Last week, I provided some dating ideas of how to date while “social distancing.” I am beginning to really hate that phrase, “social distancing.” Watch that phrase and others that we have been introduced to in the last few weeks make it into the dictionary next year. I don’t think anyone can call himself an expert with dating in this type of situation, but still I hear them talking about it on television and have read many articles on the topic. But we are all trying to find our feet here. We need to try new things, see what works, and eliminate what isn’t conducive to dating for the next while.
I have received a few emails in regard to specific dating issues that have arisen in the past month or so. I’m telling you the truth when I say, we all must try to figure this out “on the fly.” I will publish one such email, because I feel that it may help others. Next week, I will be returning to the regular topics and emails that I have been publishing for the past four years, because sometimes we just need to get on with life and to forget about all this for a while.
Moshe and I have been dating for a long time. We started talking about marriage right when the coronavirus hit and were forced to practice social distancing like everyone else. Like every other couple, we use Skype. During one of our discussions, I told Moshe that I was nervous about getting sick or someone in my family, or him getting sick, which I know is normal. He did his best to calm me down, but it didn’t work. I didn’t tell him, but I was having trouble sleeping and when I do sleep, my dreams aren’t nice and sweet as they used to be.
My best friend is a PA who told me that the office she works in is getting so many calls about patients suffering from anxiety, and the doctor is prescribing a very low dose of Xanax. She said I should call my doctor and ask him what to do. I made the call and told my doctor everything. He prescribed me the lowest dosage of an anti-anxiety medication and told me to take it only when I feel my worries getting out of control. He also recommended some apps for meditation and said that it has helped some of his patients. There weren’t any refills with the medication he prescribed. He said I should call him when the prescription runs out, because things may change in a few weeks and I may not be as anxious. The first time I took one of the pills was at bedtime, and I finally had my first good night’s rest in about a week and a half. I have only taken a handful of pills – no, not at the same time – but not every day – just when I feel I really need them.
I wasn’t trying to hide the pills from Moshe, but during one of our video dates, I mentioned something about the medication and Moshe wasn’t happy. He said that I should have discussed this with him before I spoke with my doctor. He also strongly suggested the meditation and yoga apps and others instead of the pills. I apologized for not telling him that I had spoken with my doctor, but I didn’t think that I had to. We aren’t engaged yet and everyone on the news is talking about doing what you can to relax and take your mind off the virus. I keep occupied during the day, but I can’t control my thoughts all day long, especially after I hear something on the news or read one of the dozens of text messages I receive from everyone saying, “Urgent, T’hilim needed for…” I told him that he shouldn’t worry about me becoming addicted to pills because I usually take one Tylenol and not two. I don’t like pills, but the world is experiencing a crisis. Thousands are sick in hospitals worldwide and dying. New York is not some third-world country or a village in the Amazon Rain Forest. This is New York in 2020.
Moshe listened to me. He said that he understood, because he feels the same way. He’s scared for his family, friends, and for me, but if we keep distancing from people, isolating, and washing our hands, all should be fine. Just by him saying that, I knew he didn’t understand the extent of my anxiety. I told him I would consider not taking the medication if the meditation helped. I could tell that he wasn’t happy; then I changed the subject. A couple of days later I received a delivery: a DVD and books on yoga from Moshe. During our last few “dates,” Moshe asks if I have been using the DVD, how I’m occupying my time when I’m not out walking, etc. It’s just something he’s never done before, almost like checking up on me.
My question: Is Moshe trying to control me? He was so upset when he found out about the medication. It’s almost as if he thought he wasn’t enough for me. But this has nothing to do with our relationship. I am nervous, scared, not sleeping – and I don’t think that taking low dosage pills when I am feeling out of control is something he should have any say in. The medication calms me down to some extent. These are crazy times. No one can give anyone any type of reassurance that they won’t get sick or if they do it’ll be a mild case or they will recover. How can Moshe ask or tell me not to do what I need to do to make it through the next few weeks? He even went so far as to ask me to flush them down the toilet while he watches via Skype. I said I wouldn’t be doing that, and he had to be more understanding during this whole “pandemic.” What do you think? Is Moshe overreacting? Plus, now he seems to be checking up on me rather than us having a free flow of conversation. Is this his true nature? I’m right for standing up for myself and what I need, but why is that making me feel as if I’m causing a huge fight between us?
