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Sex with Dr. Jess


June 17, 2021

Navigating Through Relationships as Re-Opening Continues

With more pandemic restrictions lifting, couples might be finding that their partner is ready to head back into the new normal when it might still be overwhelming to them. Jess joins Carolyn and Jeff on Global TV’s The Morning Show to discuss tips to navigate through the relationship and how to approach friends and family who have chosen to not receive the vaccine.

Check out the video and summary below.

How do you deal if your partner is much more relaxed about re-opening (ie: wants to drop all precautions) and you’re not or vice versa

Differentiate. You don’t have to do everything together. So if they’re ready to meet on patios and you find it overwhelming, be supportive of one another’s individual choices. Spend time apart doing your own things. You don’t have to agree on everything and you don’t have to convince your partner that you’re right.

But what if they’re taking risks that put you at risk?

If they’re taking risks that you feel put you at risk, then you need to speak up about your concerns. If you’re dating, you have the option not to see them. If you’re living together, that’s a different story. You’ll want to sit down and talk about your concerns. And they also have the right to talk about theirs. If you’re at an impasse, this is a good time to bring in a professional therapist or counsellor to support you in having meaningful conversations — not about who is right and who is wrong, but about how to manage your differences in the context of your relationship.

Many couples are now fighting about how they spend their time. Our social circles have been dictated to us for the past 13 months, but now we have more options.What do you do when one partner wants more time apart than the other and it’s leading to conflict? Or when one partner is a homebody and the other wants to get out?

jasmin-chew-1OtWUEhJXcg-unsplashThis is a common dynamic: one partner is a social butterfly and one likes to stay home. The homebody has had it their way for 15+ months now, but pre-COVID, this was probably a pre-existing conflict. So you put the conflict on hold for the last little while, because the social butterfly had no choice.

What’s important here is that:

  • We don’t personalize our partner’s desires
  • We remain open to sharing how we’re feeling and being considerate without demanding that our expectations be met

So, first for the homebody: know that your partner’s desire to go out may have nothing to do with you. It’s not that they don’t want to spend time with you, but they have different social needs and that’s okay. You have every right to stay in just as they have the right to go out. You don’t have to have shared needs.

And for the butterfly: Be honest about why you want to go out. Reassure your partner of your love and desire to spend time with them. Carve our quality time with them too. Don’t pressure them to be more social.

We have to remember that just because we want something in a relationship and just because something bothers us doesn’t mean our partners have to stop doing it. And on the flipside, we also may want to be more considerate of our partners’ feelings without compromising our own values.

How do you tell friends or family who choose not to be vaccinated that you’re not comfortable returning to normal with them?

It’s your body and your choice. And it’s their body and their choice. So you can’t force them to get vaccinated. And they can’t force you to hang out. You can talk about your fears and why you’re making your decisions. I know that this is going to result in broken friendships, at least temporarily, but with an issue as serious as our health, it may be worth speaking your truth.

How do you deal with anti-vaxxers in your family who won’t stop sharing their conspiracy theories?

I think we need to be empathetic and mindful of why people might be hesitant to trust vaccines. We can say trust the science (and I do personally), but we can’t force others to believe what we believe.

If they’re forwarding you emails and messages, you can just let them know that you’re not interested in this type of information and kindly request that they stop sending them. Or you can just ignore them.