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A COVID case overseas causes trouble at home – Chicago Tribune



Dear Amy: My spouse and I recently went to Egypt and Greece. Three days before we were to return home, we conducted COVID-19 self-tests, because he had some sniffles.

He tested positive. I did not. We were faced with a choice, either I rebook quickly and return home the next day (in case I should also become positive in the following day or so), or I stay and risk getting infected.

Outside of the sniffles, he had no symptoms.


We also have a dog who had already been boarded for 15 days and if we both had to stay in Greece it would have likely added five to 10 days to him being stuck in a kennel.

We decided that I should return home, which I did.

He only stayed a few more days, and returned home as soon as he tested negative.

Now, I am getting grief: “You deserted me in Greece!”


Should I have stayed?

– Accused of Desertion

Dear Accused: This question brings up an important topic that all traveling families should discuss and consider before they leave home: “What should we do if COVID hits one or more of us while we’re away?”

I hope that you and your spouse will go a little easy on yourselves; the fact that you are bringing this topic into other households through your question might help others to arrive at their own workable strategy.


Understanding that self-tests are fallible, you decided to lessen your possible exposure by leaving quickly.

You state: “We decided that I should return home.” If that is true, then your spouse agreed that you should depart the region, rather than both of you being stuck there for an indeterminate period of time.

If he gives you “grief” about this by repeating his claim, you should take him seriously and ask him, “Do you truly feel I deserted you?”

He may have been surprised by his own anxieties surfacing after you had left, and if so – you should encourage him to talk about it.


After talking earnestly about this, you should then ask him if he considers the matter settled. If not, talk some more.

If he does accept the way this challenging situation was handled by both of you – then ask him to frame this not as a “desertion,” but a “decision.”

Dear Amy: I’m engaged to a wonderful guy – he’s kind, smart, and my best friend. I truly couldn’t ask for a better partner! We’re planning to get married next spring.

My mother disapproves, and it is breaking my heart.


She says he’s a great man, but she doesn’t approve of our relationship. She always had a certain idea of what kind of man I’d end up with, and he doesn’t fit her mold. I know there’s no changing her mind.

She and I recently had a heart-to-heart talk and she asked if I was still planning on going through with marrying him. I asked her if she’d be at the wedding. She said that if I’m marrying him, she’s not sure.

Amy, I want my mom to be there more than anything. She’s the only one who raised me, and I love her.

Thankfully, her answer isn’t a direct no, but I’m so worried.


I’m trying to not focus too much on her choice right now, but I’m very worried and upset. How can I prepare myself for the worst?

– Dejected Daughter

Dear Dejected: Now that you and your mother have discussed this, and she has made her views clear, you should not bring it up again.

You and your guy should continue with your plans and trust her to make up her mind in her own way and time.


Respect her, love her, and listen to her. But unless she raises legitimate issues regarding your marriage, don’t let her control you. The more you worry about her choice, the tighter her control.

“He doesn’t fit my mold” is not a legitimate reason to oppose a marriage.

She may be struggling to let you go; this is not something you can necessarily help her with.

Ask Amy



No-nonsense advice for better living delivered to your inbox every morning. For a limited time, sign up for the Ask Amy newsletter and get the book “Ask Amy: Essential Wisdom from America’s Favorite Advice Columnist” for $5.

Dear Amy: The question from “Concerned Mother” worried me. Her daughter abruptly quit her job and moved back home.

You focused on the fact that she isn’t working. It seems obvious to me that this woman is depressed!


– Concerned

Dear Concerned: Yes, it is possible that this young-adult is depressed. In my response, I wrote: “Does she need counseling? Help her to find it.”

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©2021 Amy Dickinson.

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