Breakups are hard, and moving on from a relationship is even more complicated now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. We talked to a sexologist and a relationships expert to get six tips on how to cope with a breakup while also coping with a global pandemic.
Many of the ways we’d usually get our mind off heartbreak aren’t available to us during this time. Megan Stubbs, a sexologist and relationships expert, says we need to shift how we get help.
“It’s like a double dose of grief,” says Marni Feuerman.
Feuerman, a licensed psychotherapist and author, says that the stress of being in the middle of a pandemic creates a vulnerability that’s likely to make breakups harder right now.
While we’re stuck at home, Stubbs says we have to be more communicative. “We have to reach out and not just hope our friends get it or they saw what happened on social media, they should reach out to me.”
It’s normal to feel sad, hurt, angry, confused and rejected after a breakup. Feuerman urges us to not be hard on ourselves. “I want people to talk to themselves the way they would talk to a best friend.”
The coronavirus pandemic can complicate these feelings. “Don’t feel [guilty] about feeling sad about your own situation when there are bigger sadnesses going on,” says Stubbs.
Both experts recommend having no contact with an ex after a breakup to help you heal. Stubbs recommends social media blocking, and removing physical triggers. “Box of all the things that give you reminders of that person.”
“One thing that people have now is the gift of time,” says Feuerman.
Feuerman suggests finding a new hobby, maybe it’s something that you didn’t have time to do because you were spending so much time in your relationship.
“You got very used to being around somebody and having your routine together,” she says. “You've got to replace that with something.”
Stubbs suggests we give ourselves a sense of physical support. “Caress yourself,” she says. “Hug a pillow, hug a pet.”
Stubbs reminds us that the global pandemic can impact how we’re able to spend time grieving a breakup. And healing can look different for every person and every relationship.
“It’s not like ‘day one, day five, day 10 — I’m great. We’re done.’ It’s going to be a constant up-and-down battle,” she says. “Give yourself permission to grieve in a variety of ways.”
“The New Normal” is a series from The Lily and The Washington Post that talks about how to adjust to our new way of life, hosted by Nicole Ellis.