Love in the Time of COVID-19
Reuniting during the pandemic
Posted May 13, 2020 | Reviewed by Hara Estroff Marano
It is always difficult to end a relationship. Often, people have many questions about what led them to that point, such as why they couldn’t work it out, and whose fault it really was in the end.
Once a split is final, one or both ex-partners may be plagued with doubt and guilt —doubt that they might have been able to try harder to stay together and guilt that they likely hurt the person they once loved. That often leads people to the break-up-to-make-up question, should they try again?
With the current restrictions on daily life due to the pandemic, this question is especially pressing. The pull and desire to go back to an old connection, one in which you feel comfortable and truly known, along with the built-in dearth of intimacy, is likely to be stronger than ever.
Take the case of Ryan Seacrest and Shayna Taylor, who who are now wondering again if they can make it work and are giving their relationship a third go. "I just want to say, happy third anniversary to Shayna," Seacrest said recently. "It is our third time together. So we've gotten together, broken up, gotten together, broken up. This is number three of being together." How does anyone know whether in fact a relationship is worth a second (or third) chance?
As we move deeper into social distancing and sheltering in place, it seems that some relationships that appeared to be over for good are finding new life in different ways. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, long divorced, chose to bunk together again with their daughters during the lockdown. And while their decision was not fueled by romance, there is something to be said for finding comfort with previous partners.
But what if you are looking to rekindle that spark? Why is now perhaps a good time to explore that possibility? The big thing that has changed for everyone is that we are facing a true worldwide crisis. Most people rise to the occasion and are willing to invest the extra energy it now takes to positively affect their situation. With that in mind, the pandemic might be a catalyst for exes to extend themselves, possibly summoning more flexibility with each other and feeling less need to draw that line in the sand that pushed them apart in the first place.
The ingredients that go into a strong and healthy relationship include compromise, caring for each other, showing empathy, understanding, and being able to listen to one other. So often these important details of connection fall away and derail couples.
When that happens, not only do you stop trying to please your partner, but you may instead actually look to upset them, because of your anger. However, things could be different now because the pandemic has forced a re-evaluation of priorities. Rather than looking to retaliate, you may find yourself more imotivated to get along.
The very things that are making this time so stressful, along with all the unknowns of what is to come, could potentially help exes find a way back to each other. The removal of so many of life's easy pleasures may stimulate the desire to make your partner happy, which can become a very powerful tool for boosting self-esteem.—a welcome feeling during a time of chaos.
People may well be willing to up the investment in the elements that make a relationship work. If, for example, you broke up because one or both of you were unwilling to compromise, now could be a good time to circle back and see what you are prepared to give up in exchange for the renewed connection and comfort of being together. Crises demand that people pull together as a team, not only the public level but a personal one, too.
Logistics may play a part, as they did with Bruce and Demi, or maybe it just makes the most sense. Or you might find yourself relying on your ex-partner in a way you haven’t in a long time, either to pick up groceries or medications or in some other capacity. The realization that your ex is giving to you now may help you see them in a new light. Maybe now you can really depend on them when that seemed impossible before.
Another change is how people are spending their time, as so many activities have been canceled. How you once viewed time together and time apart may be vastly shifted now. You may welcome and appreciate shared time in ways you didn’t before, or you may find yourself able to give your partner space that you couldn’t before.
The bottom line is that differences that loomed so large in the past now can become easier to accept, and that might foster willingness to extend yourself to your partner and to tolerate behaviors you didn't before. Hopefully you will be able to find some positivity in all the uncertainty and perhaps bring broken romance back to life during this unprecedented time.