Breaking Up In Quarantine
Breakups can be horribly painful even in the best circumstances. Breaking up during quarantine can cause even more emotional havoc, heretofore unseen in our lifetime. Splitting up has never been more complicated or just plain weird.
The rules of breakups have changed. There are all these memes saying “no matter how scared or lonely you are, don’t text your ex.” Well, that sounds good in theory, but in the middle of an adrenaline-pumping global crisis, it is easier said than done.
My boyfriend and I broke up just as the pandemic was about to hit. Huge note to self: don’t ever break up with someone right before a pandemic. The loving touch and emotional support that I so needed during the unfolding crisis was gone. We both tried our best to be supportive. But we knew that too much “reach out” with loving emojis and intimate messages would stall the progress of our dissolution and just prolong the pain.
As hard as it was to not reach out to him for emotional support, I am so grateful to myself for maintaining that boundary. Reaching for support from friends and family seemed like a distant second, but I did it. And it helped.
One thing I learned: the heart can heal. Even in a pandemic. It just takes time.
What you do with that time matters more in the ‘Rona times. Here are some tips that might help you navigate a breakup during quarantine.
Use the extra time to grieve
Luckily, despite the major drawbacks of Covid-19, we all have more time. Now more than ever people have extra time on their hands that they used to spend going places. You might be tempted to ignore your pain or any relationship issues the breakup has raised and opt for playing Animal Crossing 24/7. However, skipping the stages of grief will only hurt you in the long run.
The first order of business is to give yourself time to feel. And I mean feel allllllll of it. The pain, the sadness, the depression, the anger, the blame, the fear of being alone. Feel all of it. Don’t stuff it down. You are going to need time to grieve the loss of the relationship. The loss isn’t just the relationship itself but also:
- Who you were inside the relationship
- The promise (or dream) of what you thought the relationship was going to be
Take the time to go through the stages of grief for the loss of these things.
Consider a “closing ceremony”
I recently heard relationship expert Mark Groves talk about this on a podcast and it made a lot of sense. You can put together a ceremony together, if your ex is willing, or on your own if things aren’t as amicable. This is a great way to get closure and leave the relationship with love so that you can set up your next relationship in a better space.
After you have grieved, you can start to take a look at your relationship and what you learned and how you grew. I took time to notice and take responsibility for some of my habits of anxious attachment. This self-reflection made me feel armed to approach my next relationship in an even better way.
Lots of exes are texting their former partners now. They are bored and scrolling and/or need some attention. Don’t get caught in this trap. Feel free to set a boundary even though we are in a pandemic. Ghosting isn’t the way to go. Tell them straight up that you need space.
Did quarantine interrupt your break up? If you started the break up process and live together, the stay at home orders could have likely placed you in the odd position of living and sleeping with your ex. How do you even move on and/or start dating again if you live together? Rules and boundaries.
For example, maybe one ex doesn’t want to hear or see evidence of the other’s dating activity. Luckily, a lot of the country still has social distancing mandates so there is less risk of an awkward hookup. But that also means you can’t start in person dating or having sex with someone new for a while. The old saying that “to get over someone you need to get under someone else” just isn’t as applicable now.
But it is important once you have grieved your relationship to feel like you can start talking to potential new partners online or on apps. Have that talk with your ex about physical boundaries and dating boundaries.
Self-care on steroids
Self-care is paramount now more than any other time. For recently split partners, you are experiencing a double whammy – Coronavirus and breaking up. Do things to self soothe and take care of your health, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Double down on the self-love right now. If you don’t know how to love yourself, now is the time to learn. Louise Hay has good tips on learning to love yourself. If you can’t repeat “I love myself” over and over again each day, then try something smaller to start like “I am willing to learn to love myself.” Mark Groves describes how to love yourself this way:
Self-love is formed through the habits and rituals which fill our daily lives. It could be the choice to go to the gym instead of the club. It’s cultivated by creating a life that sends the message to ourselves that we matter and are loved and respected by ourselves, first. It’s declaring our values, and then having the courage to live them.
I also highly recommend following Isabella Frappier on Instagram (@bellatookaphoto) and check out her latest online course, “Soothe” for ways you can help your nervous system during this stressful time.
Sex yourself up!
May is Masturbation Month. Social distancing is the best time to start to get to know your own sexual self and what gets you off, since you likely can’t have sex with a new partner during quarantine.
If you feel like you are not in the mood to masturbate, at least start some self-loving touch so that you can connect with your body. Orgasms help our immune system. With Covid-19, it is more important than ever to get stress relief and an immune boost. So, consider doing it for your health! Grab a new toy or vibrator and explore!
When you are ready, get out there (cyber-ly) and date! Start flirting with someone online or on a dating app. Dip your toes back into the dating pool and practice your sexting game.
Don’t worry. The pain, loneliness, and sadness at the loss of your ex can be more temporary than the virus. You can get through this. On the other side of the pain and emotional turmoil is a new love waiting for you!
Emily Anne is a bestselling author, sex coach and educator, who specializes in helping people expand their sexual horizons through BDSM and kink. When she’s not obsessively talking about sex, she’s hiking through the Hollywood Hills. Get some sexy education on her Instagram feed!