response from YOU,” I reply, “but do you ever stop and consider the flip side? How do you think it makes ME feel when I have to validate something I think is nonsense? Something objectively false and likely harmful? When you focus on your need for validation for improving how you feel about yourself and me, you are forgetting half the equation – how I feel about myself and you. It is less of an issue when the emotions stem from a valid place, but when they don’t this becomes a zero-sum game. How can I validate something I don’t believe to be valid? “.” Oh, I don’t know, ” she smiles….”What’s your GOAL here?” Ah. She knows me too well, and is right. But I’m right too.

          So we’ve agreed that from now on, I’ll try to validate her emotions without buts as the first course of action, after which she will try to examine the validity of the causes of that emotion. Neither one of us is” right”. We’re arguing about feelings and perspectives. And when you’re in a marriage, and particulate when you’re stuck together 24/7, one can’t expect to always live within one’s own paradigm. The expectation that one can is what leads to the breakdowns.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          This is great and so true. Thanks.

        3. Bbq


          Jeremy, it’s much simpler than that to someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in your marriage so doesn’t need to placate your wife – it’s you who’s right. (Tell that to the wife lol)

        4. Jeremy

          No bbq. I’m right in one dimension and not another. There is growth and beauty in perspective taking. It is a skill worth cultivating.

          Funnily, as I’ve aged, I’ve discovered that winning isn’t always the best way to win.

        5. Bbq


          If you say so, but tbh going through all that on the reg doesn’t sound like such a great time to me.
          I hope you tell your wife what a lucky woman she is to have you.

        6. Cathalei

          Nobody said men were much more inherently annoying than women. To be honest, such an opinion is both nonsensical and self-contradictory for this topic. However, women aren’t the only ones who would want a divorce on this stress. It takes two to tango. And if you believe women are inherently annoying, you have the option to steer clear of them. “Inherently” conveys that it’s based on an immutable characteristic, so it’s much more sensible to do this rather than continuing to associate with them in intimate relationships and bemoan your fate.

        7. Bbq


          I don’t think women are inherently annoying – just saying on the whole they are capable of being no less or more annoying than men.

          The point I was making is I’ve seen more articles and posts by women complaining about getting sick or frustrated with their (male) partners at this time than vice versa (by far) – which is strange if neither sex is more inherently annoying than the other – so the difference must be their perception by the other sex and how easily they get sick of/annoyed/dissatisfied with them.

          Because women are doing this more I can only think they will want divorces more during this time (which is the rule anyway).
          And no, it doesn’t take two to tango in that regard – it only takes one to want to leave the other.

          There is absolutely nothing nonsensical and self-contradictory about any of that or in the suggestion that the fault for this may lay in women themselves (as the disparity in want to divorce suggests it does), not inherently, but for whatever reason, and there’s no good reason to think validating those feelings of dissatisfaction/annoyance that men don’t share will lead to a better outcome for anyone male or female.

    3. 2.3

      I guess I’m a glass half full type. I see a baby boom in 2021/2022. 🙂

  3. 3

    Great post. Relationships are being massively stressed tested right now during Covid-19, together 24X7, job loss, fear, anxiety. It can bring out the ugly side of people, the side that is irritating, not sexy, or in some extreme cases, domestic violence is escalated as we have seen in the news. Both sides needs to be a bit more forgiving than normal but also observant. Stress can bring out things you were not able to see before and can uncover issues you either didn’t see, or refused to see and now you can’t avoid, or it can also bring you closer. Your partner is not the answer to all your problems, especially now. You need to keep it together a bit, for yourself and them. Yes I think Covid-19 will bring about what should have happened long ago but now you can no longer deny; divorces, breakups, or redefining your relationships. Agree with Evan, if you have a solid relationship, it will be tested but won’t break, and might bring you closer. If not, Covid-19 will uncover that; either way, it’s a good thing.

  4. 4


    I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Why would anyone want to bring children into the current state of the world? Does anyone ever consider their children’s future and wellbeing? Or is it always just “ooohhh babies” and the heck with their quality of life?

    And let’s not forget that a baby boom would mean a lot of actually unwanted pregnancies. Also rarely a blessing for neither the children not the parents. Then there’s the fact that baby-boom or not, divorce rates and couples splitting will likely rise drastically. So we’re looking at a bunch of kids born to split-up parents.

    Not necessarily a glass half-full situation.

    1. 4.1

      Sylvana – C’mon lighten up a bit. What I meant while everyone else is predicting divorce due to close quarters, I’m predicting a lot of sex and hence resulting babies. It was my light hearted attempt at humor, which was obviously lost on you.

      1. 4.1.1


        yes, definitely was lost on me, I admit it. Too many people actually do see it as a good thing.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Count me in as one the people who consider my “baby” (who is 30) a good thing. 100% planned, 100% wanted, 100% loved.

          Sorry you are so cynical about life that you feel extinction of the human race is the only answer.

