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Stop Fighting About COVID: Come Together for the Common Good

Stop Fighting About COVID

Since the pandemic began, everyone has had a lot of strong opinions about masks, social distancing, and more. How do you stop fighting about COVID?

The pandemic has made many things difficult. Working from home, having school at home, and just staying at home are big adjustments. But, on top of the household tensions that are rising due to spending so much time together, how do you stop fighting about COVID?

Although we have facts like masks help reduce the risk of infection and social distancing is the best way to slow the spread, people still have their own opinions and choices.

We’ve all seen the Karens yelling about their right not to wear a mask online, but this is different. When you live with someone and share a relationship with someone who doesn’t take COVID as seriously as you do, it doesn’t just cause strain like other arguments, it causes fear, disrespect, and anger.

How do you manage your relationship when you disagree on such a major issue that affects you and everyone else in your life? How do you stop fighting about COVID?

[Read: How to ensure your relationship survives the Coronavirus isolation]

How do you feel about COVID?

I know this seems like a silly question. You’re sick of it. Frankly, you want it to go away. You’re scared or annoyed or overwhelmed or exhausted.

But, when it comes to the decisions you need to make due to COVID, how do you feel? 

Are you nervous to go to the grocery store even when wearing a mask? Do you only interact with the people in your house? Do you take socially distanced walks with friends and family?

COVID has impacted just about all aspects of our lives. Whether you’re an essential worker or not, there are risks.

[Read: How to find hope during the pandemic instead of losing it]

Before you fight with your partner about those risks and how you feel about them, figure out how you feel and why you feel that way. So that when you do discuss it with them, you can make yourself clear which is the path towards stop fighting about COVID.

I have had arguments about COVID with people in my life, but when I go in ill-prepared, I just give up and walk away. It is important to make your voice heard in any argument, but especially about this one. Your health is on the line. 

According to the CDC, you should wear a mask anytime you’re outside of your home, stay six feet away from others (even in a mask), and social distance which means avoid gatherings, crowds, and social events.

When you hear those guidelines, what do you think? Do you only go out for essential things like the pharmacy and groceries? Do you only see the people in your home or do you visit relatives? Or do you go to parties and forego a mask? Are you planning to get the vaccine when it’s available?

Everyone’s fear level differs. And some acknowledge the virus but disagree that the government should be involved in the decisions about closing business and requiring masks. 

Some people think they’ll never contract COVID. They think they are healthy or young and will be fine. Even with science proving that although the mortality rate is low for younger COVID patients without pre-existing conditions, the long-term effects are grueling. 

And a lot of the COVID precautions aren’t just to protect you but those around you. If others wear masks around you, they are protecting you from them. If you wear a mask around others, you are protecting them from you. Therefore, if everyone wears a mask, the spread slows.

[Read: Could dealing with a pandemic bring you closer to your partner?]

We also know that COVID spreads to people who are taking precautions through those who aren’t. In early fall, there was a wedding in Maine. Seven people died from COVID due to that gathering and not one of them was a guest. They were all friends and acquaintances of the guests who contracted it without symptoms. 

These are all things to consider when making your COVID decisions. 

Stock your mind with these facts. Even if you are arguing with someone who doesn’t care about the facts or ignores them, these facts are what makes you nervous and rightfully hesitant. Therefore, these facts should matter to your partner.

How to stop fighting about COVID

You can beg your partner to wear a mask until you’re blue in the face. But nagging won’t do the trick, as it normally doesn’t. Even facts don’t seem to phase those against masks and social distancing. So, how do you make your case to your partner? 

It can be infuriating to be scared of something your partner seems to be fearless about. And if your relationship wasn’t in a good place before this, this may be what pushes it over the edge. But, even those in great and healthy relationships pre-COVID are struggling now. 

[Read: Why you keep having the same fight and how to break the unhealthy cycle]

COVID comes with a lot of changes. Some people refuse to give up their comfort and convenience no matter what the risks. But, unlike ever before, our decisions, actions, and behaviors affect the health of our partners and whoever else we are near.

When you are in a relationship with someone, you should be a priority to each other. Your opinion should matter to them. This isn’t about right and wrong, but about respect.

Ask your partner why they refuse to wear a mask, why they won’t avoid social situations, or why they won’t get the vaccine. Don’t accuse them or call them dumb. Ask them because you want to understand where they are coming from.

