Covid precautions and couples privilege

Rendren

New member
Me and my wife are currently in a pod with another couple and have been very careful about covid precautions. We have recently opened our marriage and I have been talking to a potential partner who is outside of our pod and unfortunately does not take quite the same precautions as us. My pod and I have agreed that it would be appropriate, and consistent with our current covid precautions, for me to be tested and self-isolate for three days after dates where we kiss or are indoors together unmasked. This is not an issue for my wife, since she is exclusively dating within the pod. My prospective partner has raised several concerns around fair treatment, couples privilege, being treated as unclean, and associating our contact with my isolation. I can certainly appreciate how it would make it difficult to move the relationship forward organically and many of her other concerns, but I worry that I don't properly appreciate the dynamics around couples privilege and her being treated as an outsider. I understand that rules created without her input can create unhealthy dynamics, but am inclined to treat this in the same way as a concern about safe sex; that is one of the few situations where the third parties placed at risk need to be strongly emphasized, not only for their safety but as a check against NRE causing risks to be ignored.

I really want to be able to treat this person as respectfully as possible, so could some of you articulate the concerns you would have in a similar situation so I can properly check myself and empathize?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
My pod and I have agreed that it would be appropriate, and consistent with our current covid precautions, for me to be tested and self-isolate for three days after dates where we kiss or are indoors together unmasked.

And here I was thinking "Only 3 days?"

CDC says 14 days.


I have been talking to a potential partner who is outside of our pod and unfortunately does not take quite the same precautions as us.

That right there would put the potential in the "Maybe after pandemic is over. Or online dating only" bucket to me.

My prospective partner has raised several concerns around fair treatment, couples privilege, being treated as unclean, and associating our contact with my isolation.

She IS being treated fair. It's trying to date in a pandemic and come up with some sort of agreement around what is "safe enough" for the people it would directly affect if COVID was brought home. Talk and see what lines up or not.

This came out in fall. YMMV.

Coronavirus FAQs: What are the New Dating Rules? What about Hooking Up?

I really want to be able to treat this person as respectfully as possible, so could some of you articulate the concerns you would have in a similar situation so I can properly check myself and empathize?

Concerns I'd have? I'm surprised she's not worried about it in the other direction -- what she could catch from you all. Again... talk and see what lines up or not.

If I was trying to date you I'd be glad to hear you are trying to do something, but I'd still give you a pass for "in person" anything til we'd spent more time online dating to build some trust.

And then maybe at most try a socially distant walk in the park or other outside activity with masks on as a first "in person" date.

Trying to date is just not the same in a pandemic. Anyone trying to act like it is? Would make me wonder.

Galagirl
 
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Marcus

Well-known member
My prospective partner has raised several concerns around fair treatment, couples privilege, being treated as unclean, and associating our contact with my isolation.

It's fair to bring up the concern, and if we are living our best, most honest, and adult lives, working through that kind of discourse constructively can be something that prompts a real understanding of where we are.

I would agree that it is a grave health concern and everyone needs to decide how much risk they are willing to take on, just like sexual health. Meanwhile, I get where they are coming from, because I have long felt that "safe sex" is very frequently weaponized and used as an excuse to put up barriers for outside romantic partners. What I mean is, a primary partner can get very "zero tolerance" about who gets to sleep with who when there is a hot new thing involved. I've seen it used that way on these boards and it makes me sensitive about the topic. I see the COVID bubble concern as something that can easily drift into that territory.

So basically I think it cuts both ways, your outside partner needs to respect the fact that there is a health bubble that they are on the outside of, and your bubble partners need to do some self examination to make sure that the barriers they are putting up are actually health based - and not just a convenient excuse to control behavior.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Is any of you in a risk group? If yes, I guess the pod must find a way to not endanger them.

The 3 days of isolation... are you taking your test on the 3rd day? The median incubation period for covid is 5 days, so for this measure to have effect, I'd also tend to say it has to be longer. Maybe not 14, but five...?

That being said, it's entirely possible that if you have to self-isolate after in-person dates, it becomes impossible for you to date in a meaningful way. In that case, you'd have to weight the risk and payoffs of seeing people who take less precautions and negotiate with the people in your covid bubble.

