Living

I Lived With My Ex During Lockdown—And He Refused To Practise Social Distancing

I'm immunocompromised, and if I catch COVID, I have no idea what it’s going to do to my body. But he continued to go out all the time.

Black and white ink illustration of a woman looking at a cityscape

(Illustration: Chantal Bennett)

My relationship hadn’t been working for a little while, but our split was very amicable. We needed to sell the house, so we put it on the market right at the start of COVID and it sold that day. We got a long closing date, I entered an agreement to buy another place, and we were doing okay. We were still living in the same house, sleeping in different rooms—we weren’t hanging out, but we did see each other. We might eat together, and there was a lot of playing with the puppy. It was friendly.

Then suddenly, we were in lockdown, and that’s when things really changed for the worse. I’m immuno­compromised: I got the flu three years ago and never recovered from it. If and when I catch COVID, I have no idea what it’s going to do to my body. But he didn’t want to social distance. He’d go out all the time or have friends coming over to our garage. He was giving some of his stuff away, so people would come by to pick something up, and then they’d drink for hours.

I’d tell him, “I’m high-risk. I cannot have people around,” and he’d just say, “They’re not sick.” I got really paranoid. I kept asking him, “Who are you seeing? Were you in close contact? Did you wash your hands?” I’m sure it drove him crazy. But if I get sick, I’m hooped. I don’t know what was going on in his head—I think he’s just not handling things. Maybe it’s a way of making sure the relationship is over and we’re not friends.

And then, in mid-April, I got sick. I told him, “You are the only person who could have given this to me—you can’t go out and see people anymore.” So he moved out. He just cleared out his stuff and was on his way. He’s staying at his mom’s, and of course he’s physical distancing now because he has to be careful with his mom, right? Shoot me.

I did get a test, and I don’t have COVID. That was a relief. But now that he’s gone, I feel so much more relaxed, too. I was sanitizing every drawer handle, every rail he touched, three or four times a day. I’m not up half the night worried about who he was seeing during the day. Now, I can unpack the groceries on the kitchen counter at my leisure, and I’m having pancakes for supper—I haven’t done that in years. I bought a pink couch for the new place, and it’s pristine. It feels like I’m starting fresh.


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