Email to get the advice you need!

Help! I Don't Want To Get The Virus!

Dear Armchair Psychologist

I feel like I have to constantly disinfect everything because my husband doesn't think he needs to wash his hands after touching things — like change or after being outside!I'm pregnant right now, and I fear for my safety and that of my unborn child. I think he is being selfish, and I'm tired of having arguments about this.I might be forced to move out for a while until he employs the same hygiene standards as I do. How can I get him to understand my concern and frustration without him dismissing it as "paranoia/OCD?"

Dear Expecting & Disinfecting,

I'm sorry that you're living in fear. Being pregnant can also make one feel particularly vulnerable, and additionally, this time in history is leaving so many people, including myself, with heightened fear and anxiety.

Because of these fears and anxieties, we could also become extra vigilant, sensitive, or over-reactive. It is important to check in with ourselves to make sure this isn't what's happening. It is concerning that your husband undermines you, and it may be a good idea to engage a qualified therapist together and explore the underlying issues that may be at hand.

If your husband is not following the safety guidelines recommended, then he needs a reality check, because he is obviously putting your health at risk. It is well known that transmittal of infectious disease is much more likely to spread from a person you live with versus a stranger.

I recommend you use a gentle tone and share educational information about COVID-19 and the need for social distancing. Explain to him how it makes you feel when he doesn't take precaution. If his behavior doesn't change, then take drastic measures. If moving out is an option, it's a good one. Otherwise, as "Dr. Arthur L Caplan (professor and founding head of the division of medical ethics at NYU School of Medicine) recommends, make sure to "Minimize sexual contact. Don't share toothbrushes. Try to use separate things. You don't want to be hugging and kissing." He also advises to sleep in separate areas.

In short, tell your hubby "No Purell, No Hunny"

- The Armchair Psychologist

From The Anxious Opera Singer

Dear Armchair Psychologist

I'm single & live alone in NYC. My friend and running partner invited me over for drinks today after a run, and I declined as I am doing my very best to isolate as much as possible. I am on day-11 of my self-quarantine. We are both artists, and he tried to assure me that I would be fine citing that he'd hosted dance rehearsals in his apartment with a colleague.I was firm in my decision not only because I want to remain healthy but also because I have an anxiety disorder and I know that the psychological fallout of having possibly exposed myself would consume my entire life for at least the next month. It's one thing to run eight feet behind him, but it's quite another to be in someone's space. I could see the hurt and disappointment in his face. I understand he might feel lonely or even depressed.How do I assure my friends that I love and care for them while maintaining a firm boundary? After all, this can be a matter of life or death.

Dear Anxious Opera Singer,

I'm sorry that your friend is causing you to worry. It's not easy to struggle with an anxiety disorder. You're creating boundaries that are necessary for your mental and physical health, and it's admirable how you are managing yourself. You do not need to explain yourself to your friend about the whys and hows of your choice to social distance.

New York City has been hit the hardest in the US, and I doubt he missed the memo about staying home and not having dance rehearsals in his living room. It's normal to not want to hurt people you care about, but this is about you, your safety, and your health. There are many ways to support your friends and loved ones in this pandemic. For me, facetiming has been essential. While my BF could care less about socializing, I find myself slowly decaying and carrying my head around like a wilted plant if I don't get to socialize and receive stimulus from my friends. I have been on Google Hangout chats, I even had a failed charade party yesterday on Zoom, and am new to the House Party app, but it's lovely so far. All of this has helped keep my social bonds alive and also reminded my loved ones that I care. I recommend you sign up to whichever video chat works for you and get going by turning your friend's sad grimace into a smile when he sees your face (on a screen and not in his living room)!

- The Armchair Psychologist

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out last week's installment or email to get some advice of your own!


Ubah Bulale