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I very recently went through a breakup with my boyfriend of ~3 years. We are both 27, living in NYC.
We live very close to each other in the city; however, after a few weeks of city quarantining (and seeing each other often), we each left the city to quarantine with family in separate states. During this time, it seemed there was a shift in our relationship: less communication, less FaceTime, less attempts to see each other (on both our ends). Eventually this led to us deciding to go our separate ways, as it seemed we couldn’t give each other what the other needed out of the relationship (wasn’t the first time we discussed not meeting the other’s needs). Nothing specifically happened, but I honestly felt like we just weren’t the match for each other—and I had these thoughts before the pandemic but wasn’t really forced to face them until our time apart.
My question is, how do we get over breakups during this time? There aren’t as many usual distractions to help, and I worry even more so about having to relive/grieve the breakup once life is back to normal, and I’m forced to face the reality of my life without him in it. Even if I do think our breakup was for the best long-term, it doesn’t stop it from being hard to go through, deal with, and worry about.
Any and all advice would be welcomed!
A socially distant single
Dear Socially Distant Single,
Socially distancing is tough enough without the added distress of going through a breakup, so I’ll start by saying I’m really sorry you’re going through this. I’ve been there, it sucks. Breakups are often even (ironically) tougher when things end semi-amicably and you can’t villainize the person or blame the breakup on some horrendous event (like cheating or some other dramatic event).
However, breaking up in the midst of a global pandemic has its own silver lining. In 2019 you might think you could fix your heartbreak with distractions like drunk brunch with friends and hooking up with random people, but you’d actually be wrong. When you use distractions to make you forget the pain you’re in, you avoid feeling it and never really deal with it. The shortage of activities like parties, weddings, and festivals this year will ensure you don’t bypass this important stage in the breakup grieving process: letting yourself feel sh*tty. I know we all want to avoid pain as much as possible, but like a nagging Slack from your boss, pain is something you will have to face eventually, either full-on in the beginning, or drawn out over the course of an even longer time period due to numbing it with your distraction of choice.
Take advantage of quarantine by letting yourself feel bad for a while and reflect on the highs and lows of your relationship. What did the relationship with your ex teach you about what you want to do differently next time? What did it teach you about yourself, and your likes and your dislikes? What red flags will you look out for next time? Using quarantine to let yourself feel everything will ensure that when things start to open up you can enter the world with a fresh, healed heart and be ready to go out and meet new people. You’ll be able to actually have fun at the events that are happening instead of having to beat back the lingering sadness in the back of your mind.
That’s not to say that there aren’t certain things you can do to help yourself in the meantime while you’re grieving this breakup. First off, delete him from all social media, not because he’s a bad person, but because constant updates about anyone will make it impossible to move on from them. There are probably days when you second guess your decision and the heightened feeling of socially distanced loneliness makes you want to reach out your ex. When this happens, text a designated friend about what you’d want to say to your ex, and she can remind you of all the reasons you broke up. Finally, break up your sadness by getting into something new, be it a new workout routine, podcast, really good book, or anything else that will make you feel like you’re channeling your energy into something and growing as a person. This will make you remember that the rest of your life is ahead of you and there will be a ton of amazing people you’ll get to date along the way.
Best of luck, Betch!
Need Jordana to answer your most pressing dating questions? Email us at [email protected] for a chance to have your dilemma featured on Dear Betch.
I won’t lie, shopping for men is fucking hard. That’s not to say that men don’t like stuff, because plenty of dudes have more stuff than Khloé Kardashian has butt injections. It’s just that we tend to fall into two camps: oblivious dudes who definitely need and even want stuff, but don’t realize it; and obsessive hobbyists who very vocally want and need stuff—it’s just that all of their shit is incredibly specific and expensive. Ask one what he wants for his birthday, and he’ll say something like “I dunno, shoes or something?” Ask the other, and he’ll reply with three paragraphs detailing the specifications of the $5,000 modification he wants for his gun, or whatever the fuck he’s way too into. Buying birthday gifts for men is hard, and I’m sorry.
