Now Is Not the Time to Write to Your Ex.

These long days and nights of quarantine forced us to start doing things that we probably would not have done under normal circumstances. Whether you’ve spent hours making the perfect sourdough or assembling 1000-piece puzzles, you may have a whole new set of hobbies than a month ago. If you enjoy running Google and seeing what kind of people are from your past now, you’ve probably done it several times already.

But here things can get complicated. One Google search can easily lead to another, and you suddenly scroll through your ex’s Instagram feed . And no matter if you’re stuck inside alone, with a partner getting more annoying every day, screaming kids or ungrateful roommates , your mind can easily wander around thinking about what it would be like if your life is playing out. differently. And then there is a temptation to contact the ex. This may sound like a good idea now, but trust us – it really isn’t.

Why are we so anxious to connect with our ex

We don’t need to tell you that life during a global pandemic is stressful. Not only are we all stuck at home, but there are other constant reminders of COVID-19 every time we turn on the news, go to social media, or chat with family and friends. “There’s almost a kind of environmental anxiety in the world right now,” says Lifehacker Dr. Keith Jansen , assistant professor of psychology at Midwestern University and a health expert. “This persistent stressor is compounded by severe disruption to most of our routines — work, socializing, exercise, play — it’s all different, and sometimes even absent. This creates the basis for making decisions that we would not have made otherwise. ” How to contact your ex.

Jansen says that if you fall into this category, you should consider why you want to reach out to someone you have met before. For example, looking at old social media posts can make you feel nostalgic, so you should consider whether this nostalgia is for this person or for the time before your life was disrupted. “It makes perfect sense to mourn the loss of your life earlier,” explains Jansen. “It can lead to romanticizing past relationships and being tempted to lend a helping hand that you didn’t have a month ago.”

Over the past few weeks, psychotherapist and relationship expert Hayley Neidich has asked several clients to share what they wrote to their ex, or at least thought about it. “In all of these cases, it was obvious that people were struggling to fill their time in a structured way, did not have enough connections with others (social isolation) and were experiencing worsening depression,” she explains. “When we experience strong and unpleasant emotions or feel like we are out of control – as we all do now – we have a desire to regain control and calm our difficult emotions.”

Our desire to connect with exes could have also happened because we haven’t fully processed the breakup, according to Neydich, and now that we have so much time in our hands, we are finally allowing ourselves to feel the emotions that are natural. approaching. “It’s okay to fantasize about your ex out of loneliness and fear,” she says. “This is a scary time for everyone, and our minds will naturally look for ways to alleviate this discomfort.”

Why is this probably a bad idea

In most cases, dealing with an ex-pandemic or not is usually not the best solution. “While there are some deviations from this, people break up for some reason, and returning to contact often leads to regret and causes us even more pain,” explains Neidich. “What we are all going through right now is not normal and causes many people to make decisions out of fear.” Neidich suggests asking yourself if you would have contacted your ex before you were quarantined: if you hadn’t done it then, don’t do it now.

And you also run the risk of finding out that your ex is in a new relationship. Sure, you’ve probably already done your due diligence and searched for this person on social media, but some people are confidential in a relationship and it may not be obvious. If you already feel vulnerable after learning that your ex has left with someone else, you may feel worse.

“Discovering that your ex is in a new relationship is critical in the grieving process,” says Lifehacker Dr. Fran Walvis , Beverly Hills family and family relations therapist and Sex Box (WEtv) film partner. “Most people have a certain fantasy that the reconciliation of romance and universal love will resume. Faced with a puddle of icy water, when you find out that your ex is in a new relationship, you will have to face the end and death of fantasy and the real grieving process will begin. ” Sure, mourning the end of a relationship is great, but the middle of a pandemic may not be the best time to start this process.

What should we do instead

If you’re tempted to connect with your ex right now, chances are you’re lonely – which makes sense given our new socially isolated life. In fact, according to Jansen, you may be missing out on regular communication with your current friends and support systems, rather than your ex. Start by setting up a schedule to meet your friends virtually. “It’s tempting to give up on these things or find it harder to end a meeting when we’re feeling anxious or bored, but it’s so important to keep in touch with friends and family during times of stress,” she explains. …

And if regular phone calls or Zoom group chats no longer help, Jansen says you can get creative with virtual happy hours, walking FaceTime together, playing video games online, watching TV or watching movies together via a Netflix party. or group sessions with live exercises. “Choose a social activity and truly commit yourself,” she says. “Once you get started, you will probably be glad you did. After your social needs are met and you feel connected, reevaluate whether you still feel the urge to reach out to your ex. “

Additionally, Neidich says wanting to call your ex is a signal that you’re emotionally upset and looking for an outlet. “Sticking to a routine, regularly video chatting with friends, and connecting with yourself through meditation and mindfulness are much healthier ways to calm down.” So when you feel like picking up the phone and connecting with someone, pick a friend or family member over your ex.

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