How to Get Through a Pandemic Breakup

“It’s the ultimate safe space,” said Naz Perez, founder of the support group Heart Broken Anonymous, which has been running meetings virtually during the pandemic. “Maybe you have nobody in your life, maybe your friends are sick of hearing about it. What’s safer than being at home in your pajamas, with your camera off, talking to people who know exactly how you feel?”

To heal from a breakup, most of us will need to be around other people, said Karen Osterle, a therapist in Washington, D.C., who specializes in helping couples break up. “It’s not about replacing our partner, it’s about bringing forth aspects of ourselves that may have lain dormant in the relationship,” she said. “We need to feel interesting and interested again.”

The problem is that many are still limiting how often they go out and with whom. When Matt Boling, 35, was getting over a breakup with his boyfriend, the pandemic made it hard to convince friends to meet up. More difficult than rallying other people, though, was rallying himself.

“The pandemic turned me into a homebody,” said Mr. Boling, an instructional designer in Phoenix. “The idea of going to a bar again and talking to someone feels exhausting.”

Think about something you’ve wanted to do for a while — gardening, playing the ukulele, learning to cook — and start doing it, Ms. Osterle said. “First, you’ll distract yourself in a positive way, by building something, but also it may open the door to new connections,” she said. You could test a new recipe by asking a vaccinated neighbor to dinner, for example.

If that feels daunting, start slow by just “planning times in your day that you’re going to be near other humans,” Ms. Earnshaw said. “Go to the grocery store, drink your coffee outside the coffee shop.” It doesn’t even need to be quality time, she said. “Just give yourself a reason to take a shower.”

In some ways, breaking up during the pandemic can be easier, said Tennesha Wood, a dating coach and founder of The Broom List, a matchmaking company exclusively for Black singles. “You may get a little more privacy,” she said. “There are fewer social events to navigate, where people who’ve only known you as a couple are asking questions.”

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