  5. 5

    At the other end of the spectrum, I am living alone and wow — talk about an opportunity for growth. In my work from home isolation, I eat what I want, schedule my day as I want, exercise when I want, sleep when I want. And I find I am awfully tired of getting my way all the time, there’s that certain kind of joy in accommodating others. Maybe it’s just a case of the grass being greener, but I hope not, I hope it’s personal growth. I’m not in a relationship, but getting ready to start dating when social distancing recommendations ease, and I will do my best to remember this feeling and focus more on what I have to give, rather than what I expect to receive.

    1. 5.1

      Good for you, Lynx. I have a suspicion that if you believe it to be personal growth rarher than regression to the mean, it is more likely to stick with you as such. And yes, it’s funny how different people need to focus on different parts of the giving/receiving equilibrium. Those who give all the time need to focus on getting, or else they will build resentment and their partner’s apathy. While those who focus on receiving will never build love, as love is built by giving, not receiving.

      1. 5.1.1

        Yes, it’s humbling to reflect on what I have offered in past relationships and realize there is little substance. My value card has been this: I am extremely rational, low-maintenance, zero drama, you-do-whatever-and-I’ll-be-cool. I thought being the cool girl was, well, cool. Am now rethinking drama, that there’s a good kind where I proactively but non-motheringly care for my partner. As I reread what I write, it is an embarrassingly obvious realization. Thank the stars for the anonymity of the internet.

        1. Bbq

          Being the cool girl is cool. It’s only bs women’s dating advice tactics that say otherwise (advice given because it appeals to the female audience listening, not because it works). It sounds like you offered a lot of substance, but hey, sometimes you just get unlucky. That’s no reason to think upping the drama is a good thing. It’s not.

        2. Jeremy

          Ever gone fishing, Lynx? And yes, I’m picking the metaphor deliberately 🙂 You’ve got to bring the proper bait for the fish you’re trying to catch. Else you’ll wind up with a catch you don’t want instead of the one you do.

          I think there are indeed men who seek out the cool girl as you described, a woman who will basically leave them alone until they want something. But those are avoidant men, almost by definition. You want to catch avoidant, set bait for avoidant. You want a different catch, you need different bait.

          And yes, the problem with we people who consider ourselves rational is that we often think we’re exceptions, and this leads to 2 surprises. The first is that we aren’t exceptions at all. The second, and more surprising, is that this is a good thing.

  6. 6

    The world was never a perfect place, yet it didn’t stop various species from reproduction. Personally, I enjoy living. I’m pleased to be here. I am a vocal proponent of the notion that those who don’t want to have children shouldn’t just to please anyone or out of fear. However, just because I do (while being in a same sex relationship to boot) doesn’t make me thoughtless or defective. It seems the expectation of non-judgment only goes one way when it comes to that topic and that’s disturbing. It’s not an “ohh babies” thing for me, but looking forward to see them growing up.
    As for whether this is a glass half-full or empty situation, I’d wager that those on the brink of splitting up would cease to have sex anyway so it wouldn’t be as much of an issue as it is often assumed. The babies who are wanted would add to the lives and it’s a net positive, unwanted pregnancies would be a negative but unless they suffer from a delusion that children would “save” their marriage by being born, those who intend to split wouldn’t make such a move.

    1. 6.1

      “The world was never a perfect place, yet it didn’t stop various species from reproduction. ”

      Yes, I’ve been hearing that argument against having children, ever since I started hearing arguments against having children. I don’t think human extinction is the answer. Call me an idealist, but I think some of the solutions to our vexxing world problems will come from the younger and future generations.

      “It seems the expectation of non-judgment only goes one way when it comes to that topic and that’s disturbing.”

      Actually, I have been on both sides of the equation and have been judged either way. In my late teens, early 20’s, I was determined that I would NEVER have children. Not because I hated kids, not because I favored human extinction or thought of children as nothing but toxic waste on our planet, but because I was so afraid of being trapped in a toxic relationship, like the marriage I was born into. And of course, when people would ask me when I was going to have kids, or did I want kids, etc. etc. I heard “Oh, you’ll change your mind” (OK, gotta give ’em that, because I did) or “That is so selfish”. During that time, I NEVER shamed anyone for wanting children or made derogatory comments about parents, children and the concept of having children. It was simply my choice. (at the time)

      Never told directly to me, but I have heard many deragotory remarks about “breeders” and yes, there is a lot of judgement and shaming from the militant child free crowd towards those who choose to have children.

      Once I had a child, did the judgement stop ??? Well mostly, but because we only had one, I did hear (right to my face) that we were selfish not to give a silbling to our son, and have had our decision compared to “child abuse”. So there’s no escaping judgement when it comes to this very personal decision. So if you don’t want kids than DONT. If you want children and can raise them responsibly, then DO. But please STFU with the judgement of those who decide differently.

      ” It’s not an “ohh babies” thing for me, but looking forward to see them growing up.”

      For me it was both. “Ohhh babies” and watching him learn, grow and change over the years. No that my son is grown and flown, he brings me so much happiness and makes me so proud !

      ” I am a vocal proponent of the notion that those who don’t want to have children shouldn’t just to please anyone or out of fear. ”

      I am in complete agreement. It’s a personal decision and not up for a community vote.

