Q. I have a timely relationship issue involving the current COVID pandemic. My husband wants to have his parents over for Thanksgiving. I’d prefer to bring them a plate and see them briefly outside, per local state and federal recommendations.
My husband doesn’t understand “what the big deal is” about having two people over. But … I have a health condition that would be “a big deal” if I were to get COVID, so I prefer to not have anyone in our home right now. It’s not that I don’t love my in-laws; I just don’t think it’s smart to have anyone over while field hospitals are literally being set up across the state right now (!). He thinks I’m “being paranoid.” I think he’s not getting it. Is there a compromise I’m not seeing?
TURKEY DAY DRAMA
A. Well, I side with you. Not that it helps.
You have good reason to be concerned about COVID — as do we all. Numbers have spiked, hospitals are preparing for the worst, we’re being told by so many people in health care that the best thing to do is stay home. The end. I see no problem with asking for a group conversation about this so that your in-laws can hear your concerns. They might have their own. I think a lot of people have been timid about saying no this year.
Really, you’ve offered a wonderful compromise — food outside and a short visit. (Also, if you live around Boston, it looks like Friday will be good picnic weather.) The only other compromise I can think of is to tell your husband that your group can make a better, more specific plan for the next holiday. For Christmas, let’s say, think about what everyone would need to do to feel safe in a room. Maybe it’ll require two weeks of isolation and then tests for everyone before you have a meal. Figure it out now and work with a calendar.
I must say, this letter has me worried about your husband and empathy. If his “you’re paranoid” answer didn’t surprise you, it might be worth talking about with a counselor about communication.
“Have a plate” at home. Greet your in-laws from a side room or top of the stairs. Ask your husband to bring you a plate of food and dine 6 feet-plus away from your in-laws. Afterward, perhaps chat with everyone from an adjoining room. GDCATCH
^“Greet your in-laws from a side room or top of the stairs.” You do realize it’s HER home, don’t you? BIGSIGH
Make your husband split the day — you guys have a small Thanksgiving and then have him go to his parents’ house for a second meal. I wouldn’t compromise on this. SURFERROSA
^That’s not how COVID works. WARMACHINE
Yeah, the problem is your husband. Does he behave like COVID is [no big deal], going everywhere mask-less and doing everything like before? Anyway, it would help to know how your in-laws have been living lately so you could assess the risk, but the bottom line is: You are right to be careful, have a health condition, and should be firm. If you don’t want them in your house, they do not come in your house at this time. Period. Good luck. HOLLYIVY
I’m also worried about this husband of yours. What the heck is wrong with him? And I hate to pull this card but “you” married him. This can’t be the first time he’s shown no empathy or care for you. JSMUS
Talk to your in-laws. Hopefully they are more understanding, and compassionate, than your husband. If he thinks it’s no big deal have him go to his parents and tell him he can’t come home until he gets tested. PERSON99
There is an interesting delusion going around, and your husband seems to have caught a case of it. The most typical symptom manifests in this manner: The better I know someone, the less likely they are to be carrying COVID. HEYITHINK
Meredith, host a Zoom meeting for all the letter writers who are avoiding all human contact for Thanksgiving. HARRISBSTONE
^Not a bad idea. Maybe something to think about for Xmas, etc. MEREDITHGOLDSTEIN
Weigh in on this Thanksgiving question in the comments section. Send your own relationship and dating questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.