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Woman With Autoimmune Disease Asks What She Should Do About Boyfriend Who Refuses To Get Flu Shot

A 24-year-old woman posted to Reddit’s forum r/relationships, which is where people go when they can’t figure out an aspect of their relationship and are looking for advice. In this case, she got a lot more of a wake-up call than she expected. The OP, who uses the handle curiouslyweakmints, titled her post, “My (24f) boyfriend (24f) refuses to get the flu shot even though I have an autoimmune disease.”

She said she’d just been diagnosed, and it’s been a difficult road leading to an unexpected conflict with her partner:

I have been and out of the hospital for the past few months and my partner (24m) of three years has not been dealing with my situation in a particularly supportive way. I have been basically just suffering through treatment without his support in terms of him not wanting to talk about anything about the specifics of what I’m going through. I get it, it’s a lot of stress and many people struggle with how to talk about the type of treatment I am up against (spinal injections and a combination of medications to put off eventually going on low dose chemo).

However there is on thing that I really need him to do, which is to get a flu shot. I have explained to him on so many occasions how much I need him to get a flu shot because of my very high risk of having serious life threatening complications if i were to get the flu.I just feel like it’s a small gesture of support he could make. How can I convince him to get the flu shot? I’m worried about having a  long term intimate relationship with someone who isn’t vaccinated.

Of course she is. And so was everyone else who responded.

Many people responded to the OP to say the issue isn’t that she needs to convince her boyfriend to get a flu shot. The issue is that she has a boyfriend who would even argue with her about it. One user named MorticiasSister wrote a whole comment from the perspective of a friend of the OP, even though they seem to be a stranger. They reframed the whole story in a  different light:

Dear Reddit, This cool, kind, person, curiouslyweakmints, is really nice, but I need some advice. She has a chronic autoimmune disease and while she’s been such a trooper these past few months, I’m so proud of her, one thing that has me SO worried is this blind spot she has about her boyfriend.

You guys, curiouslyweakmints is so smart and so strong. She has been a total rock star about her health. I know I could not do what she has been through these past few months, just to stay alive and healthy. And yet, she stays with this guy who will not even get a $5 flu shot just to keep his girlfriend ALIVE! The guy who says he LOVES her, won’t deal with a pinprick of pain for one second.

The man who is supposed to have her back. The “man” who is supposed to care about her.

I can’t change that jerk. But how can I get my friend CWM to see that she needs to prioritize her health? How can I make her understand she can’t change other people, she can only make HERSELF a priority? She can’t make her boyfriend get a flu shot, but she CAN stop hanging around jerks who don’t get flu shots?

The original post has been deleted, maybe because the OP was overwhelmed by the comments.

But her response to this reframing of her story is still up, and in it, she seems to be reflecting on how she ended up with a guy who can’t do a simple thing to protect her health during a very difficult time:

The comment section of this post is really hard for me to read, but thank you for this. I’m not really sure what to say here, I thought I would get some like stories or experiences about people encouraging others to get vaccinated but this is all not really what I expected.

I am dealing with a lot right now, and I don’t think I have had the emotional capacity to deal with any of my interpersonal issues because I’ve just been…. grappling with mortality I suppose. I guess I just have this looming sense of a lack of time, so when things are good (aka when I’m not in the hospital) I just try to ignore everything else and just focus on breathing.

On feeling sunshine on my face. On the beauty of waking up without any beeping monitors. On being able to walk, or better yet being able to run or ride a bike sometimes. On holding hands and just laughing or drinking a glass of wine and eating food without becoming sick. It feels like fights are a waste of moments of my life. That’s the context of how I ended up letting this situation get to where it is.

We might never know if the OP dumped this guy or not, but hopefully, she knows now that lots of people she’s never even met are certain she’s worth the trouble of a flu shot, and a whole lot more. We’re rooting for you!