That said, one way to make things easier is to break it down by how long you’ve been dating. That is, your boyfriend’s monetary worth to you is based on his emotional worth to you. In other words, the longer you’ve been humping, the more money you should feel free to spend on him. I’ve provided some helpful suggestions based on some arbitrary relationship durations, which I just made up, right now. Along with them I’ve added some ideas that don’t cost anything at all for all you broke-ass bobo betches out there.
iFox Bluetooth Shower Speaker
Gosh, this is awkward as fuck. What’s wrong with you, getting involved with a guy so close to his birthday? There aren’t a lot of good options here, because it’s doubtful that you’re even calling this guy your boyfriend yet. If you are, it hasn’t been for very long—certainly not long enough to justify buying him anything too expensive. This speaker is as good a choice as any, cheap, useful on its own, and still sufficiently impersonal. It’s waterproof and attaches to tile with a suction cup, so he can listen to music in the shower. That’s good, because people get naked in the shower, which will make him think of having sex with you.
Free Option: Send N00dz
Totally to your discretion here, as I don’t begrudge anyone for not wanting to photograph their naughty bits in an age where everything is permanent. But if you’re feeling a little free and/or frisky, a snap won’t hurt. The golden rule is that you can show either your face or the parts that would get you banned from Instagram, but not both.
Ridge Navy Seal Aluminum Wallet
Ah, that feels better—you’re in real, tell-your-friends-and-maybe-even-your-family-about-him relationship mode. You should now feel comfortable spending a little more money on him, which is nice because God knows he’s spent enough by now trying to woo you into the sack. A nice way of reminding him of how important to you his wallet is, I think, is to buy him an actual new wallet. These minimalist ones have gotten popular lately, because they don’t fuck up our backs when we sit on them and/or they fit in our front pockets. This one is even better, because the aluminum construction and (spurious) military ties will make him feel like a real man as he whips it out pay pay for your fourth frozé of the afternoon.
Free Option: Sex In Public
When I say sex in public, I don’t mean like, right on the sidewalk or whatever. That’s not a kink, that’s deviance. I mean somewhere like a bar bathroom, an apartment balcony, a golf course at night, etc. It’s definitely a little trashy and you could still get caught, but that’s kind of the fun of it. Just stay away from schools and daycares, and you should be fine.
Native Shoes AP Mercury Liteknit
You know the drill: more time, more money. At this point in the relationship, you’ll start noticing just how barely-together most adult men have their shit. Like, how does this dude have such a good job when he only uses the free toothbrushes from the dentist? Why hasn’t a grown man been to the doctor since high school? It’s times like these when we might need some help with the basics, and these sneakers are a good addition to the ever-dicey “casual but not, like, gym shoes casual” footwear category. Native shoes are all “beast-free” (i.e., vegan) if that matters to you, and there are lots of good colors to choose from. And since summer’s coming up, the beauty of these is that they’re ultra lightweight and breathable—important for going sockless without the dreaded swampfoot. I feel like that’s an issue men and women can unite behind.
Free Option: Anything New In The Bedroom
We all fall into our sexual routines, and for the most part that’s fine. Everyone’s happy, you know what you’re getting, etc. But variety is the spice of life, so for his birthday shake things up. No one’s asking you to cross any personal lines, here—no dry anal or inviting his whole office softball team into the sack—just a nice change of pace. Try introducing a toy to the proceedings, or go out without underwear on and make sure he knows it. Anything to remind him of why he got himself into this situation in the first place, really.
1 Year Or More
Vincero Collective Chrono S Watch
Well shit, I guess you guys like really love each other or something, huh? Birthdays get weird in long-term relationships. On the one hand, you want to give him something that at least partially reflects your love and admiration for him. On the other, you’d like to think you’re past the point of him needing anything from you to celebrate the fact that he’s lived his 31st year on this planet. Split the difference and get him a nice, handsome watch that doesn’t break the bank like this one. It’s more sentimental than a pack of underwear or whatever, but it’s not as try-hard as a fucking Rolex or other absurdly priced timepiece.
Free Option: Get Out Of Town
I don’t mean the two of you, I mean you go somewhere else for the weekend. Go visit your parents, or your sorority sisters. Doesn’t matter. If you’ve been together this long you probably spend a shitload of time together, and of course that’s nice. But what’s also nice is having a weekend to yourself to be a slob, hang out with his friends, and watch porn with the sound turned on. It’s the little things, you see.
Head Pro, because he’s so cool and not materialistic, doesn’t want much for his birthday: just for everyone to follow him on Twitter and Insta at @betchesheadpro, and to email him at [email protected]. And also, to Venmo him $50.
