My boyfriend just lied about his medical condition to fly, which is exactly why I had a life-changing illness.

My boyfriend just lied about his medical condition to fly, which is exactly why I had a life-changing illness.

Each week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for SlatePlus members. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Dear caution,

I have been suffering from Long COVID for the past year. I was honored to receive wonderful treatment. My friends and family were less supportive, but I was dealing with it in therapy. This week, one of my close friends tested positive for coronavirus at the end of an overseas trip. He made the decision to fly home on a 12-hour flight while ill and with his symptoms, and kept it a secret from the airline until he could board the plane. I feel terrible about this decision. My life has been turned upside down by this disease, I am no longer able to do many of the things I enjoy, and this has put a huge strain on my family and our finances. All because, one year ago, I was infected with the coronavirus by someone (who later emerged) who was lying about his infection status at the time.

I understand the fear and additional expense of staying outside of your home country to recover directly, as a few years ago I suffered an unexpected injury abroad and had to wait to return home. However, I firmly believe that this is the purpose of trip insurance, and that the benefits of quarantine in this case greatly outweigh the personal stress. I cannot reconcile his choice to expose others to this disease with our decade-long friendship. Is there a way I can get past this and continue our relationship?

-Sick and struggling

Dear fighter,

There’s no getting around the fact that your friend could have been sitting next to an elderly person or someone with a compromised immune system who got sick, and that if they did the responsible thing and postponed their travel, they could still be there. correct. He was selfish and negligent. In many ways, it’s bad.
But what makes it difficult for me, and makes me hope you’ll give it a little grace, is that it sucks exactly the way airline policies and everything else about the official “end” of the coronavirus have encouraged us.

Between the terrible politicization of the virus from the beginning, the misinformation around it, the shifting and incoherent policies to contain it, the issues around access to tests and vaccines, and the fact that it is completely impractical for many people to isolate when they develop symptoms. It’s pretty safe to assume it’s flying everywhere, especially in this season of general respiratory illness. And not just because of people like your friend. There are people who never believed in the coronavirus; People who used to believe in it but can no longer handle thinking about it, so they simply don’t question their sudden attacks of “bad sensitivity”; People who are concerned they may have coronavirus but don’t have a test; people who cannot afford to take time off work when they have COVID-19; People like my teacher friend who have to come back five days after testing positive even if they are Tests are still positive; And people who held onto the belief that even if they had coronavirus, carrying Lysol wipes would prevent them from spreading the disease. Everyone who took that flight knew that someone like your friend was likely on board. And if my recent experience with air travel is any indication, two of them were probably wearing a mask. This is a terrible thing, especially for particularly vulnerable people who, like you, have had their lives turned upside down by an infection that takes a serious physical toll. But this is the bitter reality in which we live.

All of this is to say that there are a million ways in which our country has failed miserably when it comes to this virus. It may make more sense to direct your anger at the decision makers responsible for those failures, rather than at one person who is navigating poorly in an ongoing pandemic without any institutional intervention. Plus, you’re already dealing with a lack of support during a really stressful time, and I’d hate to think that you’re punishing yourself by cutting off contact with a friend whose reserves don’t hold up under scrutiny. After all, if you look closely, you’ll find that very few people do.

If, after thinking about this matter, you still feel angry or disgusted when you think about this man, there is no way around it. You can’t be friends with someone you thought of that way. And no one can fault you for holding a grudge against the specific type of person who caused your suffering. It might be helpful to think about whether you’re really angry at him or about something else Larger.

More tips from Slate

I work as a personal assistant to an actress. Almost anyone will recognize her and know her name. She is a normal, down to earth person who became my friend. A few days ago my father died. My family is in the middle of making funeral arrangements. My boss made a comment about attending the funeral to pay respects to my father, whom I had become friends with because he was a funny, likeable man. But here’s the thing: I feel sick to my stomach when I think that everyone at the wake and reception will be staring at her, trying to subtly take photos of her and asking for autographs.

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