I’m a 23-year-old female who feels that the pandemic has changed my life.
I’ve been with my boyfriend since late high school. In university, we shared a flat with another student couple, and it was terrific fun! We studied only when necessary.
My boyfriend believed that his parents’ lifestyle was ideal. His dad’s held the same job for 20 years. His mom raised their kids and volunteered in the community.
This “ideal life” view made me uneasy but he understood that I was more of a free spirit.
Then came the lockdown orders, the end of classes and no graduation. We each had to go home to our own parents.
I lost my independence, but gained time to think about different possibilities.
My boyfriend was the best guy I could’ve been with at school. But when I suggested that we consider living in France for a while after the pandemic, he simply said it was not his interest.
At home, I’ve asked my parents a lot about their lives. Mom had two kids, then took night classes towards her social work degree. Dad had to feed, bathe and stay home with us.
He’d recount growing up in a different country and culture, describing a larger world than we could imagine.
Together, they’ve handled the lockdown restrictions, acting as a team doing whatever’s needed and whatever helps the most people survive COVID-19 and also revive the economy.
I now know that I, too, want to live with meaningful goals, and the kind of experiences that’ll broaden my mind and understanding of our world.
I must resume studies toward a solid degree that’s useful in many circumstances and places.
Am I being unfair to my boyfriend for not wanting to move back together when it’s allowed, and look for “secure” jobs?
The pandemic has shown that everything we know as “security” can change in a minute.
Now, you’ve learned that we need to have a core of security within ourselves.
Your years as roomies were loving and honest, but not a lifetime vow… and now, you don’t share the same vision of the future.
The pandemic is an accident of time catching up with a “perfect storm” of habits/cultures that made it tragically easy for millions globally to die from a rampant virus without a cure, until a safe vaccine is invented.
It’s shown you a personal need for more input into what your future can hold - more knowledge, more useful skills in changing times, a broader world-view.
Your boyfriend may also change his plans one day but, for now, it’s up to you to take the first determined steps forward.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman emotionally abused by her mother for years (May 26):
“I, too, left home in my late teens and moved far away, but the emotional abuse didn’t stop. I cut ties repeatedly, then hoped that the situation would improve. Finally, I made a complete break with her.
“When she died, I attended her funeral and made semi-peace with my father (who’d allowed the abuse). However, he was soon back to his nasty self. I cut all ties, but attended his funeral several years later.
“Now, I wish I’d made a complete break over 40 years ago because of the emotional trauma the episodes caused my family and me.
“When such individuals find a target, they just don’t let go.
“It’s up to “the target” to find the courage to cut the ties.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband whose wife complained that he always socialized with the women in a room, not the men (May 25):
Reader #1 – “I suggest that he feels like one of the girls. His being uncomfortable with males is a clue.
“My gay neighbour has a lot of long-time close female friends and very few male friends. He feels like “one of the girls,” including having shared interests.”
Reader #2 – “He's gay.
“That's my first instinct! Being a gay older male, I didn't get past your question without "red flags" going off. Or “rainbow-coloured” flags.”
Ellie - Hey, guys, just because your neighbour’s a gay male or you’re one yourself, doesn’t mean you can get away with instant stereotyping.
Some men appreciate women’s company for other reasons which we’ve read in this column - e.g. a non-interest in some men’s macho attitudes, for example. Or shared interests which can arise from a shared profession.
Tip of the day:
If you seek security in a changing world, search for it within your own ability to adapt.