Deep Dive: Can I Use Coronavirus as an Excuse to Check in on My Ex?
It’s late at night. You’re all alone. You’ve been alone all day. The coronavirus quarantine is starting to get to you. You can’t watch any more bad news or you’re going to have nightmares. You’ve streamed everything else you could tolerate on Netflix and you don’t know what to do with yourself. You feel antsy and unmoored. You want to reach out and, well, touch someone, but not just anyone. You want your ex. And all it would take to lure her back in is one text. The pandemic provides the perfect opening, right? You’re just “checking in.” But is that good for you — or for her? In this deep dive, we’re examining the question: Can I use coronavirus as an excuse to check in on my ex?
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These are unprecedented times.
Most of us have never lived through a global crisis of this severity. We’re in unknown, uncharted territory. And that’s terrifying. It’s no wonder that we want to connect with others, even if it’s just to say, “Hey. You OK?”
Your ex is not a form of entertainment.
Whether you’re working from home or are temporarily unemployed, you probably have more time on your hands than you’re used to. Idle hands are the devil’s handiwork, as they say, and yours have probably been spending that extra time on your phone. When we have long, unstructured days like those on quarantine, we’re apt to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like stalking our exes’ social media profiles, wondering what they’re up to, and daydreaming about what talking with or seeing them again might be like. It can be fun – even thrilling – to fantasize, but remember that your ex does not exist for your amusement.
You’re re-evaluating everything.
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced us to slow down and contemplate what really matters. While most of us could get away with lots of activity and little insight pre-coronavirus, now we’re confronting our mortality on a daily basis. This might make you fixate on what went wrong between you and your ex and whether or not your breakup was warranted. Could your relationship have been saved? Is she the one that got away? And if so, should you go get her?
You’re not unique.
If you think you’re the first man who wanted to text his ex during the coronavirus pandemic, think again. There are already a slew of articles online documenting the onslaught of texts women have received from their exes, presumably out of coronavirus-related concerns. Do you really want to be the next in a long line of assholes using this pandemic as an excuse to hit her up?
Is coronavirus really why you want to text her?
If we weren’t in the midst of a pandemic, would you feel such a strong urge to contact your ex? Probably not. You’d be busy living your life, going to work, dating other people, and pursuing your goals. If your mind only wanders to your ex when you feel down, stressed, upset, or bored, that’s a big red flag that you’re using her in the same way you might use food, booze, or any other substance to make yourself feel better. If texting your ex is your go-to move to deal with uncomfortable situations or unpleasant emotions, it’s not your ex you need to reconnect with – it’s yourself. (And maybe a therapist, too.)
What do you really want to say?
“Are you safe?” is a stupid question. Obviously, she is, or you would have heard about it directly from her or from mutual friends. “I miss you” is a non-starter. If she was as amazing as you’re remembering her, you should miss her (and beat yourself up daily for messing up a good thing). “Thinking of you” offers zero information for her to respond to. Telling her you had a dream about her is creepy (and probably untrue.) From here, the message potential just gets worse and worse. Even if a coronavirus-inspired missive were wise, there’s no elegant way to word it.
Get real about your ideal outcome.
In this age of social distancing, it pays to be cautious. Even if your ex was receptive to your text, where do you go from here? You’re probably not going to get laid. It wouldn’t even be wise to meet up in person for something safe like coffee and conversation, given that you don’t know what – or who – they’ve been exposed to lately. That leaves endless texting or video chat, neither of which are very satisfying and certainly don’t replace real intimacy. The most likely outcome? You’ll just muddy the waters further, creating confusion, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future for both of you.
Admit it: you're lonely.
Social distancing sucks. Even introverts are realizing now how much they need other people. The fact that you’re ruminating on your ex indicates that you’re lonely. And you know what? You’re not alone in that. We’re all lonely AF right now. But we have to be careful about the company we keep, even if only on our phones. Before texting your ex, try calling a friend and confessing what you want to do. Hopefully, they can talk some sense into you, or at least talk you down off the ledge.
Unless you’re already on good terms with your ex and in regular contact with her, the current pandemic is no excuse for reaching out. Your expectations (especially if they involve reunification) probably won’t align with reality, and then you’ll just be disappointed – or worse, devastated. Your ex is an ex for a reason, and the threat of COVID-19 doesn’t change that. These are tough times we live in, no doubt, but now is also an opportunity to do the self work you’ve been putting off (rather than running to the next human distraction). If your ex really needed to lean on you for support, she’d reach out. If she hasn’t, that’s your cue to stay on the sidelines and focus on your own life.
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