To involve your potential, you could indeed start with some socially distanced walks, and talk over the dangers and possibilities. Maybe you have to self-isolate, maybe they are willing to take stronger precautions a week before they see you, maybe your incompatible risk profiles are a deal breaker for now.

Anyway, you don't even know them yet. Stick to your risk profile.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
for me to be tested and self-isolate for three days after dates where we kiss or are indoors together unmasked. This is not an issue for my wife, since she is exclusively dating within the pod. My prospective partner has raised several concerns around fair treatment, couples privilege, being treated as unclean, and associating our contact with my isolation.

I would actually appreciate @Marcus input on this. He has a Spockish way of looking at things.

So you're going to be tested? Your wife hasn't said that she wants prospective partner to be tested.

A) why did you tell prospective partner?

B) why is prospective partner so concerned about something she doesn't have to do?

There's something I call the "reverse cow person". That's not as fun as it sounds. You get these prospective partners who are really not a good fit for (my kind of) poly. They know about the "cowgirl/boy" trope so they've got to come in with more sophistication and gaslight you into believing that you and your current partners are dealing with poly issues (like unacknowledged couple's privilege or jealousy) that you're not. This isn't always conscious but it is a way to try and control a situation where they feel disadvantaged.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
A) why did you tell prospective partner?
B) why is prospective partner so concerned about something she doesn't have to do?

[I'm going to name the potential new partner Chris]

Personally I'd say the most important take-away of the exchange between Rendren and Chris, is that there is a fundamental perspective issue that needs to be examined more closely.

Chris is certainly correct that this restriction causes both a logistical strain which will almost certainly cut down on available time to spend with one another, and it also adds a kind of "unclean" quality to the new association. It isn't unreasonable to bring up the concern of fair treatment and unwanted implications. In fact, I think it is a golden opportunity for Rendren to examine how he feels about his boundaries, and his loyalty to his pod, as well as deep dive into what makes Chris tick and where their natural overlap is.

Assuming that the context provided is accurate, Chris also sounds like she is being a bit irrational in how she is applying her concerns about couple privilege and health decision making. For this reason alone I would absolutely not let this conversation slide, and would make it my new mission in life to investigate her perspective.

It seems just as likely that Chris has been burned by a couple in the past and is applying a bit of paranoia to this situation, as it is that she is a cowgirl who doesn't actually want to be in a non-monogamous association. If I were Rendren, I'd very much want to know the answer to that. While it is more or less true that where there is smoke there is fire, it doesn't necessarily mean that we need to douse it with water and evacuate the building, so I would encourage looking at this from a "that's an unexpected perspective, let's talk about that and find where it leads us".
 

Rendren

New member
Several people have made excellent points about the length of the quarantine - other members of the pod chose 2 days based on the minimum time required for a positive result to show up, possibly as one of the only ways they felt they could make the process less burdensome to me, but there is reason to believe that a couple extra days could make it much more accurate. Multiple members of our pod are high risk.

I agree that Chris (to borrow the name Marcus' assigned) has been poorly treated in the past by other couples. Chris has already accepted some risk by necessity which I believe informs attitudes towards other risks, and has not tried to date during covid yet, so the thoughts and reactions are amplified by their novelty. Chris also has other significant stressors at the moment, so we agreed to pause the conversation and circle back to it when things are feeling calmer for both of us.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Here's the poster for testing.

You test 3-5 days after the possible exposure and then wait 7 days after at home.

If you don't test, you wait 10 days.

You wait 14 days if you are around high risk people. You mention some in your pod are high risk people.

It's valid for Chris to have concerns about couple privilege. But it's also valid for you to have concerns about COVID 19 affecting you and your household/pod.

You have to talk and see what lines up or not so both can feel ok enough here.

Galagirl
 

Dagferi

Well-known member
It isn't about being unclean it is about keeping vulnerable people in our lives safe.

I just went 3 weeks not seeing Murf my husband due to his employer requiring people who were exposed through their spouses or family who resided with them but without symptoms to still come to work.

