We’re in the midst of a pandemic, and I think everyone’s in agreement that it’s hard. Spending so much time in our own homes has a whole slew of side effects, but it’s no secret that it’s been hitting relationships extra heavy. At the beginning of all this, I joked that as a result of all the stay home protocols, there would either be a ton of engagements or a ton of breakups – but I didn’t realize how real this would be until many months in.
Yes, being stuck at home means a lot of together time with your significant other and this is a reality check for many couples in and of itself, but it goes beyond that. Less social interaction means more time in our heads, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s started to reevaluate pretty much everything … ugh.
While this can be totally overwhelming at first, when it comes to relationships it’s not necessarily a bad thing to check in with yourself and make sure your partnership is giving you what you need. Unfortunately, when you realize this isn’t the case, the inevitable time comes where you both have to deal with it: cue the breakup (and the heavy sigh).
Breakups suck, but breakups during a pandemic? Double yikes. If this is you, you’re not alone: here’s a collection of advice from people in the same boat as you.
Post Breakup: Here’s How to Deal
Pro-tip #1: Cathartic Crying is Your Friend, but You’re Not Weird if You’re Not Crying
There are two types of people in this world: criers and non-criers. If you’re the former, don’t hold it in. Crying can be so cathartic, so if you want to cry for weeks into multiple pints of Ben & Jerry’s, or blare sad music for hours on end, just do it – no one’s around to judge you anyway (except maybe give your roommate a heads up).
If you’re the latter, that’s okay too! Everyone emotes in different ways, you just gotta find what works for you. Maybe you’re the ‘drive-around-listening-to-crazy-loud-angry-music’ type instead – also cathartic, if it works, it works. Don’t question the process.
Pro-tip #2: Journal Your Heart Out
A big part of being able to move on from a breakup is giving yourself time and space to process your thoughts and emotions. Yes, cry or smash things if you need to – but also consider journaling. We’ve all been spending a lot more time by ourselves, and taking time to log off social media and write down some of the things going on in your head is super important.
Sometimes it feels impossible to put your feelings into words when you’re going through a lot, and journaling can help with this! If a blank page feels too daunting, try a guided journal or some journal prompts that will help you start to untangle all the confusion.
Pro-tip #3: Talking To Yourself is Okay, Talking to Your Friends is Okay – Just Talk!
As a total ‘keep-your-emotions-inside’ type of gal I am so guilty of this one and I’m sure I’m not alone. Breakups can be really traumatic, and you’re going to have feelings no matter what, whether that’s anger, sadness, or a combination of all kinds of things. Even if you’re writing things down, it also helps a lot to say things out loud, whether that’s to yourself or a loved one. Phone calls and Facetime chats are on the rise during this time, so make use of them! Call a friend and just ramble, it can bring so much more relief than you think.
Even if you’re not ready to talk to anyone yet, admitting how you feel out loud can be weirdly weight-lifting. Whatever you do, just don’t bottle things up, learn from the many times I’ve done this and regretted it. Owning your feelings is the first step to moving on.
Now You’re Single: Here’s How to Thrive
Date Yourself for a While (Don’t Skip This Step)
Trust me, I know it sounds cliché, but in the words of Ru Paul…
Can I get an amen up in here? You might be feeling super overwhelmed not being able to go out and be single the way you normally would … so why not embrace spending time with yourself instead? Being stuck at home means there’s really nowhere to hide from your emotions, and while that might sound terrifying it’s actually a blessing in disguise. Emotions that can sometimes take years to process can be worked through a whole lot quicker, and you’ll come out the other side with a newfound love and respect for yourself.
Use this time to get to know yourself better than you ever have. Relationships often fail because we aren’t sure what we want, so take the time to figure it out! Your next relationship will thank you for it.
Ready to Date? Proceed with Caution
If you’re feeling ready to get back out there again, welcome to the crazy world of dating during a pandemic. Restrictions are going to differ depending on where you are in the world – but the first step is making sure you’re keeping yourself and others’ safe! While at times this can feel like a burden, there are actually a ton of positives to dating right now. Video dating from the comfort of your own home can ease the pressure of meeting someone for the first time in person. If video dating isn’t your thing, having a socially distanced date in the park can also be super low pressure due to the expectation of physical contact being way low.
It’s a strange new normal, but its time to embrace it! Now is the time to focus on emotional connection and personality chemistry rather than physical touch, and this might work out for the best! However, even if it doesn’t, ending an awkward date just got a whole lot easier. You got this!
Not Ready to Date? Awesome, Live That Single Life!
Honestly, life is super weird right now, and having the freedom to do what you want to do (COVID safe, of course), whenever you need to do it is definitely not the worst thing in the world. Yes, things can feel lonely sometimes, but during a time when emotions are extra heightened, it can often feel like a breath of fresh air to focus your energy on yourself and yourself alone!
Living your best single life might look different right now, but you can totally thrive in a whole new way. Work on yourself, be spontaneous, be selfish if you need to – just do you. Lean into the uniqueness of being single right now and realize that making decisions for only yourself can be pretty dang cool.
The bottom line of all this advice? However you need to deal is okay. If you feel like you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, that’s okay. If you feel like you’re just making things up as you go along, that’s okay too. Whether you’re actively looking or happily solo, just be safe and do what makes you happy… because guess what? You’re awesome no matter what.