‘My husband wants to have his parents over for Thanksgiving’

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Hi Meredith,

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

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.

– Meredith

Readers? How are you negotiating these decisions with partners?