Being stuck at home for weeks on end can be hard on just about any relationship, romantic or otherwise. Combine that constant exasperation with the stress we’re all experiencing nowadays, and you may find yourself in constant disagreement with your quarantine partner, actively searching for a way out. But under quarantine, breaking up is made even more difficult, with nowhere to go and hardly anyone else to confide in. There are, however, a few considerations and preparations you can make to ensure a smooth departure (or otherwise) from your quarantine partner. If you need some guidance, come along.
Consider Your Reasons for Leaving
Before just up and leaving, couples therapist Jeanette Raymond suggests seriously considering why you want to break up with your quarantine partner, especially if you only recently started feeling this way. “You’ve probably been getting ready for a breakup long before the quarantine, and the lockdown may give you the impetus to do it,” she explains. “But it’s important to separate out whether you’re doing it as an act of feeling in control of something when life’s otherwise not under your control, or whether you truly want a breakup.”
Raymond continues, “Assuming you do want to break up, ask yourself, why now? Why have you been holding back, and what’s the rush now? Often during a crisis like the pandemic, one gets in touch with one’s mortality, and in that frame of mind, you want to take care of your bucket list. Is one of those items breaking up with your partner? Before you take the step of breaking up, ask yourself the following questions: What am I trying to rid myself of? Will getting rid of my partner really rid me of the thing I want to shuffle off, or is it something that’s actually part of me that I’ll carry to the next relationship? Is it this particular person that I no longer want in my life, or do I just want to be free — to not be accountable, obligated, tied down and risk the awful feelings of jealousy, mistrust, possible abandonment and rejection, possible cheating or having to give in to maintain the connection?” All of these questions, Raymond explains, are worth considering to avoid feeling regretful if you do indeed go through with the breakup, then decide that you shouldn’t have.
Plan Your Future
If you still want to break up after all that questioning, etiquette expert Elaine Swann emphasizes the importance of planning your leave before going through with the breakup. “There are a lot of challenges that can come about, most especially right now,” she says. “If you don’t have a place already set in mind, and you don’t have a plan in place, some places aren’t giving tours or what have you, so it could take a little bit more time than normal.” And the last thing you want right now is to be awkwardly stuck in your cramped apartment with the person you just broke up with.
Talk It Out
Once you have your plans made, Raymond says, “It’s best to arrange a time to speak with your partner and talk about your discomfort with the relationship. Try not to blame or shame them, even though they’ll take it personally. Make it about you taking care of yourself in a mature fashion, not relying on and expecting your partner to do so.”
“Avoid getting caught in the ‘let’s try again,’ or ‘let’s try harder’ if you truly want out,” Raymond continues. “Make sure you put it across as something you’ve put thought into, but make room for your partner to have their say, to persuade, cajole and bribe you into staying. That’s normal. If you’re seduced, then you’re not ready to break up, and that should reset your plan.”
However, if you’re truly set on breaking up, Swann encourages being as straightforward as possible and avoiding any unnecessary delving into the supposed failures of your relationship. “Leave out the icky and keep the matter of fact,” she says. “Everything is high right now: Emotions are high, and we’re very sensitive about a lot of different things. In this particular instance, more than anything, leave out all the icky stuff that’s going on. