Breakups are never particularly fun or easy. It is extremely hard to go from having someone be in your life all the time and an important part of your day-to-day to suddenly having them disappear cold turkey.
Some would say that the process is even harder during a time where we're all kind of stuck inside, but I'd argue that this is time to go through a breakup—and I know, because I did it.
Let's Think About A Breakup In Normal Times
After a breakup during regular times, it was easy to get together with friends to talk through the emotional pain, take on new activities or goals (e.g. going to the gym more, learning how to paint, etc.), go out to the bars, and start seeing new people. There were ample distractions available to latch onto right after things ended so that you wouldn't have to linger on the bad feelings.
A Lockdown Breakup Is Much More Solitary
With all the chaos created by the pandemic, all of those easy distractions were not accessible. When my boyfriend and I called it quits, we were in the middle of a lockdown situation. There were no activities available in the evening to go out and do, so the second I clocked out of my job, I was back to thinking about our relationship and what it meant to end it.
The Distractions Weren't Just Hiding The Pain Of Breakups
When the whole world kind of hit "pause" and suddenly was under lockdown, a lot of couples were forced to spend way more time together and really consider their relationships. Without the chaos of regular life commitments—friends, jobs, family, social gatherings—in the way, we were spending way more time together, and I was forced to examine my relationship.
I came to the hard realization that, although I was comfortable with my boyfriend, I didn't really see us ending up together long-term.
It Wasn't Easy To Do
Of course, I was hit with the fears that come with any breakup, which were further emphasized by quarantine protocols: how lonely it would suddenly be without him and how hard it would be to lose someone who meant so much to me for so long. Was I being rash with the decision? Would I regret this choice in the future?
But I Did It
The breakup itself didn't take long, at least I think: I remember saying that I didn't think we should stay together, and the rest flew by in a blur. All I knew is that I ended up walking home to my tiny studio apartment with my face crusted in tears and the only way I could talk to someone about it was over FaceTime.
And Then I Was Really Alone
With strict lockdown protocols in place keeping me from gathering with anyone else, I was trapped alone in my apartment with only my thoughts for company. I spent weeks just mulling things over and crying—analyzing and reanalyzing conversations and situations from when we were still together. Knowing I shouldn't call my ex (and making the mistake of doing it anyway).
...But That Might Have Been A Good Thing
I won't lie: it was an absolutely miserable process spending the better part of three months alone in my apartment thinking about the demise of my relationship and feeling desperately lonely in the process. It was one of the worst experiences of my life.
However, when I emerged from that capsule of sadness months later, I came out feeling whole and ready to move on.
The Distractions Might Not Really Be That Helpful
Sure, in the short term, leaning into those distractions available during normal times makes the pain a little less present—it's hard to feel sad dancing with your best girls at the club—but it really didn't fix anything.
After my past breakups, I would feel okay for a while, but I also would always have unresolved feelings about exes that would follow me for months (sometimes years) because I had repressed the pain the moment it had happened. All those bad feelings were still lurking under the surface and disrupting my new romantic endeavors.
Instead, I Was Forced To Look Directly Into The Void
Without an escape from my feelings, I was actually able to really process them in their full glory—each raw emotion was felt, considered, and then put away. I was able to really work through my tangled web of confused thoughts and feelings and come out feeling sure and solid. Trying to date again, while still mildly difficult, really did feel like a fresh start.
There's No Perfect Time For A Breakup
Of course, there's no perfect time to go through a breakup, and my experience isn't going to apply to everyone else, but I will say that I am almost grateful that I was forced by external circumstances to really feel every negative emotion I had following the demise of my relationship and actually find peace and closure.
Naturally, there won't always be a global pandemic to force me to search my own soul, but I think I have actually learned the value of facing pain head-on to work through it. And if you're in the boat where you think your relationship might be over but you're afraid of going through it right now, I'm telling you: it might just be the perfect time.