It just about killed me because I split my time 50/50 between my husbands. But I could not expose my other husband or my sons. It would not be right.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I just want to know how Marcus feels about being called spookish.
 

Rendren

New member
All of these responses have reinforced my stance on covid precautions and encouraged me to continue reconsidering whether I should be dating at all before vaccines are more widely available (another thing Chris noted I might need to do). But my primary concern is being able to empathize with Chris' situation and be supportive, even though the covid precautions will not be eased. Chris has been mistreated by other couples in the past and is very suspicious of any red flags in my marriage/pod.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Marcus wasn't "called spookish." Someone said he "has a Spockish way of looking at things." Like Mr. Spock from Star Trek.
Oh, my mistake. I read it wrong lol.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
But my primary concern is being able to empathize with Chris' situation and be supportive, even though the covid precautions will not be eased. Chris has been mistreated by other couples in the past and is very suspicious of any red flags in my marriage/pod.

It's tough all around, and the more we can try to empathize with where our fellows are coming from, the better off we will all be. It's easier said than done, so I'm glad to see that you are putting your back into it.

I say, keep doing what you're doing. You and Chris may not become lovers after all, which is fine, but being clear about your boundaries and treating people with dignity is an excellent way to increase the odds of nurturing valuable relationships. Who knows, if you set up a healthy foundation with this person it may be that the relationship can be revisited at a later date when being in close proximity with someone doesn't come with so much risk.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Who knows, if you set up a healthy foundation with this person it may be that the relationship can be revisited at a later date when being in close proximity with someone doesn't come with so much risk.
This. At least I’m hoping for that myself, with someone who didn’t want to do the indefinite video chat relationship thing.
 
Who knows, if you set up a healthy foundation with this person it may be that the relationship can be revisited at a later date when being in close proximity with someone doesn't come with so much risk.

This. At least I’m hoping for that myself, with someone who didn’t want to do the indefinite video chat relationship thing.
Just curious, I have thought about that. How do you folks put something like that on "ice" so to speak?
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Well, in my case she told me she couldn’t keep doing this, it hurt too much, and we stopped our weekly video dates and eventually drifted apart from even texting. I’m just planning to get back in touch after vaccines. (In my case, though, this is literally someone I went to high school with so we share some social circles anyway, it’s not going to be, like, completely no contact even if I didn’t make that effort. )
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Just curious, I have thought about that. How do you folks put something like that on "ice" so to speak?

My assumption would be that Rendren thinks it over, decides whether or not the COVID restrictions currently in place make sense, and then just let's Chris know "here is how any contact will work while the COVID situation remains this way", and puts it out clearly. Chris can be on board with that or not. I get your question, but I don't think that Rendren needs to put anything on ice, he just needs to speak plainly and be honest about the parameters of a relationship he will be involved with.

My guess would be that Chris will back off and seek other pastures once she understands that Rendren is going to stick to his health boundaries (assuming he does). She sounds like she's not in a place to deal with the distance and "image" issues, and will answer the "how do you put it on ice" for him. That's not meant to be shade on her, I'm in a really crazy place right now during the pandemic so I can't begrudge anyone for having very limited energy for complication. It just sounds like they aren't in a place where they can line up their lifestyles easily.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Rendren,

It sounds like Chris disagrees with you on what kind of precautions should be taken for Covid. This is just one of the ways that the pandemic is screwing up our lives, you can't just magically align your Covid precautions with Chris's precautions (or lack thereof). You can, of course, take another look at the way Chris is handling things, and start dating Chris after all as a calculated risk. Of course in doing so, you may be distancing yourself from the rest of your pod. So you are going to take a gamble no matter which road you choose. Unless there's a third road, such as convincing Chris to adopt your precautions, but I don't know if that can be done.

Anyway just some thoughts; I hope you can work things out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
She sounds like she's not in a place to deal with the distance and "image" issues, and will answer the "how do you put it on ice" for him. That's not meant to be shade on her, I'm in a really crazy place right now during the pandemic so I can't begrudge anyone for having very limited energy for complication. It just sounds like they aren't in a place where they can line up their lifestyles easily.
I am right there with you with the limited energy, and I know it wasn't meant to be shade on her! Just personal curiousity.
 
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