Feeling Calm During The Coronavirus Pandemic Is A Valid Reaction, Experts Say

The news is full of advice on how to stay calm during the coronavirus pandemic — but what if, actually, you’ve been feeling pretty OK? Psychologists say that keeping your cool isn’t an inappropriate reaction to what’s going on right now, even if you feel like everyone around you is in panicking. People who feel less rattled than they think they should might be reacting in line with their temperament, their experience with previous traumas, and their overall panic levels over time.

“While the impact of coronavirus is global, the reactions are decidedly individual,” Dr. Gregory Nawalanic M.D., a clinical psychologist with the University of Kansas Health System, tells Bustle. “There is no specifically ‘right’ way to respond to a pandemic.” A person’s reactions to extreme situations tend to moderate over time, and you may feel more relaxed now if you were initially very worried. “The folks who initially panicked trend toward a calmer space of acceptance, in the same way that those who initially dismissed the potential impact will trend toward activated understanding,” he says. Or so we hope.

Some people are also inherently calmer than others in the face of threats or anxiety-provoking events. “Everyone has their own innate temperament, how they are wired, so to speak,” Dr. Nadia E. Charguia M.D., a psychiatrist with the Department of Psychiatry at University of North Carolina Health, tells Bustle. “We all are on a spectrum when it comes to our character traits,” she says.

A woman bakes bread at home. If you're feeling calm during the coronavirus pandemic, experts say that's okay
miljko/E+/Getty Images

You may also be finding some aspects of isolation soothing, especially if you’re introverted by nature. “The reduced interactions, and not needing to be ‘on our top game’ socially, can give us a sense of safety, familiarity, and calmness,” Dr. Joshua Klapow Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. “We are reminded that we can be in our pajamas, take off our shoes and sit in our favorite chair.” The familiar things in your environment can be really effective in calming you down.

Previous experience with trauma can also make people more chill. “Many people have had prior exposure to highly stressed situations, and as a result, may no longer exhibit a stressed, strained or anxious response,” Dr. Charguia says. If any part of this experience feels familiar,  you may feel more relaxed about living through it.

That said, some people might be feeling extra calm because they’re repressing their anxiety. Dr. Nawalanic says that if you’ve been feeling oddly detached or unemotional, your anxiety might be manifesting itself in other ways, like mood swings, sleep problems, depression, or strain in your relationships. If you’re repressing your feelings about coronavirus, he says, it’s likely they might bubble up after the situation is resolved, and you could start feeling really anxious once lockdown is over.

“Those who appear strangely calm in the face of loss and hardship right now might be more in need of mental health support than those who are appropriately acknowledging and expressing their feelings,” Dr. Nawalanic says. If you’re concerned that your no-worries demeanor is covering up deeper feelings, talk to a supportive person in your life, or try reaching out to a therapist.

If you’re feeling pretty OK about things right now, though, try not to stress about it — some people just deal with upheaval in their own, calm way.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.

 

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8 Things to Say at the End of a Date if You Have Zero Intention of “Grabbing Drinks!” Ever Again

When I went to grab drinks with Josh* at an Irish pub near my work, we had decent chemistry. It wasn’t “Omg, I found my soul mate” chemistry, but it was the kind that I sometimes gaslight myself into believing could potentially develop over time. (Note: Dudes do not do this.) In this specific case, it was because we had a mutual love of Kacey Musgraves and he could hold a conversation without awkward pauses…yes, the bar is really that low, people.

But after one drink, I was ready to call it a night. We parted ways, said our goodbyes, no kiss (although, he did plant one on my cheek, which I guess in hindsight reads, “Hi, not interested”) and then I turned and started walking the other way. But before I was completely turned around, he hesitated in one of those awkward, first-date fidgety moves and said with a smile, “We should do this again sometime.” I nodded and started walking away à la my own Sex and the City moment. In my best Carrie Bradshaw voice, I thought: Damn, Tay, you still got it.