      And yes, wanted children (and often times even “surprise” babies) ARE a blessing.

      1. 6.1.1
        Emily, to

        “Never told directly to me, but I have heard many deragotory remarks about “breeders” and yes, there is a lot of judgement and shaming from the militant child free crowd towards those who choose to have children.”
        Is there such a crowd? I have friends who don’t have kids but even those women either say they wish they had them or that they at the very least like them. I have met very few people who come out and point-blank say that they don’t like children. There’s also usually a lot of conversation about peoples’ kids at social events or even work and I can’t imagine anyone saying, “I don’t want to talk about your kids.” They would probably be escorted off the premises.

        1. Bbq

          I don’t remember how I found this, but there is a weird (but large) online subset of child free couples (I think they call themselves “CFC – child free by choice? Or something similar) who are quite militant about it in bizarre ways. Why they felt the need to set up an online community I have no idea.

          If you search it you’ll probably get a wacky read or two from some of the posts.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          E,to asked “Is there such a crowd?”

          I would say the “anti” procreation crowd is much, much smaller than the “pro” procreation crowd, but yes, they exist. I have been in both worlds, and when I was determined to be child free, I was scolded for my selfishness much more.

          Most of the negative remarks towards us “breeders” come from the internet, annonymity emboldens them.

          I did have one experience when I was in a stage production. We were backstage getting ready for a dress rehearsal,and I was chatting with the actress next to me about our kids. She has 4, I have one. It was just a regular mom to mom sharing between us and another actress screams at us to shut the hell up about our kids, that she hates kids, never wanted them, can’t stand to hear people talking about them, etc. Now this was a convo, just between 2 of us, not like we were dominating a group conversation and boring a group of obviously dis-interested folks. She just screamed at us for daring to discuss between us a topic she didn’t like. I don’t remember exactly how that ended, but after I picked my jaw up off the floor and tell that bitch to GFH, but being that we had to work together . . . I think someone else came into the make up room (probably to see what the screaming was about) and started talking to us about stage business. Needless to say, I never liked that person after that.

          Now that I am the mother of exactly one child, I have heard crap about that (mainly that my kid will be a selfish spoiled brat or lonely and unhappy) so really, there is no winning, so the best thing is to do whatever you want and can reasonably take care of. Have no kids, one kid, four kids, etc. There will be no judgement from me.

        3. Emily, to

          I looked up CFC and a group on Facebook called The Childfree Choice came up in the searches. On their homepage was a cartoon of a couple getting drinks with “You had me at ‘I’ve been fixed'” underneath. HA! That’s funny. Actually, I find social groups tend to be more interesting if they are centered around a topic rather than, say, just a generalized social get together like a woman’s group. The conversation doesn’t devolve to topics like lawn care quite as quickly. 🙂

        4. Emily, to

          Sparkling Emerald,
          “I did have one experience when I was in a stage production. We were backstage getting ready for a dress rehearsal,and I was chatting with the actress next to me about our kids … and another actress screams at us to shut the hell up about our kids, that she hates kids, never wanted them, can’t stand to hear people talking about them, etc.”
          Well, that woman was extremely rude and obnoxious. And if she didn’t want to talk about kids, she shouldn’t have jammed herself into the conversation. But I think that, as one moves into the late 20s/30s, 40s and beyond, if you don’t go the traditional route, you have less to talk about with a good portion of the people around you. Thus maybe her over-the-top response (assuming she was in that age range). Just a thought.

        5. SparklingEmerald

          E,to said “Well, that woman was extremely rude and obnoxious.”

          Yeah, she was. I’m guessing she was in her 50’s or 60’s at the time. She and we, had plenty else to talk about, we were all actors of some sort, and much or our discussions centered on swapping stories about acting in previous productions, upcoming auditions, etc. So she certainly wasn’t being shut out of the loop. Me and my “make-up room next door neighbor” talked on a wide range of subjects, acting, her being in law school, movies we liked, etc. That day she happened to me telling me about her kids. No reason for that woman to lose her shit.

          I do understand some of the blow back from the child free crowd though, since I am a former member of that crowd. Child free people are treated as selfish, second class citizens, etc. by smug parents. Too much judgement of people based on their marriage/parenhood status. So they are probably pushing back on that.

          I have, and always have had a “live and let live” attitude, but unfortunately, many people don’t, and whatever their lifesyle happens to be, they like to remind everyone of their (perceived) superiority over others.

          Once I became a mother, the mommy wars weren’t much better. Mother’s are judged from day one, base on, their birth experience (natural or drugs, C-Section),feeding method ( bottle or breast) childhood development milestones (OH, your 13 month old baby isn’t walking yet, my genius baby has been walking since 9 months) sleeping through the night, are you a stay at home mom or do you have a career, etc.

          After a while you learn to put your finger in your ears and say “La,la,la,la,la,la — I don’t hear you.”

  7. 7

    Correction: but after I picked my jaw up off the floor and tell that bitch to GFH, . . . s/b and WANTED TO tell that bitch . . . (I never got the chance to re-but her rudeness, someone else came into the room to discuss business . . .

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