Dear Betch: How Do I Get Over A Breakup While In Quarantine?

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Dear Betch, 

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!

Jordana

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.

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