Life in the Time of Coronavirus is a new GEN series where we are interviewing people across the country who have had their lives upended or are experiencing the stress of the unknown.
Jennifer Anderson-Henry, 46, is facing a divorce that she doesn’t want. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband, referred to here as X to protect his privacy, asked for a divorce just one month before Indiana implemented its shelter-in-place order. They are now living in isolation together as he works on home improvement projects so they can eventually put their house on the market.
On February 16, three days before my birthday, my husband of 13 years announced that he “didn’t want to be married anymore.” X and I have had our issues over the years, as all couples do. Our disagreements usually centered around finances — shocking, I know. Our communication styles are vastly different, and that’s always posed challenges, but we had always been able to talk through our problems, though, and ultimately would end up feeling exponentially better about our relationship.
Like most couples, we also know how to push each other’s buttons. I have a much more acute fight-or-flight instinct than X does, so I occasionally ended our more heated arguments by threatening divorce. When we’d talk through everything later, X always expressed his disbelief that I would even use “the D-word.” That the concept of not being married was unthinkable. Yet here we are.
Just over one month after X asked for a divorce, Indiana’s government issued the first of two ongoing shelter-in-place orders for everyone not deemed “essential.” Now I know what it’s like to self-isolate with someone who wants to be anywhere but with you.