I’ve discovered that friendships can also be at risk during a pandemic.
Fear of contracting COVID-19 has everyone trying different ways to cope.
But if someone stops keeping contact, how strong was the original friendship?
My neighbour and I became close friends about eight years ago. Our husbands got along but didn’t have much in common.
She and I messaged and met up often, even if just for coffee. Our kids also became friends (we each have one son and one daughter).
But we reacted differently to the virus. She hunkered down and went nowhere. I was strict about masks, hand-washing and social distancing, but took walks and kept very active.
When I reached out to my friend, she withdrew.
Our husbands both wanted to stay fit so met periodically for big walks. It’s become a welcome closer friendship for my husband.
I’ve just learned that they’ve organized an outdoor get-together for our two families, at a local park, with races, and other safety-aware competitions. My former friend has agreed to attend.
I’m still hurt by her chill of the past months. How do I best handle this new situation?
Bring large thermoses of hot chocolate plus lots of disposable cups, and join in the re-connecting.
Don’t discuss the past. You’ve already drawn an accurate explanation, yourself:
Constant underlying fears and anxiety during this pandemic, have brought different reactions from people - depending perhaps on their past experiences with perceived danger, or previous losses of loved ones due to serious health issues.
Since the other wife’s attending, don’t hold a grudge. These have been, and still are, unusual times.... not experienced to this degree since the 1918 Spanish Flu.
Seize the opportunity for everyone’s sake, and also use it as a modelling opportunity for your daughter and son to learn how to forgive someone and move forward.
I’m a woman, 28, who loves my boyfriend of 10 months but he has a problem that makes me think I should leave him.
He’s sweet, kind, loving. But he has a problem sexually because he never gets a full erection, and sometimes can’t get one at all.
He says he’s had this problem for as long as he’s been aware of his body, but he’s never done anything about it. He seems healthy in every other way.
He’s 26, with a small build. As far as I know, he’s healthy and this is the only issue.
We’re best friends and get along extremely well, except for this one issue. I know he loves me. What should I do?
I’ve rarely even considered the idea of giving someone an ultimatum because it means wielding power in a relationship.... but I warily/hesitantly suggest it might be needed here.
You’re already thinking you “should” break up with him, since he’s refused to even look into any cause or remedy.
I hesitate to offer online research, since, absent the patient, the information can be misleading. Suffice to say that the Harvard Health site mentions “nerve damage” as a possible reason for a man to have erectile dysfunction, which is the label given to this kind of issue.
Psychological issue such as depression, anxiety, guilt or fear can sometimes cause sexual problems, according to the same site.
The ultimatum: He must see a doctor and report what he learned. If he refuses, say you’ll strongly consider breaking up because he isn’t trying to achieve a sexual relationship you can accept.
FEEDBACK Regarding the single job-seeker who had sex with a would-be employer who’s now her new husband’s friend (Oct. 5):
Reader – “It’s very risky for the woman to keep her past with this man a secret from her husband.
“If the men’s friendship grows stronger, it’ll put his wife in uncomfortable moments (at get-togethers, etc.). It’d be obvious to the husband that something’s up.
“What if his friend came clean first? To me, that possibility is the reason she should be honest about it.
“She did nothing wrong, so admit the truth.
“Give her husband the respect/honesty he deserves so he can decide if he wants to carry on a friendship with this man or not.
“Telling him up front would only cement the trust between them. But if he finds out later, that bond would be questioned.
“I think most of us would prefer honesty. I would.”
Tip of the day:
Different fears/reactions during the pandemic are natural. Rise above any disconnect to renew the friendships that previously mattered to you.