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Help! I'm COVID Livid!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,My new partner of four months and I live apart, and we both live by ourselves. He has been refusing to see me face to face for the last 2-3 weeks blaming COVID-19. We have both been diligently practising social distancing and working from home. I really don't see why we can't see each other face to face as we are not high-risk. It is not about sex. I miss human contact, simple things like a hug and talking face to face with someone. I should mention we both drive and live 15 minutes apart. Is his COVID-blocking making sense or is he busy with someone else?Covid-Blocked
We live in strange times. The pandemic is far more serious than many people initially wanted to believe. I'm sorry you feel alone and neglected. Many of my NYC friends who are couples are riding out the quarantine together as a unit by cohabitating. I, myself, am quarantined with my boyfriend, and we are of course driving each other crazy adjusting to this new life.
However, you and your bf don't live together so this is very tricky, as you don't want to force a move-in since it's a fairly new relationship. His level of anxiety is more heightened than yours, and it is important to respect his boundaries and listen to his needs.
This great article explores the dilemma of being quarantined away from a partner. In it, Dr. Peter Meacher, Chief Medical Officer at Callen-Lorde, points out that he "discourages travel between homes unless the journey involves not interacting with anybody or touching anything and you don't live in a state that is under lockdown." The article also recommends treating your relationship like a long-distance relationship and getting creative with video chats and video sex, etc. Psychotherapist Dulcinea PitagoraIt's is also quoted in the article stating, "It's a good idea to discuss what different types of interactions partners want to have and when." In regards to your infidelity suspicions, does the BF have a history of cheating? If you're feeling especially blue, discuss this with a qualified therapist. I hope you find solace in these recommendations and get creative to unlock your COVID-block!
- The Armchair Psychologist
Help! I'm Getting Wined And Swined!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,How do I stick to my vegetarian/vegan lifestyle when I go home to my family of meat eaters? I'm a liberal and usually live in big cities, but my family are all a super conservative Republicans who live in Mississippi. I think my mom somehow believes I don't like them because we have different lifestyles. She got super upset when I tried to have conversations about wanting to eat vegetarian, like angry and almost crying, because she thought I was scolding the family and criticizing them for how they eat. The truth is, I wasn't. I just wanted to have a discussion, since I like to make people consider another point of view, and it's hard to get them to do that sometimes.Vegan4Life
I'm sorry that you're experiencing such distress on home visits to your family. It's understandable you'd feel hurt over your mother's perception of you, and vice versa, however, misunderstood it may be. It's very tricky to navigate a balance in this when the subject is so deeply personal. This is why there are entire sciences devoted to the study of the psychology of eating meat and vegetarianism. Vegans and vegetarians are a minority population in the USA (3% Vegan, 5-8% Vegetarian) and many experience the difficulties you have experienced in navigating a majority-omnivorous society. The tension between yourself and your mom could possibly be rooted in underlying issues you might resolve best with a qualified therapist. However, while it's true you may not agree on politics, as most vegan/vegetarians are indeed liberal and progressive, you might be able to find a middle ground on the etiquette of the dinner hour.
First, it's important you keep in mind that being a vegan or vegetarian is a personal choice (unless you have a disease or an allergy). This is why you can't impose your pork-free casserole unto your mom/family, and it's understandable she'd find it upsetting and hurtful, as she might take great pride in her "special Christmas casserole." Suddenly, she has to choose between pleasing you and the rest of the family? Steven Petrow, the manners columnist for the Washington Post, coins it perfectly when he writes"You're a guest, not a customer." Keep in mind that meals with your family are about quality time and togetherness rather than the actual meal.
When I was a vegan (only for a few, clear-skin and sans-red-wine months), I remember being so dedicated to scrutinizing menus that I became anal to an extreme and would miss out on the fun conversations around me and quality time with friends. The proper dinner etiquette, according to Emily's Post Institute, a blog dedicated to the rules of etiquette, is that you inform the host of your restrictions and it's up to them if they'd like to comply or not. Because this is your close family, it is not a bad idea to ask if you can bring/make your own food. This might also open up opportunities to share your motivations for going vegan/vegetarian in a very casual way without risking coming off as judgmental. You could even suggest watching the revolutionary "Food.inc" together based on its popularity alone and low-key get the family to enjoy a new point of view in regards to meat production in America. Most importantly, remember that your mom loves you and only wants the best for you so don't pork with her pork!
- The Armchair Psychologist
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WRITTEN BYUbah Bulale