What to Do If Your Partner Thinks Prepared = Paranoid

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

On a beautiful day such as the one pictured above, it’s hard to even imagine a natural or even a man-made disaster disrupting things.  If you even mention something about being prepared, your relatives or friends will say “you are just being paranoid.”  I have heard this so often among people who want to prepare; even one of our readers has brought it up in a comment.

Should you forget about being prepared because your partner and your family do not support you?  No!  I think there are a ways to get around this issue.

Understand the other point of view

We have to accept that the majority of the population is not concerned about preparedness.  Even when faced with facts and news about what happened to other people who had been in disasters, they refuse to do anything to prepare.  There are a lot of reasons for this:

  • Ignorance:  Many people are not aware of the threats to infrastructure, and what would happen if trucks stop delivering goods.
  • Fear:  Afraid to admit a lot of things can go wrong.  People do not want to feel threatened and may get turned off the idea
  • Consumerism:  Would rather spend money on shopping for clothes, gadgets, expensive vacations
  • Someone will save us:  Belief that someone (government, family) will be always around to help
  • Normalcy bias:  Belief that things will always be as they were before; refusal to admit something could go wrong even in the face of facts.

Once you understand the reasoning for their resistance, you can start working on your approach.

What NOT to do

Do not try to get preachy or argumentative.  If they are already resistant to the idea, getting into an argument isn’t going to change their mind.

If you get confrontational about it, the person may just “dig their heels” even more or become hostile about the idea.

Start slow

If you sense that your family has objections, you will need to start slowly, with baby steps to get them used to the idea.  Introduce the idea during appropriate times, such as while watching a zombie movie, TV show or hearing about a disaster in another state (that could happen in your location).

Approach the idea in a way that is not threatening but as a conversation piece “What would we do if that were to happen?”  The type of responses you get will determine your next move.

Regional disasters

The easiest things to prepare for are regional perils that your family may face.  It is easier to justify your efforts because of probable threats.

If it’s hurricane season and you are in a hurricane area, you have a good reason to gather supplies and set it aside “just in case.”  Then you can slowly build your stockpile.


If your wife or husband loves to shop for the latest and greatest, but you’d rather spend money on emergency supplies, come to an agreement on spending.  Some couples agree on a certain amount of “fun money” per pay period that each one is free to spend without judging from the other.  He or she may want to spend “fun money” at the mall, but you spend yours on supplies.

Other non-threatening approaches

  • Convenience:  If you have supplies, you do not have to be constantly running to the store to restock.  Every new parent knows panic when their baby runs out of formula late at night and they have not gone to the store.  That is something to avoid.  Even running out of everyday items such as sugar or toilet paper is a big pain if you have to drop everything and go to the grocery store for one item because you left it out of your list one day.
  • What matters most   Everyone has things that he or she feels strongly about – , things they would not want to run out or lose access.  The wife or husband who feels you are just being paranoid won’t be so critical if you show you are “doing it for the kids.”  No one would want their kids to suffer in the event of an emergency.  Teens may be concerned about losing power on their smart phones – get them a solar charger.  If your teen daughter is concerned about never running out of tampons, then by all means, stock up on those items.
  • Cost-Cutting:  You can start your stockpile without raising a lot of eyebrows by using frugal techniques that help your household save money.  Start using coupons and taking advantage of “buy one get one free” offers.  When questioned about buying multiples of one item such as canned fruit or granola bars, emphasize what a great deal you got so you stocked up.
  • Hobbies and skills:   You can learn survival and self sufficiency skills like bread making, canning or wood-working without making someone feel insecure by labeling these activities as hobbies.   I once had a long conversation with a mom at church.  She was describing all her husband’s hobbies- gardening, archery, hunting, fishing, and even metal working.  The family, who lives in a nice neighborhood, even has a mini foundry in their garage where her husband crafts swords!  These sound like great survival skills to me, but no one had a problem with it in the neighborhood.  These activities are all considered “hobbies.”

If you feel strongly about becoming prepared and getting some degree of security for your family, it is important that you get started.  Don’t alienate your significant other in the process; instead, frame your activities in a common sense, practical light.

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  1. Fortunately, I don’t have that problem with my Significant Other. She likes the idea of being prepared. Another thing I hear from people all the time is this: “Oh, that can’t happen here. This is America!” I just gently remind them that similar words have been spoken by people all through the ages, people who have lived in times of peace and prosperity, only to suddenly face the rude awakening of war, famine, disease, pestilence, and societal collapse. Then they just roll their eyes and say I’m paranoid. Oh well. Those who want to remain ignorant and unprepared may have a very bad reality slapping them in the face some day. Though I hope not. “Prepare for the worst, but expect the best”. It’s a good philosophy to live by. Thanks for the great blog!

    1. Hi Joe H, Glad your S/O is on board with being prepared. So many people are not, and I fear they are in for a rough patch, even a personal emergency can be disastrous. Thanks for the kind comment.

  2. My wife was not on bored when I started. For two years she was still not on bored. When we moved to Mississippi, we were low on cash, we ate some of my preps. It was a life saver, she got on bored! Slowly she has allowed me to go above and beyond adding bigger stuff, making bug out bags, and the list goes on.

    1. Hi Crazy Stevo, That’s great that your preps proved to be a lifesaver! Showing a need for them is a great way to get the non-supportive partner on your side.

  3. Thankfully, the wife is mostly on board, she’s not as into it as I am but she lets me prep without interference. I use the hurricane excuse all of the time, mostly among my coworkers as many of them see preppers as crazy, I point out that a Katrina like event could happen here easily and how much easier it might be if we had water filters and such.

    1. Hi Pierce, Glad your wife is on board – it would be so much harder if she weren’t. The local natural disaster threat is always a great and easily acceptable reason to prep, even with the co-workers.

  4. I don’t even try to tell anyone to prep. My friends all will sit and wait for the government to “save” them or that God will “save” them. Did they see what happened with Katrina. I can only prep for my family, when it is life or death, I will always chose my family.
    I prepped in secret for a long time. My husband now knows and he supports me, but doesn’t really prep himself. But he will buy me two way radios for Christmas and redesign a closet for my supplies.
    If someone notices anything about my prepping such as my bob in my car….I just say it is in case we are stopped on the interstates because of a wreck…might need water or some handy wipes. When I am learning a new skill, I explain it away by saying I am learning to start a fire because I have grandsons and they like to learn camping skills with me.
    And we live on the gulf coast, so having a “hurricane” closet is normal here.
    So, I mostly just hide my preps in plain sight.

    1. Hi olivia, Hiding preps in plain sight is great. You save space and no one is the wiser. Living in the gulf coast is a great reason to prep-hurricane Ike is what caused me to get started. Glad your husband is now supportive.

  5. Wife not on board no matter what I do or say. My young daughter is coming around but still not quite there. I have tried to edjucate them by using disasters like katrina and sandy, but so far they just dont get it. Been putting up prep on the sly just to have on hand, but finances have recently have become an issue so I’ve got to get her on board. Any suggestions would be appreciated. THKS

    1. Hi Dave, Sorry your wife is not on board. If she has a hobby (or likes shopping at the mall every weekend) then you’ll need to make a case for prepping as your own hobby. I am sure there would be something she would not want to run out of, she may be interested in stocking up on that. If all else fails, then prepping on the side would be your only choice, but you’d also need a source or funds-perhaps starting a side gig (like selling your old books, DVDs, electronics etc on Amazon or Ebay) would help with the funds. Good luck to you, thanks for the comment.

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