If you’ve broken up with your partner during lockdown, you may already realise that the coronavirus crisis has had the same effect on a lot of peoples’ relationships. It’s a unique situation and has increased all the usual stresses that couples experience.
Your relationship might have been heading in this direction anyway, but the pandemic may have highlighted any differences that you had. Not least is the fact that most of us deal with stress and a crisis in different ways, plus finances may have become a lot more strained if one or both of you were made redundant or have been furloughed. Add home-schooling into the mix and not being able to see family and friends as much as usual, and it’s not surprising that so many couples are separating.
So, it’s important to work out how you actually feel about what’s happened and at first that may be anger and grief – if that’s the case, you need time to process the whole situation. You might feel denial at first as in ‘this isn’t really happening’ and ‘I’m not going to let this happen’ but if your partner is adamant that they want to separate, eventually you’ll need to adjust to the situation and start to accept it.
Talking to a friend whom you can trust is often a good idea as well as keeping a journal to write down all your feelings about what’s happened. Counselling could also help you come to terms with what’s happened, although this would need to be online or via video call at the moment,
If possible, talk to your ex about whether you’ll have a ‘clean break’ or whether you’d like to check in with one another now and again. It may be that you’ll have to talk anyway, because if you have children together, communication is vital and in the same way, if you’re dividing up property you’ll need to speak sometimes. Try to keep it calm and to the point as there’s nothing to be gained by shouting at one another and you probably won’t feel that good afterwards.
Thinking about children, they have already had a lot of upheaval due to the pandemic and may have found it so difficult not seeing their friends, so keeping to some sort of routine is important but of even more help will be if you can keep things amiable with your ex. It probably won’t be easy, but having the intention to do this is a start. If you can agree between the two of you what you’ll do if things get heated, it can help as you’ll know that there’s a way of stopping things getting out of control. For instance, you could have a code word if one of you thinks that a situation is getting too heated and then you can restart the conversation later. Deep breathing during these times can help a lot!
During this pandemic, it’s difficult to hide from your feelings and although all the emotions are painful and uncomfortable, the pain can be a catalyst for something better as it makes you look at what you want in your life in the future and what you might want from a future relationship (even if that seems an impossible idea right now!).
Even though you can’t go to a gym right now (and may not be able to afford to anyway), try exercising at home and use meditation as a way to get through what is undoubtedly a very difficult time. There are lots of apps like Headspace to help you meditate and reflect on what’s happened and how you’re feeling about it.
When the pandemic is over and life returns to some sort of normality, you will hopefully find that you’ve come to a deeper understanding of yourself and how you will go forward in the future.
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