Whatever’s worth doing, I want to get it right. The first time, if possible. “Practice Makes Perfect”? Even as a child, practice of any kind was a soul-killer. No doubt why my parents soon bailed on the idea of piano lessons. But over the years I discovered something about myself. ‘Mastery’ is important to me. Especially when my personal skills feel helpful to others. Unlike Now. I feel helpless, as we keep cycling-through our Pandemic Relationship Issues. We can’t agree on what they are; let alone how to problem-solve and master them.

My approach to Problem-Solving has been at the heart of my relationship implosions. I seek balance and fairness. But I’m also like a fierce little terrier with The Facts. We can charge through them together. We can go around them together. One thing we can’t do is cover them up, or deny they exist. When I reflect on the important people in my life – past and present – only a few were or are in sync with me on this.

Time always feels so precious to me. If we both want to talk about what’s working, or not, in our Love Relationship, it needs to be an honest conversation from the start. At this stage of my life, that’s usually do-able. But now, in our Pandemic Relationship, something different is going on. First, there’s no starting-point of agreement: “The Virus is Bad; It Kills”. Twice now I’ve been told, “I love you, but I’m not getting vaccinated. Ever. If I die, I die.”

Where do we go from there? There is no “Oh, ok”, response to that statement.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about our collective (Planet Earth) slide — away from trusting other people. Not just institutions. The guy walking towards me on the street ( I tense up). The woman who does my hair (why isn’t she returning my calls?). My dentist (do I really need the pricey work she’s suggesting?)

What Science is telling us about the Pandemic may as well be coming from the Looney Tunes Division of Warner Brothers Studios. I get it. Here in the U.S., we’ve been struggling with Trust Issues for a few years now. Some of us, for a lot longer than that.

But what’s truly disheartening to me is the way that, in our Pandemic Relationship, fear and suspicion can overpower love. And, our pre-pandemic understanding of one another. How could we be so far apart about something that’s life or death?

The first time I fell in love, our relationship was what most would call a Twin Flame, or Soulmate connection. We met in high school and stayed together for seven years. I’ll never forget the day I came home early after a canceled class and found our bed unmade. There, on the sheets, was a beautiful, beaded necklace. It wasn’t mine. I picked it up, held it in front of my boyfriend’s face. I said nothing. I wasn’t angry. It was shock I felt. Disbelief. “How can this be happening?”

I was so ready to talk, back then. To problem-solve, just like I am now, in our Pandemic Relationship. But you have to be brave, ok? Tell me what you think or feel. Tell me what you want to do next. I promise I’ll stay calm, not yell or cry. But all I ask in return is one thing: Please put Self-Love, and Love-for-Another first? I’m hoping that we can agree to start there.

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