Heartbreak in the time of Coronavirus: What it’s like to go through a lockdown breakup

By Lilly Subbotin
May 12 2020, 12.25

Most of us know what it’s like to go through a breakup. 

They vary in intensity and devastation and we all cope with them in different ways. 

Some take up new habits of distraction, such as cross-stitching or baking sourdough. Others throw themselves full-tilt into exercise or their job. 

Many fall into the category of going on copious nights out with friends which will likely involve dancing, booze and the odd tear.

But what’s it like when the things you need most in the middle of heartbreak – the pub, gym, work – are no longer an option? 

In the time of Coronavirus, this is the case for many. We’re only allowed to leave the house once a day for supplies, necessary work or exercise. There are no pubs, clubs or bars to flock to. And we’re not meant to go and see our friends. So, how are people dealing with the end of a relationship in the time of Covid-19?

Cabin crew worker Helena Edney, 20, was worried when lockdown began, as she would usually cope with a breakup by going out with friends to take her mind off everything, as well as focusing more on the gym and work.

However, she said setting goals throughout the day to keep her mind occupied helps, as well as plenty of FaceTime calls with her friends.

Helena said: “I actually think it’s been easier to go through this during lockdown, as not being able to go out Friday nights, possibly bumping into them would be the worst. 

“Hopefully by the time lockdown is over I will be more confident over the situation, so seeing him won’t affect me as much.”

Freelance writer Julia Moser, 26, was dumped via Zoom mid lockdown. Her go to coping mechanism would be to drink wine, eat carbs and have a cry with her friend, eventually ending up in a bar to ‘flirt with some random dudes’.

She also agrees that although it isn’t ideal, the perk of being guaranteed to not bump into your ex is an undeniable positive. Though the breakup has been tough in parts, Julia would rather have it done over Zoom than dragged out.

“There is nothing worse than having a relationship go on well past its expiration date and ultimately hating the person for allowing you to pour all your mental and emotional energy into supporting them if you’re not planning on returning that support.“

Though some have found things on the whole easier, it’s not the case for everyone. Self-described party girl Carla, 23, has found that being furloughed and stuck at home has led to over thinking, anxiety and feeling lethargic. 

“I’ve also spent a lot of time in bed with no energy or will power to want to get up feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-pity,” she said.
She’s decided to take up meditation, something she never had time for with her busy cabin crew job, and found it helped her feel a lot more positively about her situation.

Care worker Adelaide Percy, 23, acknowledges that though a lockdown breakup is definitely more challenging due to the fact she’s not with the people she loves, this challenge and disruption encourages growth. 

Adelaide said: “My advice for someone also going through a lockdown breakup is to relish this opportunity to return to yourself.

“In a relationship, we can become so engrossed in another person that we lose certain parts of ourselves and, as we are all spending a little more time alone at the moment, it feels like the perfect opportunity to reflect on what we really want from life and what/who may have been holding us back. 

“In many ways, going through a breakup at this time is very fitting – the disruption and breakdown of something that felt so stable in order to make way for something new.”

Breakups are uneasy times where it can feel as though the rug has been pulled from beneath your feet. Pair this with a global pandemic which restricts, confines and fills us with uncertainty, it could add up to a really demanding situation.

Advice from Let’s Mend, the community heartbreak website, said: “If the relationship didn’t last there was a reason, and there’s also a lesson in it. 
“While it’s incredibly painful to be going through a breakup during a pandemic, you can find some solace in knowing that you have some closure.”

For those going through the same, focus on healing, taking care of yourself and using this free time and independence to focus on you.

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