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My long distance interest has bed bugs. Is it worth it to visit him?

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  1. Indeed

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 0:54:37
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    There's this guy I met through a mutual friend of ours. Since he lived in a different state when I found out about him, we've never met in person. We've talked for hours and hours on end, and eventually, became very interested in each other. However, he recently moved to my state (although still hours away) for work, and his dormitory-style employee housing has a BIG problem with bed bugs.

    After I found out about this, I told him that it would be best if I don't visit him until the problem has been eradicated. He did not take this well. I then mentioned that if I did visit, I'd pretty much have to treat him like a leper. He didn't like this either, but eventually accepted that it has to happen if I do visit him.

    The thing that worries me the most is how everyone in his building sees bed bug control as a lost cause. They just deal with it and don't complain because of how severe the infestation is. My interest, as a result, doesn't see it as a big deal. I pretty much had to convince him to at least TALK to someone about the infestation. Those living conditions are deplorable and should not be tolerated by the tenants.

    He found out that he could probably have a heat treatment done, but when he mentioned it to his roommate (they share a single room), he thought it was unnecessary. My interest told me he would try to convince his roommate that it could be worthwhile.

    If I do end up visiting him, this will be my protocol:

    -I will bring fresh clothing for him to wear. I'll make him strip down and change within the first moments of seeing each other. His old clothes will go straight into a ziplock bag, and then to the dryer.

    -We're staying in a hotel. I will have him pack dryer-fresh clothes in a ziplock bag. He cannot bring any luggage. All of his stuff will go in a plastic bin in my trunk. His shoes will be in a ziplock bag in my car as well.

    -I won't bring any luggage with me, either- just a machine washable bag that will also be kept in a plastic bin in my car.

    I really, really like this guy, although things between us have been strained recently. Would it be worth it to visit him if I follow this protocol (I've read the travel FAQ too)? This seems like it would kill the intimacy, and I HATE the idea of treating him like a leper, but at the same time, I don't want to deal with bed bugs. They are nothing short of a nightmare. Really, the thing I'm worried the most about is infesting my car, and how my interest isn't taking this as seriously as he should.

    Would you take this risk?

  2. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 1:12:18
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    "if I did visit, I'd pretty much have to treat him like a leper"

    where is your dignity as a human being?

    many people have bed bugs, it does not make them lepers, if you care about this person just go see them no matter what, then after your done take a shower and treat all your stuff in the dryer, that's all there is to it, it's not like you are visiting a radio active site

    other people on this forum feel otherwise about things like that

    but I honestly think your behavior is extremely selfish and to be blunt somewhat repulsive

    think of how you'd feel if the situation were reversed

    Andrea
    not a PCO
    Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy/Volunteer
  3. Indeed

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 1:25:03
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    I don't think you read my whole post, but I'll respond to you anyway.

    Honestly, if the situation were reversed, I would probably prevent people from visiting me until I could get the situation at least somewhat under control. I would be very diligent about visiting other people as well. If anything, it's selfish to have the problem and not take it too seriously since bed bugs spread very easily.

  4. Alicew234

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 8:00:48
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    You could pick up a bedbug on the bus/train/plane you take to visit him. You could pick up a bedbug by sitting in the movie theatre seat or in the comfy chair at Starbucks in your specially cleaned clothes. You could do all these preventive measures and still get a bedbug.

    That being said, I don't think I would visit him if bedbugs freaked me out so much. If you ever get bedbugs, you'll think it's his fault. That's not a good way to develop a friendship IMO.

  5. BBNewbie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 8:10:32
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    I'm with you Indeed. But what troubles me is that your "interest" has no concern of his own. If it were me and the situation was reversed (and I had the little buggers), I would be the one on this site asking for advice on how not to give them to YOU when YOU visited. His lack of concern and ignorance of the severity of the situation would be a really big RED FLAG to me.

    And everyone please read this part!!! It's not because I think less of someone who get these bugs. It is because of the lack of concern that Mr. "Interest" has that he may spread them. No they won't kill you, BUT......they could potentially cost you thousands of dollars to get rid of them if you do bring them home.
    Not to mention that if your visit goes really really well, I'm sure it will become a more frequent event and you will be dealing with this issue alot.

    And think about this. Would you go to a hotel knowing it had an active BB infestation? And if things click, do you think he is going to want to go through the BB evasion rituals every time you two meet up?

    In my opinion (and probably my vicarious paranoia about getting them) it is a no win situation until he becomes concerned enough to really want to protect you from the problem instead of you trying to lead him (like a blind horse) to the realization and severity of the problem.

    Just my 2 cents.

    S

  6. Suzanne

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 10:09:50
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    No. Just no.

