Dear Readers - Now, in Year #2 of COVID-19, what’s changed within us?
How have we, as individuals, changed in our relationships, personal habits, attitudes, tolerance, and more from the pandemic?
From my window into relationships and personalities through 12 months of advice-seeking letters, here are some observations:
Parents adapted quickly because they had no other choice if their children were being home-schooled or their pre-schoolers needed attention.
Mothers and fathers quickly set up routines that included children’s education, exercise, and family-shared chores. Those children were shown the model of how to respond to emergencies and accept responsibilities.
Still, they missed their friends and teenagers especially missed group socializing and independence. Their moods were hard on themselves and their parents. Those deeply affected should seek mental-health advice/strategies which can be accessed online and free, now.
Young adults used to dating and crowds started to practice restraint, especially if they had vulnerable family members. Some learned to better assess online daters through holding back from in-person meetings until surer of daters’ character and intent.
Couples living/working in close quarters were forced to adjust or be miserable. It challenged their ability to communicate and co-operate. Many sought advice through this column and/or needed counselling sessions from online therapists.
But older singles living alone in the community faced the toughest experience through loneliness - missing personal contact with their adult children and grandchildren, never hugged and often afraid to go outside even masked.
Vaccines are the hopeful change for all of us. The more people who are vaccinated, the sooner we reach herd immunity and can re-adapt to our “new” normal that will still include some precautions. We must trust our science and medical experts to guide us.
The outstanding takeaway from your letters: We are an adaptive society, resilient and resolute. We’ve made it through this year stronger and smarter. We mourn our lost loved ones and will stay the course to honour their memory and make our world safer.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the husband who works at home, then gets “busy” with personal interests on his phone and playing computer games (March 4):
“This husband has long been spoiled in the marriage and feels entitled. For years, he’s enjoyed the benefits of wife, children, double income, etc. and also kept his bachelor’s ways of late nights and weekends with the boys. Now that he’s deprived of his fun, he’s sulking.
“Yes, he may be getting addicted and/or gambling which should be addressed, but then it’ll be something else because the real problem is his lack of maturity and refusal to grow up.
“His wife, who’s already struggling trying to juggle two young children, one sulking man-child, her job, household chores, etc., should not now have to become a miracle-worker to transform him into a responsible husband and father.
“He needs a reality shot not only for his behaviour during Covid but when normal life resumes.”
Ellie - Your past experience brings recognition that this man’s been indulged far too long.
Yet the couple’s relationship is about this current time: 1) He’s gone from freedom-seeking habits to being stuck indoors 24-7, because of the pandemic.
Yes, he must take more responsibility as husband/ father but Covid has affected them all.
2) The wife feels conflicted. She wants her sense of “bonded, joyous” family back. She also has a sympathetic understanding that they’ve all been challenged. She’s not ready to give him ultimatums.
I’m a woman wondering how I can help someone who’s feeling down. But he won’t tell me what’s bothering him.
I’ve tried talking to him and asking what’s wrong, but he says nothing even when he definitely looks like something is wrong. I need advice.
Worried About Him
Not everyone wants to be helped. There are people who carry troubles on their faces or in their postures for different reasons, e.g., to draw sympathy, or to seek general attention, or because they’re uncomfortable telling you a truth of which they’re ashamed.
But in a dating or deeper relationship, there are also people who won’t speak up despite showing discomfort, because they haven’t got the decency to honestly reveal that they’re wanting to break up, even if it means a divorce.
If you’re involved with this man, speak up yourself. Tell him you deserve to know what’s going on. Without honesty and discussion, there’s no relationship or future.
Tip of the day:
Take pride in your strengths and consider how you handled the more difficult changes you encountered during this past year.