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Woe Is Me! “My Flatmate’s Partner Is Compromising My Self‑Quarantine”

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Mar 22, 2020

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Image Credit: 'Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi' (1966)

Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.


“My flatmate’s partner is at our place almost every day, especially since we’re working from home due to the coronavirus quarantine. However, what’s making me anxious about this is that he travels around the city all day and returns home, increasing our chances of potentially contracting and spreading the virus. Am I overreacting or should I tell them to get it together and stay quarantined?”

— A Solitary Germaphobe


LG: Tell them to get it together and respect the quarantine!!! I’m hoping he’s traveling for work (though that’s still unfortunate) and not pleasure. If Boyfriend is just out and about for entertainment, all the more reason to lay down the law with the oblivious couple. Regardless of whether he has to travel or if he just laughs in the face of pandemics for fun, there’s no reason you should bear additional risk — you’re not in the relationship and therefore have neither obligation nor desire to tolerate Boyfriend and his potential germiness.

Your roommate can shack up at his place and bear the risk if he/she wants to. If that’s not possible for them, and if curtailing his travel is not possible for Boyfriend, then Boyfriend needs to stay away — that is the whole point of everyone quarantining. If these two careless lovebirds really can’t stand not seeing each other, they can have phone or Skype sex. Or joint-porn-watching sessions. Whatever floats their boats. But they shouldn’t be allowed to sink yours just because they’re horny.

RD: Literally word for word what LG said. It’s a possibility they might not understand the severity of the situation, in which case send them to The Swaddle’s website or any other publication doing good work re: coronavirus. This is the time your friendships will be tested; hope they all remain intact after we’re through with the apocalypse.

AM: I think your flatmate needs to be told and educated about the fact that the boyfriend might be the reason you both can get infected with coronavirus. She needs to be told that now is not the time to think about love or be accommodative. It’s time they both take it seriously, and if it’s something they don’t realize, just walk up to them and tell them.

A joke or two about it may also work. Something like — hey, you might be the reason we’ll all get coronavirus, or you’re traveling and getting all the virus to our house. They’ll get it, I’m sure. Good luck.

SM: The coronavirus outbreak has put all of us, especially non-confrontational people, in a difficult position. The next few days and weeks (if we don’t come to our senses soon) will entail uncomfortable conversations with people about social distancing, especially with friends and family. So I think we should be mentally prepared for that.

And coming to your specific problem, you should know that you’re absolutely right. You’re not overreacting. This is a huge health hazard, and as a co-inhabitant, this is one of the things that your flatmate signed up for: to be mindful of your safety. It’s a unique manifestation of this, but that’s essentially the issue here, so you absolutely need to voice your discomfort. But try and do it without antagonizing them, because you will, unfortunately, be marooned with at least one of them for a very long time.

ADT: Okay, this man is literally a walking germ. Both literally and metaphorically. Take your flatmate aside and let her know that she needs to get it together and kick him out, or make sure he doesn’t leave when he comes back. Or, you know, start spraying him with an extremely mild mixture of disinfectant and water till he leaves. Perhaps, play this video in the background, too.  

DR: These are such dark times for people who live with a crippling fear of confrontation. Sigh! But, unfortunately, you have to explain to her that while you’re happy for her sex life, you’d also like to see her, and yourself, preserve your own lives, which she is risking by exposing both herself and you to this apocalyptic virus. As LG said, maybe this couple needs to find other ways to satiate their horny-ness without endangering everyone around them. Good luck!

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Written By The Swaddle Team

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