Why an Unsupportive Vaxxed Partner is Toxic

“A worthy relationship is an agreement that challenges and supports both participants.”
― Joseph Rain, The Unfinished Book About Who We Are

I had a boyfriend for three years before all this shit went down. He was a nice guy. Everyone liked him. Trouble began when I remained unvaccinated and he got vaccinated. Dating was uncomfortable for us both.

Things were OK during the first few lockdowns – solidarity and all that. Then the vaccine roll-out began. He didn’t say much but I felt strongly that the big pharmaceutical companies were orchestrating much of the hyperbole. I spent a week researching and writing a piece following the money from medical researchers right through to the CDC and the FDA. It was actually shocking – read the piece, here: Spit out the Blue Pill: How Big Pharma Fund Research & Nearly Everyone Except You is Making Money Off It.

I am in Canada and my research concentrated on the US but here, as in much of the world, our own guidelines are influenced by the CDC and much of the research cited by our health authorities is from the US so is most often paid for by the CDC or other pharmaceutically-funded entities. (See also: Big Pharma Pays for the Science & They Don’t Care if You Live or Die)

Class Dismissed!

He completely dismissed my work. I was hoping it would be the starting point for a discussion but he wouldn’t talk to me about it at all. As my world got smaller and more and more frightening, this dismissal grew from a fester to a full-blown wound.

I tried to keep an open mind. After all, I don’t care what anyone else does to their body, yeah? Well, I don’t except that when that person is supposed to be your partner and the decision affects so much of the relationship, how can you support each other? They do not know your pain, your fear about losing your job, how it feels to be alienated from friends or family, how you are coping with the isolation – none of it. You try to keep it light and stay off-topic. Have you tried to have sex with an elephant watching your every move? My friends, it is just not conducive.

I Keep Forgetting I’m No Fun Anymore

And let’s face it: you can’t go out to restaurants, concerts, or do any of the fun things you used to do together. I was spending a whole lot of uninterrupted time with my significant other, who refused to discuss his reasons for getting vaxxed because this was an uncomfortable conversation. I don’t think he knew why he did it. It didn’t seem to matter to him one way or the other.

I tried to be an open book. But it ended up being like having a guest over to the house who couldn’t know that you were really an undercover cop or a spy. I did a lot of distracting, believe me. A lot of Netflix. A lot of alcohol. Not much talk of the future. So many topics off limits or unsafe.

I knew this wasn’t good for our relationship. I felt like it was my fault for having the views I did. For not being “normal” like everyone else. I kept hoping things would get better.

But at this point, my future was looking worse with every mainstream media Covid story. I had lost my sense of humour and was no fun at all. Sometimes my hysteria would come out and I’d feel myself just wanting to be alone so I could full-blast Rage Against the Machine (“Fuck you I won’t do whatcha tell me!”). Honestly, it was a relief when he left on Sunday mornings. It was a relief to be alone so I could be myself and cry or scream.

Masters of Avoidance

His Twitter addiction began to really annoy me. He, being one of the blessed vaxxed, did not have to go off of social media. (You can read about why I had to go off, here: Welcome You Dirty Unvaxxed: 7 Ways to Feel Better Today.) He scrolled constantly, usually when I was emotional. Have you ever sat on a couch with someone, trying to have a conversation, and then realized they were head down and thumb-full with someone else’s thoughts? It’s like trying to engage someone with a Jack Russell terrier jumping up and down and then pulling at your pant leg and then pooping on your carpet and then barking…just.no.point. But really? Could I blame him?

Because of his reluctance to speak his truth, I was always left feeling wary around him. I would never let myself trust him because he never shared his personal opinions. It was like he was afraid for me to see who he really was. Or maybe he didn’t know who he was. The vaccination decision is so personal, so integral to my values, so emotionally charged…there was no way he would tell me his real feelings around it. Early in our relationship I used to ask him gently for his opinion on various tricky subjects but he always demurred. I respected his privacy. But that is not the open relationship I had dreamed of.

Crisis? What Crisis?

I had a bit of a health crisis. Not huge but enough that one night I was in pain and couldn’t sleep. I texted him in the morning to tell him about it. He wished me luck and did not offer to come over to help feed my cats. The crisis passed quickly but by then, I was disillusioned. I broke up with him shortly after that.

What is the role of a partner? I know in the old tradition it was all-in, “for better or worse” but I knew I’d never want to marry this guy. Then I realized: I never want to marry this guy. Whoa! OK. Call me old-fashioned but I would rather be alone than with someone that appears to dismiss my views or opinions so readily, who is not going to be there for me when things get rough, and who won’t share his opinions or views on anything. How would that ever work? It didn’t.

From the very beginning of our relationship, I never felt safe with him. It was reflected in so many things he did (or didn’t do) but I told myself that “safety” wasn’t a big deal. It turns out that “safety” for me runs deep and permeates nearly everything I do.

For example, I will do an informal risk/benefit analysis on nearly every decision I make such as getting Covid vs. submitting to a new vaccine regimen. The decision I made was an obvious one for my age, health, and situation. I also believe that everyone should do their own research and not just go with what the state or anyone else tells you to believe. Let’s have a -gasp!- dialogue!

Hello? Are You There?

I know that what I do is not necessarily best for you – or my boyfriend. But a decision of such magnitude and latitude across the full spectrum of our relationship required too much from both of us. My sense was that he would never be able to be there for me because he was barely there for himself. He didn’t bother to do any research at all and he was fine with that non-decision. If you won’t make your mind up on your own, the government will happily make it up for you. How could he support me in my decision not to submit to vaccination when to him it was really nothing to hand his autonomy over to someone else?

He trusts authority of all kinds. I don’t. His Dad was a doctor. Mine most certainly was not and I’ve had relatives die from iatrogenic causes. He was raised by loving, wealthy parents with the system always backing him up. I was not and I’ve had to scrabble and fight my way through life – into every good paying job and working twice as hard for the things I have while relying almost entirely on my own initiative. I hope the world is good to him – it certainly appears likely it will be.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

I am fighting for autonomy from an increasingly authoritarian regime. My partner, if I ever have another one, is going to be upfront on how he arrived at his decision yet respect mine. He will be willing to talk with me about things that are difficult and stand for what he believes in. Together, we will fight for what is right for us and our families. He will tell me what he thinks, even if I don’t want to hear it. And because of this, I will feel safe with him.


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