Then explain your stance. You can share the facts, but also your feelings. Say, “I know you don’t believe in the facts the way I do, and you don’t think the risk is that high, but I do. If you won’t wear a mask to protect you or others, would you wear it to give me peace of mind and make me feel better?”

And be sure to avoid these talks in the heat of the moment. When you get back from the grocery store and vent to your partner about someone not covering their nose with their mask and they roll their eyes, it isn’t the best time to argue. 

Instead, cool down and come back to it when you are both calm and open to communicating.

[Read: Why fighting in a relationship is important BUT here’s how to do it right]

It is also clear that the threat of COVID is not going anywhere anytime soon. Even with the hope that the vaccines bring, it seems more people than not are hesitant to get it.

Knowing the pandemic has an undetermined timeline, it is important you do talk to your partner about these things. This isn’t a temporary problem but can go on for a long time. 

If your disagreements are bothering you now, they will only get worse. Being proactive with how you’re going to handle fighting about COVID is important. 

You need to discuss what your plans are. If you want to continue playing it safe and your partner wants to see their friends without a mask and indoors, figure out how you can deal. 

Are they willing to quarantine in a different part of the house afterwards and then get tested? If your partner wants to go to a friend’s wedding but your fear of contracting the virus says no. Your fear of survival is more prominent than the loss of a major event. 

The facts may make the decision for you in this situation, but instead of taking it as a win or thinking your partner is uncaring, appreciate that their desire to go to the event was to share an important life event with close friends. Support them in their disappointment. 

Maybe you’re an introvert and don’t mind avoiding events, but your partner thrives off personal interaction and feels down without socializing. Even though you won’t budge on avoiding social gatherings, you can use compassion to see this from your partner’s perspective and offer them understanding and support. 

You can plan outdoor social distanced events with a small group of friends or plan a virtual event for your partner and their buddies. 

[Read: Why a lack of empathy in a relationship matters and how to fix it]

How to be a team around COVID decisions

Make ‘stop fighting about COVID’ a team effort. Remember you are trying to work together to both feel safe, not fight against each other. You are both trying to stay healthy and neither of you wants to intentionally endanger anyone. No matter your partner’s stance on masks and other precautions, they must agree they want you and your loved ones to be safe.

Start with what you agree on and then go from there. I am not saying you must compromise on precautions at all. I am actually advising against it. But, figure out how you can stay the safest while collaborating.

Instead of giving up something for the other, work together to find out what works for both of you. And consider who will be taking on the brunt of the work with these decisions. 

Will one person be doing excess cleaning? Will one person be taking care of the kids if they contract it? Do you agree about your family but not about the government getting involved? 

You can disagree about these things and still support each other. The purpose of learning how to stop fighting about COVID is to work together on a plan.

These issues can get heated especially when kids and jobs are involved. But, that is only because those things are happening now. Are you furloughed? Do you worry about getting another job that could put you at risk? How do you feel about the kids going to school instead of online learning?

These things are choices you have to make now. But if you don’t figure out what makes you feel safe now and how you can do that together, the decisions you’ll have to make later will be a lot more morbid.

Do you want to go on a ventilator? Will you visit your relative in the hospital virtually without being able to hug them?

I know you don’t want to think about these things. They make everyone uncomfortable. But, if we don’t think about them now, they will happen and we’ll have to think about them later without being able to push them off.

So many people believe they won’t get COVID. Even if they don’t, the likelihood they know someone who will is high. So is the chance that someone they know will die from it. Why take that risk when the alternative is family Zoom calls and wearing a mask at the grocery store? 

A mask and virtual friendships seem so far off from the lives we used to know, but they are very minor when you consider the alternative.

[Read: How to handle pandemic stress and not take it out on your partner]

These are fights we’ve never even had to consider before. These are choices we never thought we’d have to be making. And we are all more uncomfortable than we could have imagined. But just because it is hard to process doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. 

COVID is a real risk to everyone. Even though all the science isn’t in and there are things that are still coming out about the virus, one thing we all know and cannot deny is the fact that people are dying from it. That should be enough to work together to be as safe as possible and stop fighting about COVID. 

[Read: The dreaded COVID divorce: What it is and why is it trending?]

Another thing this pandemic has taught us is how to stop fighting about COVID and work together for the common goal of health and happiness.

If you and your partner are having a hard time making decisions together, use this guide to discuss COVID with them. And hopefully, both of you can decide on the way forward together without having to fall apart.

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Samantha Ann
Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...

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