Risk plays a huge role in our lives, especially as we try to get back to “normal” during this global pandemic. With COVID still a present concern, couples may find it challenging to maintain a certain level of safety every time they go out. Since every decision has its own level of risk involved, how can couples decide what is a reasonable level of pandemic risk when they have very different opinions?
Navigating Pandemic Risk as a Couple
We’re all social creatures that thrive when in community with one another. When it comes to socializing and staying healthy, it’s important for couples to understand their own levels of risk acceptance. Read on to learn how couples can handle this risky business.
Communicate Your Ideals for Safety
Getting back into the world is a goal many of us are excited to reach. However, it will be a long time before things get back to what we have been used to as “normal”. As we try to safeguard against a second wave, it’s important to avoid crowds, wear masks, limit our time inside indoor establishments, and avoid other activities that are excessively risky. With this in mind, couples should identify what makes each of them feel safe.
For example, if it’s important for your partner to go to places where masks are always required, it’s best to avoid eating out. Likewise, if you feel as though you’re comfortable going outside to the park or beach without a mask, be sure to discuss this with your partner.
Respect Each Other’s Views
The ever-changing news surrounding the novel coronavirus makes it difficult to know what’s acceptable and what’s not. While we all want to avoid getting sick, there are many other factors to consider. In matters of life and death, it’s hard to remain calm when discussing our viewpoints. This is why it’s so important to be respectful and hear your partner out.
Even if you don’t understand your partner’s point of view, listen to them. Truly listen when they share their concerns and be understanding of any fears they may have concerning questionable situations. By talking it over, you may be able to ease your partner’s fears and help them understand your point of view as well.
Be Open to Compromise
Compromise is very important when considering the risks of COVID. This is especially true if one partner is more risk-averse than the other. If your partner is overly afraid of going to certain places in public, work together to find a compromise. Find ways to spend time together while taking each person’s level of comfort into consideration.
Recognize Your Own Anxiety
In the midst of understanding your level of risk acceptance, don’t ignore your own anxiety. Even as we are several months into the pandemic, it’s natural to experience worry, fear, and stress. Part of understanding the level of pandemic risk you accept starts with acknowledging and recognizing this anxiety.
Couples can limit their levels of COVID-related anxiety by avoiding activities that add undue stress. For example, if your partner is open to eating outdoors at a restaurant but you’re too anxious to be around others, don’t ignore this anxiety.
Getting through COVID as a couple requires an intentional willingness to avoid unnecessary risks, prioritize safety, discuss compromises, and to analyze one’s own anxieties. As you work with your partner to make it through these trying times, remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.