Minaa B. is an author, writer and licensed therapist based in New York City. For this column, "Ask A Therapist," Minaa shares practical advice for people who want to find ways to sustain their mental health. To submit a question, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you do if you meet someone new during pandemic but he says COVID-19 isn't real? When I said, due to COVID-19, I think we should take things slow, he said we can still be intimate with masks on. Have you ever heard of something like that? It's not my cup of tea. How should I respond so he won't get offended, but will get the hint that our views and goals are different?
Pressured in a Pandemic
Hi, and thank you for your question!
Dating during a pandemic can be rough since it requires meeting new people, but also being very cautious.
Having hard conversations while dating, whether during COVID-19 or not, is difficult. From your statement, "It's not my cup of tea," it seems clear that you know what you want and don't want. Now to move forward, you will need to execute your boundaries.
When stating your limits, it's important to be clear. Some responses in a scenario like this can look like:
- "I've thought about things and I realized this isn't going to work so it's best we move on."
- "It seems like our views and goals don't align so I've decided that this isn't going to work for me anymore."
- "These suggestions make me uncomfortable so I don't want to do that, but I was thinking this might work instead if you're open to it..."
The takeaway is that understanding that your boundaries may hurt his feelings, and that is OK. He will be OK. Understand that asking for what you need is not disrespectful. If he finds offense from the boundary you state, it will be his responsibility to tend those emotions. You are not responsible for doing the emotional labor needed to help him feel good; only he can do that. You are, however, responsible for being clear and direct about what works for you and what does not, the same way he has no issue with being clear about what he wants and does not want.
Boundaries might be uncomfortable, but they are necessary.
Wishing you well!
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