A week later. though, when I texted Josh: “Hey, Josh, how are we this week?” I was left on read. Now, I normally have a great gut instinct (weird flex, sorry), but I wasn’t getting ghosting vibes from Josh. He said he wanted to see me again? We had good conversation? What about Kacey?! I mean, I genuinely thought it was one of those one in a million chances that Josh had actually lost his phone or was out of service range or didn’t get my text for some reason (I know, I know: Insert my clown face here). But when he still didn’t text me back, I realized I was being ghosted. The worst.

So, in honor of my personal experience with the phrase: “Hey, yeah, we should do this again sometime,” (both me doing it and receiving it with no intent of following up), I want to make the bold plea: Can we *please* stop ending dates with this empty promise if we don’t, like, actually mean it?

I understand that closing out a bad date can be super awkward. What do you say? How do you finagle your way out of a kiss? How do you end the date pleasantly without being mean? Sometimes, if you’re like me, it really is just easier to blab out “Oh, I’ll text you!” or “Let’s do this again!” because as humans, we don’t know WTF else to say. In order to prevent this—and giving someone false hope for date number two—here are 7 other things you can end a date with instead:

  1. “Let me know when you get home safely!” Not only does this show interest in the person’s well-being (or, in my case, that they didn’t get pushed onto the subway tracks by someone), it’s also a pretty friendly way to get them to text you when they get home. That way, when they do, you’ll have the confidence to tell them through a text you weren’t feeling things because it’s *so* much easier behind a screen.
  2. “Good luck in that ______ this week!” You’ve just been talking for the last hour, maybe two, about the other person, so they’ve probably mentioned what they’re doing the following week. Wish them luck on whatever you can recall—whether it’s a work presentation or calling to make their own doctor’s appointment.
  3. “Thanks for the drinks!” or dinner, or coffee, or whatever. If you picked up the tab, “Thanks for the company!” works too. This type of statement is clutch because it doesn’t elicit any response other than “You’re welcome!” But if you really can’t think of anything to thank them for because they were a grade A douche, how about “Thank you for paying for the buzz I now have and will use to drunkenly swipe on other dating appers as soon as I get into my Uber after I unmatch you”?
  4. “Do you know how to get home?” It doesn’t have to be condescending (or it totally can be if your date asked if you knew how many carbs were in the bread basket you ate), but it’d be perfectly okay to end the convo with directions, a hug, and then a good ol’ pat on the back.
  5. “Give your pup a kiss for me!” …because you will, very unfortunately, never meet their cute pup to do it yourself, considering you despise anyone who chews with their mouth open.
  6. “Here, take my leftovers!” Let’s hope that your date isn’t awaiting your text for round two, but if they are (because you’re just that much of a catch), at least they’ll have some leftover Bolognese to snack on that can temporarily make them happy.
  7. “Gentleman (or ladies), if you are without a rose tonight, it’s time to say your goodbyes.” Hug them, kiss them on the cheek, and then offer to walk them down to their subway station.
  8. “Honestly, you’re kind of a shit date.” Hey, I’m always one for full-frontal honesty. How else do they learn?

In my case, I didn’t really know what was in store for Josh’s and my future, which is why I was fully ready to leave our date not expecting anything in return. But when I’m told, “Oh, we should do this again sometime!” that sends me—and I’m assuming other people too—into a spiral of “Oh, okay, I guess they had a great time and are into me.” Had Josh not said anything to me at all, I probably would’ve been more okay with the slow-fade from our date. But when someone gives me an unsolicited promise, I’m inclined to expect them to keep it.

*Name has been changed.

 

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5 Cheating Wives Reveal Why Women Cheat On Their Husbands

People cheat for different reasons.

People cheat on each other. This much is true. Whether it’s through long, drawn-out emotional affairs or drunken aberrations not to be repeated, statistics suggest some 25 percent of men have cheated while in relationships and women cheat at a rate of about 13 percent.

While those numbers aren’t wildly scientific (people are probably not dying to admit they’ve betrayed the trust of a partner or spouse), they suggest that cheating is widespread.

The reasons for why people cheat are varied: some people are bored, others are trying to escape emotional abuse, still others are just falling into an affair without fully realizing it. But the reasons are often also the same: people are looking for something different.

Fatherly talked to five cheating wives who were looking for something different themselves to find out why women cheat. Some of their names have been changed.