    I am a week into this mess and I can barely bring myself to leave the house for fear of transporting, and we are on serious "quarantine" here - no visitors, everything we wear out of the house comes right out of the sealed bag of clean/dry-heated clothes, we get dressed in the kitchen right before we leave the house. If you sit on the couch, the entire outfit you are wearing goes in the wash before you head to another part of the house. This is serious and knowing what I know now, I wouldn't put myself in that situation for 10 million dollars. Not even for true love.

    In one week I have spent over $2000 between bags, the exterminator, encasements and other materials to prep.

    IMHO Just no.

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 10:59:43
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    Slightly OT but maybe I should relaunch Bed Bug Aware as a dating site?

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

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    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  8. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 17:25:10
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    perhaps I was a little harsh in my original response to this post

    I cannot stand the stigma associated with bed bugs, the freaked out element about bed bugs depends greatly on individuals

    Some people throw a lot of stuff out for nothing and adopt irrational behaviors, locking yourself in the house is extremely unhealthy, you have to keep on living as normal

    I'm not advocating irresponsibility here, one should take all the precautions possible if he/she has a confirmed infestation

    Perhaps a workable compromise would be to educate the person who has them without judging them, avoid treating them like lepers and if you are going to adopt that behavior, perhaps wait until they are done with their infestation

    I probably would have reacted like the others here at the start of my infestation, or one month or two into it

    Bed Bugs are truly one of the hardest things to deal with in ones life, no doubt.

    But the reason why it is so hard is not because of the bed bugs, it's in the way we choose to deal with it.

  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 17:47:50
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    Hi Indeed,

    If your friend feels like a leper and you feel like a control freak, the meeting is unlikely to go well. And in the long run, we hope it goes well, right? The good news is, you can be safe and your friend can keep his dignity.

    We have FAQs on how to avoid bringing bed bugs to someone when you visit them (in our Travel FAQs). I think you should ask the guy to read them and follow the instructions himself. It involves bringing clothing that's been washed and dried on hot in a sealable XL ziploc and changing right before you go, not bringing other stuff from the infested location unless treated with heat, for example.

    This actually isn't too difficult for anyone to follow, and the plus side is you both get to wear clothing and take responsibility for yourselves.

    I suspect it is less likely to make your friend feel like a leper. I assume he would cooperate even if he doesn't mind living with bed bugs. And you will probably feel better not having to control the situation as much, which isn't a good start to a relationship.

    Your job is to ask him to follow the steps and if he agrees, to trust him and enjoy your visit as if things are normal. (You might want to follow steps in another Travel FAQ which explain how to inspect a hotel room for bed bugs.)

    Finally, when coming home, treat your own stuff as if you were exposed -- yes, there's a Travel FAQ covering that too. (The protocol mainly involves treating everything by washing and then drying on hot (drying on hot is the key step) and you can pack a washable bag or XL ziploc. Items which can't be washed/dried, see our FAQ on getting bed bugs out of your stuff.

    If you do this, you likely won't bring bed bugs home. And yet you won't have had to both alter your behavior in a major way, everyone keeps their dignity, etc.

    Note that if you ONLY did the last step -- treating your stuff when going home-- you would protect yourself from bed bugs at home, which is the real issue. Your friend isn't likely to bring a lot of bed bugs to the hotel even if he does nothing before the visit. A room inspection may do more to ensure you're both comfortable there. If you want to avoid too much drama, this is another option. But I suspect your friend will want to protect you from a costly bed bug problem at home if he knows about how easy it can be to do that.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  10. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 18:35:03
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    I do the last step at home, including putting luggage, shoes, etc. in a packtite when I get home from travels. I do also keep my things in ziploc bags in hotel rooms and check the room, but I'm relying on my at home procedure mainly.

    I'm a control freak too...not the best at relationships so no advice there...

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  11. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 20:32:27
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    great post Nobugs

    yeah, that last step is probably one that people should follow even when they don't visit someone who has them, I was on a full public transport bus today, really packed, and I wondered how many people had bedbugs.....

    Like Alice said earlier, indeed you can pick up those pesky devils almost everywhere, the key is to not go crazy about it but to deal with it

    The person that invents a product they destroy all of them should win a Nobel prize or something, it causes so much external problems for people, isolation, relationship issues, financial, psychological (and psychiatric), exhaustion.

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 23:27:42
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    theyareoutthere - 4 hours ago  » 
    I do the last step at home, including putting luggage, shoes, etc. in a packtite when I get home from travels. I do also keep my things in ziploc bags in hotel rooms and check the room, but I'm relying on my at home procedure mainly.
    I'm a control freak too...

    Everything you said goes for me too, TAOT!

    I am also a hopeless romantic, so I would definitely meet the guy and try to not alienate him as much as possible.

    It's not his fault he lives in crappy housing and they may be a great match.

  13. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 10 2013 23:31:12
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    Thanks, endless! Yes, people should be aware they can be anywhere and at the same time learn to take reasonable steps and not freak out. Sometimes it takes a little work to get the balance right.


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