Rochelle, thank you for your email.
You are correct. These are crazy times. People are behaving like they never did before. They are worried for their lives and their loved ones. The modern world hasn’t experienced anything like this. Not since 1918 with the Spanish flu has the world had a virus that spreads so quickly and is so deadly. There is no right answer to any of your questions.
As I’ve written many times in this column, I will not address the topic of mental health. I understand both sides of the coin, but I also agree with you when you wrote, “…and everyone on the news is talking about doing what you can to relax and take your mind off the virus.” And that is the reason why I chose to publish your letter. I, too, worry and try to take my mind off of what is happening to my neighbors, friends, and co-workers. At times I color with my daughter, or I play a game on my phone, or take a walk, or arrange the coin jar (separate the nickels, quarters, dimes). I am doing whatever I can to pass the time. Cleaning for Pesach does not take my mind off of the virus, because I feel that I am cleaning for Pesach and against germs that may harm my family. But my apartment has never been cleaner than it has been in the last few weeks! If you feel that taking a low dosage of an anti-anxiety medication is what can help you through the next month or so, then by all means take them. But as with all medications, I strongly suggest being careful and research side effects. If meditation, deep breathing, yoga, coloring, playing Candy Crush, or anything else helps, then by all means, do them. To you and to all readers, I say: Do what works for you.
I can understand when you wrote, “…I apologized for not talking to him about calling my doctor, but I didn’t think that I had to. We aren’t engaged yet…” As a mature single adult, you are used to making decisions for yourself. You may consult a friend or family member, but you are the one making the decisions for yourself. It takes time to adjust to being part of a couple and that all decisions must be run by “the other one.” I’m not just talking about what’s on the dinner menu or vacation itinerary, but everything. Moshe is probably thinking that you soon may be engaged, and this is something that you should be speaking with him about.
Rochelle, do you know why Moshe is so against you taking the medication? Can it be that he or someone he knows had a history with mental health? Or being addicted to pills? Can it be that he is into homeopathic ways of treating injuries, and illnesses? This is something that should be discussed. I doubt that Moshe would want your anxiety to keep growing until it takes over your life, but he may not think that going to your doctor should have been your first choice. Perhaps he feels that if you try yoga or something else that he suggests, it may work – so why turn to pills so fast. I really don’t know. I’m just putting different thoughts out there. Watching you flush the pills sounds a bit extreme, but you stood your ground. The pills have helped you control your anxiety and that is a good thing. It’s also a good thing that you aren’t finding it necessary to take one or two pills daily, that you seem to have some control over your anxiety. And it’s also good that your doctor didn’t provide refills on the medication (although some anti-anxiety medications are considered controlled substances and aren’t allowed to have refills). The fact that your doctor wants you to call him before prescribing them again and pointing out that the situation may change in a month (bli ayin ha’ra), or that you may feel differently about everything, is good. I will point out that some anti-anxiety (or other mental health) medications take a few weeks until the person can feel their effects. I don’t know what you were prescribed, but I wanted to put that fact out before the regulars that email me telling me when I am wrong point out, “She may not even feel the effects of her medications because some take weeks…”
The package that Moshe sent of the books and DVDs is thoughtful. He is trying to do what he can for you without being there for you. He thought these items would help. So cut the guy some slack (I hope you wiped down the books and DVDs and threw the box out right away).
Maybe you think he’s checking up on you because you are now sensitive about the medication issue. But like you said, these are crazy times we are living in, and no one knows how to act or what to say. But you can always call Shalom Taskforce if you are worried. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You want to know if the behavior Moshe is exhibiting concerning the medication is a reflection of his true self. I say, let the experts handle it and call them.
I wish you all well. Let us not panic too much so that our anxiety has a grip on us and our lives, because we still must live life. I never pretended to know everything about anything, but in our new reality, we are all figuring things out as we go along. Nothing is normal with COVID-19 in our lives, least of all dating. But I wish you all the very best.
Now we can return to our regularly scheduled dating articles (and a bit of normalcy).
Hatzlachah to you all!