1. “My husband was like my roommate.”

The first affair partner I ever had, it wasn’t intentional. I was not searching to have an affair. That was not my intention at all. It just kind of happened, spontaneously. He was living in another country at the time, we had never met face to face. It was just like, a cyber friendship that turned into something that was a lot more. We eventually made plans to meet each other after eight months.

I still keep in contact with him. I still text him almost every day. My husband remains a good friend, but it’s essentially like living with a roommate. It’s not really a marriage anymore. So, that’s really what I’m seeking with other affair partners. Just a physical relationship.

I’ve considered getting a divorce. It’s just a long process. My home life isn’t bad. It’s not like a combative or argumentative relationship with my husband. It’s just not intimate anymore. — Anna*, 36, Illinois

2. “My husband was in deep denial for years.”

I never intended to cheat on my husband. But things happen. We are parents to three, one who has autism and ADHD. My husband was in deep denial for two years and became emotionally abusive. I didn’t feel guilty at all about having the affair because it saved me.

It ended when my affair partner committed suicide. I was completely shattered. My husband found out by going through my phone not long after things began in 2013. He didn’t know everything until after Jacob’s death and I was in therapy. My therapist recommended that I tell him everything to help both of us move on. It was a hard discussion.

I was a week from filing for a divorce when Jacob died. He wasn’t a reason for the divorce. I had plenty of other reasons. But I stopped the proceedings, went into therapy, and decided to stay in the marriage and give it a chance. Three years later, things are okay. My husband trusts me again. We worked through a lot. — Wanda,* 50, Kentucky.

3. “He became so controlling.”

When we got married, he became very controlling and jealous. I put up with it. I wasn’t fooling around — he just didn’t want me to talk to any men or even go out to lunch with girlfriends.

And then I fell in love with a guy I was working with, about eight years into the marriage. Our marriage was really falling apart. The affair made me feel more loved and more confident. I didn’t feel good about it at the time, but in retrospect, I don’t have any regrets.

I never dated the man I had the affair with after the marriage ended. My ex-husband asked me after the divorce if I had an affair, but I didn’t tell him who with. I’m single now and I’m fine with that. I’m happy to be out of the marriage. I don’t think I would have done anything differently. Maybe I would have ended my marriage sooner. But I was concerned about my children.— Tegan,* 48, Nevada

4. “My husband was pulling away and dumping all of his problems on me.”

I was just looking in the mirror and realizing I was getting older and older every day. I had settled into a routine. My husband at the time was having some difficulties with work, and mental illness. He was pulling away and dumping all the problems on me. It got to the point where I felt I could handle everything: the bills, the investment accounts. I could handle all that. I’m well-educated and I have a college degree.

He didn’t want to get help. I just looked at him one day and thought, He doesn’t get to have my entire life. I thought there had to be someone out there who could have a conversation with me, who found me attractive, who was missing what I was. I started going on dates.

My husband and I got a divorce. We could not solve our problems. I talked to him, before, about an open marriage. But he wasn’t okay with that so we got a divorce. I’m fine with what happened. I don’t have any regrets — at least not about that part.— Tami, 61, California

5. “My husband got sick and became a different person.”

My husband has Alzheimer’s. He became a totally different person. The person I lived with was not the person I got married to. I became severely depressed. There was no one but me to do anything and everything.

I decided there had to be some outlet for me. I don’t really even know why or when I decided, but I did at some point. I went on Ashley Madison. I started just going on simple dates; it was fun. But then I met someone. We’ve been in a relationship for over a year now. I’m not dating anyone else but him now. It’s helped me a lot.

Now, I’m able to take care of my husband in a much better frame of mind. He’s no longer living with me, because it came to the point where I couldn’t do that, but he’s in town and I visit him all the time, check in on him, and do things with him.

He has no memory at all. I tell him something and five minutes later he’s not going to remember it. So I’m happier now. I grieved the loss of my marriage. The loss of my husband. The loss of the life that I had. The life that I thought I was going to have as I got older. I just got to the point where I knew it was gone, it wasn’t coming back, and he wasn’t going to get better. It took me quite a while to accept that. — Jean,* 58, Kentucky

 

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