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To Be Blunt: Prolonged pandemic turns boyfriend into couch potato

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
By Chelsea Cebara EVERCANNABIS Correspondent

Dear Blunt,

Ever since the pandemic got serious, my live-in boyfriend just wants to smoke and veg. It’s like he’s lost all motivation. It’s not like I would want to go out clubbing even if we could, but I’d like to do something other than watch Netflix reruns. Cooking, board games, anything! – Sativa girlfriend, Indica boyfriend

Dear Sativa,

I’m going to encourage you to engage your radical compassion muscles here. It’s tempting to read lazy-stoner boyfriend tropes into your situation, but I don’t think that’s necessarily what’s happening, at least not yet.

The unprecedented stresses of COVID-19 have got us all retreating to our safest, warmest coping mechanisms. For some, that’s checking out with cannabis and Netflix; for others it’s trying to find a sense of control through exercise. Some people (other people, not me, definitely not me) may have engaged in increased and unwise online shopping.

With the vaccine so close to liberating us from the clutches of this pandemic, a lot of folks I’ve spoken to are finding it harder to cope. It’s like seeing salvation on the horizon has somehow thrown our continued suffering into sharper relief. Even the strongest, most solid couples I know are struggling. This is just hard.

It seems like your partner’s chronic problem isn’t a ‘chronic’ problem – this is his response to prolonged stress, not something that has troubled you throughout the relationship. But I also want you to hear that your desire for more interaction with him is super reasonable, and you have the right to request adjustments to how he’s processing the pandemic. You deserve to have your needs met as well.

So until we’re free from this situation, here are some practical steps you can take. Start by looking with an eye for what needs are being met by his veg-out sessions. It sounds like what’s helpful for him right now is distraction and escape, whereas you’re looking for engagement and connection.

Can you think of any activities that incorporate both? Here are some suggestions:

• Grab a headphone jack splitter, get stoned together and listen to your favorite albums.

• Watch documentaries instead of reruns, things that will get you talking to each other instead of passively consuming media.

• Play cooperative video games together. I especially love retro-style stuff, like Diablo 3.

• Request a foot rub while he watches TV and you read or scroll. The physical contact can help you feel connected, even while you’re doing different activities.

Please be gentle with each other as we pull out of this cultural tailspin. All of this is temporary. However, the toolkit you develop now will come in handy for other types of chronic stress which, unfortunately, are guaranteed to crop up.

If he’s still checking out every night in spite of increased vaccinations and loosened restrictions, then you can have a more serious talk and set some stronger boundaries. For now, I advise you to Netflix and actually chill.

Dear Blunt,

Can you tell if somebody is going to be a good match based on their favorite cannabis strains? – Seeking My Blue Dream

Dear Dream,

Nope. I’m fond of saying “strains are imaginary” – not because cultivars and chemovars aren’t real, but because the current state of the market makes strain names a completely unreliable way to choose cannabis. Add to that the immense variation in the endocannabinoid system person-to-person and you’ve got a recipe for a whole lot of marketing and very little consistency or reliability.

You know what is a good indicator of whether you will vibe with someone? A joint and a conversation. Ask them why they like the stuff they like. That will tell you more than sneaking a peek at their stash cabinet. Unless of course they utter the phrase “weed is weed,” in which case you should put down the joint, run out the door, and never call or text them again.

Chelsea Cebara is a medically-certified cannabis consultant and product developer. She teaches and speaks nationally on the intersection of cannabis with sexuality, relationships, and culture.
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