My fiancé is an anti-vaxxer and it’s a major blocker in our relationship.

You have to take control of what you can and decide if that’s the life you want.

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Dear Poli is a financial advice column, covering everything you need to know about insurance. And sometimes we answer other questions, too. Have a question for Poli? Submit it here

Dear Poli,

I’m engaged to my partner of five years and everything has been perfect up until now. We share our home, two dogs, and a life together. We see eye to eye on almost everything, and always talk through any arguments. But ever since the COVID vaccine became available, we’re just not the same anymore. 

I got my shots as soon as I could. My fiancé didn’t. He’s not opposed to vaccines altogether, but he wants to wait until there’s enough research about the long-term effects. And as much as I want to respect his decision, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it.

How can he make such a big decision without considering how it impacts me and the life we share? I don’t even feel comfortable with him being around me for fear of getting sick. I don’t want to end up with long-term symptoms that stop me from living my life. 

Everything else is falling apart, too. We have a wedding coming up, but I don’t feel comfortable with him being around my parents or grandparents, who are well into their 80s. Our honeymoon in Italy has already been canceled because of their vaccine and testing guidelines. And friends have stopped inviting us over because they don’t feel safe. 

Our life together is my top priority, but I’m seriously questioning his mentality knowing that he’s able to make such a monumental decision that impacts both of us. We’ve never disagreed on anything like this, and I have no clue what to do. 

-Vexed and Vaxxed

Dear Vexed and Vaxxed, 

If there’s anything we’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that there’s a lot in this world that is out of our control. We can’t control the hold COVID-19 has taken on our lives or how our partners feel about getting a vaccine. 

But there are some things you can control, such as how you respond to the situation. 

First, make sure you’re protected. You’re already doing that by getting vaccinated, but you should be masking too. It also means creating a contingency plan for your finances. And I know I’m totally biased, but hear me out, financial advice is my forte, while my exes may argue that relationship advice… is not. 

Everyone should have savings and emergency funds — even in an alternative universe where a pandemic isn’t taking over our entire lives. And yeah, I live and breathe life insurance, so I  recommend that you get some coverage to plan for a worst-case scenario too. Health insurance in a country like America, where people can easily go into medical debt, is a no-brainer. If your fiancé ends up in the hospital, medical bills will be in the thousands without the right policy. 

And you’re right to be worried about long-haul COVID-19 symptoms — that’s a very real possibility, vaccinated or not. Long-haul COVID is no joke, and you need to get disability insurance to support you financially if you get too sick to work. (The alternative is losing your paycheck with nothing to replace your income). Your work might offer some sort of short-term plan, but you’ll want your own private plan in case you’re out of work for more than three months. 

It’s uncomfortable to think about the worst-case scenario, but you’re failing yourself if you don’t. 

There are legitimate reasons some people can't get the shot, but you said your fiancé isn’t completely anti-vax – so he’s obviously open to getting a life-saving vaccine… just not for COVID. But this is a matter of public health — will the numbers change his mind? Hospitals are filling up and people are dying, and more than 99.994% of those hospitalizations and deaths are amongst those who aren’t fully vaccinated. You mentioned he’s worried about the side effects, but of the .0021% of vaccinated people who have died, there’s no evidence that the vaccine was necessarily the cause. 

And if the numbers don’t do the trick, you need to have a serious conversation about what the future looks like. I’m not going to tell you to break up, because that is rude, but it’s definitely time to consider if you’re okay making a huge sacrifice to accommodate his decision. Scaling down your wedding, skipping your honeymoon, being excluded from plans with people you care about — it sounds like that is what’s on the horizon. And more importantly, are you prepared to feel unsafe in your own home? We’re learning that vaccines aren’t totally foolproof. And your home, which is meant to be a sanctuary, will be anything but if you’re on edge about exposure.

As an outsider, it’s easy for me to suggest that you Eat Pray Love your way to Italy anyway. The food! The wine! But whether or not you go, your fiancé’s choice to not be vaccinated means that life is going to be completely different from now on. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to accept that.