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So you’re in a relationship that you’re not sure about. Don’t worry, there’s a whole MTV show named after the fact that it’s fucking hard to know who your soulmate is, so we don’t expect you to have all the answers. Obviously there’s no real way to know if you’ve found the one, but there are definitely signs that he’s not the one. Chances are if you’re asking to begin with, it’s probably not a good sign. Also not a good sign? The following list of things—if you match a few of these, chances are that just because you swiped right on each other, doesn’t mean you’re a real match.
1. He’s Jealous.
He doesn’t get excited for you when you succeed. You write it off as him just being too busy to care about your shit, but he could be insecure when you’re doing well. If he isn’t thrilled for you when you get a promotion or land a job you love, he’s basically negging your career. Chances are he’s jealous you’re doing better than him, and guess what? You’re only going to get more successful and he’s going to get more upset. You should be with someone that’s happy for you, not afraid you’re going to outshine him.
2. He Distracts You From Important Shit You Should Be Doing.
You’re not a teenager going through puberty anymore, if you’re getting so caught up in the relationship you’re losing sight of your goals, he’s not bringing out the best in you. A stable relationship should bring out the best in you and not distract you from shit you actually have to do. If you’re getting distracted by the relationship, something is probably missing that makes you feel insecure, otherwise you’d be able to focus on having a well rounded life. Think about your relationship like an open bar… if you’re constantly watching the clock, you’re not having fun. It should feel like it’s never going to end, not like you’re always in the last five minutes before last call.
3. He Only Talks About Himself.
Even if he’s an Olympic medal winner or a billionaire with a start-up, if he’s only interested in you because you’re interested in him, then you’re going to have a problem. Sure, he’ll probably make a great dad, but only because his kid is like one of his Olympic medals to him, a sign of his accomplishments rather than a human he actually wants to love. If he talks disproportionately about himself without asking you how you are, he’s not actually the right guy for you. You need more attention than an escaped snake in the zoo, and if he can’t give that to you, then you’re going to get away.
4. When You’re Together You’re Either Drunk Or Partying.
Sure it might be fun to hook up when you’re drunk, but if you’re spending the majority of a relationship blacking out and stumbling home together, you’re more in love with partying than you are with each other. You party with your friends, but you’ve also been to brunch with their moms, shopped for outfits together, and comforted each other when they’re going through a breakup. The man you’re dating should have as many merits sober as he does drunk, so if you’re not hanging out sober at all, then you’re probably not as compatible as you think.
5. You Have A Hard Time Keeping Plans.
Whenever you try to make a date or go somewhere together, things always fall through. You both chalk it up to being busy and successful, but you still manage to have time to watch dumb movies like Baywatch and go to spontaneous karaoke on a Tuesday night. Maybe it’s that you’re both trying too hard to fit a relationship mold that neither of you want, but whatever it is, your beach day/museum trip/romantic dinner plans keep getting pushed. It shouldn’t be this hard to keep plans, especially with someone you’re dating, so if you’ve had to reschedule a date more than three times, it’s a sign that neither of you are prioritizing each other.
6. You Still Think About Your Ex.
We all Facebook stalk our exes from time to time, but if you’re in a happy relationship you quickly forget about ghosts of fuckboys past. If you’re wondering what your ex is up to or have looked up his Instagram story more than three times this week, you’re probably reaching out to your past because you’re bored with your present. The guy you’re dating might just not be satisfying you totally, which is why you’re thinking about your exes and how he stacks up against them. Definitely not a good sign if you’re still thinking about your ex in a new relationship.
7. He’s Embarrassing To Take Out In Public.
Maybe it was his fault for wearing the wrong shoes to the club, or maybe he got too drunk and started arguing with the bartender, but instead of sticking up for him, you’re just embarrassed to be seen with him. This is usually a sign that you’re not a good match, or you’d be fawning over his dumb quirks like they’re Brigitte Bardot’s tooth gap. Imperfections in someone you love make you love them more, but his flaws just annoy you, which means you probably don’t love him as much as you think.
READ: The 9 Fuckboys You’ll Unfortunately Have Sex With Before You Die
In this week’s podcast, our guest is actress and model Brooklyn Decker. We talk about Beyoncé’s twins, answer dating questions about if guy friends are real and whether or not you should get back with an ex. We also answer some hypotheticals about hoarding and the taboo phenomenon of peeing in a pool, then play “Party, Be BFF or Kill” with Kim K, Kendall and Kylie. Check us out hanging with Brooklyn Decker here:
Listen to the podcast below. Send your advice questions to [email protected] and we just might answer it on the next podcast.