Does your partner think at-home (or other) social distancing is silly? Give them this.
During this interesting time, there are a few reasons a live-in partner will ask you to keep six-ish feet of distance between the two of you at home or will beg you to social distance outside of the house:
- You travel regularly for work
- You stay in hotels whose sanitary practices can’t be verified/trusted/confirmed
- You work in the health industry and are likely to come into contact with people who are infected
- Your partner has read that many carriers are asymptomatic and can infect others without ever showing symptoms, themselves
You probably believe you won’t get it. Therefore, you might not think this whole COVID thing is a big enough deal for you to be forced to abstain from engaging physically with your partner. “Most people recover just fine,” you might argue. “If you get it, it’ll just be like any other sickness and you’ll get over it.”
You might also say to your partner, “You’re being ridiculous. You’re buying into the panic caused by the media.”
And you might say, “I’m not going to COVID you! I wash my hands. I don’t touch my face. I’m careful, okay? What more do you want?!”
No matter how paranoid, ridiculous, or over-anxious you believe your partner is being, there is a way to handle the request that you not hug or kiss for the next several months and that you avoid, when possible, breathing into each other’s breathing space:
- Recognize that because you think something is ridiculous doesn’t mean it IS ridiculous. You don’t have to take something seriously, yourself, in order for that thing to be decidedly serious. It’s like how if your partner doesn’t think it’s a big deal to date other people but you think it’s a very big deal, your partner doesn’t get to laugh off your very valid feelings simply because you’re the only one in the relationship who has them.
- Accept that your partner has concerns that are founded on facts and findings released by the scientific and medical communities, both of which employ people whose knowledge and experience in this field likely exceed your own.
- Understand that “you’ll probably get over it just fine” is not a comfort to someone who doesn’t want to catch it, in the first place.
- Know that it is the height of selfishness to treat your aversion to being inconvenienced as if it’s more important than your partner’s desire to not get or spread a potentially fatal illness.
- Consider this a small blip in the timeline of your years together. The situation is what it is — period. It stinks, yeah, but suck it up. It will end, and in a while, this will be nothing more than a memory.
- Explore how this can be a good thing! It can make a great story for later, and it could even be a spicy element to your relationship, sexually or otherwise. Relationship routines can get kill-me-now dull, so think of this as an excuse to explore different ways to interact with and enjoy each other.
- Remember that you love your partner. This means you respect and trust them the same way you expect them to respect and trust you. If something were to happen that made you determine certain steps needed to be taken in the interest of safety, you would expect your partner to trust your instincts or, at the very least, respect your choices. You must do the same for your partner.
- Know that your partner loves you and that this isn’t easy for anyone. Staying away from you isn’t the goal; keeping you both healthy is.
I hope this has been helpful.
Someone who really doesn’t want the coronavirus and therefore insists on at-home social distancing when her travels-for-work partner comes home from a trip
Kristen Tsetsi is the author of the novel The Age of the Child, in which “Tsetsi asks provocative questions: first, what would happen if all forms of contraception were illegal? And then, what if those of us who want to be parents had to get a license to do it?” — Elizabeth Marro, author of Casualties. She is also one of the three Founding Non-Mothers of Childfree Girls.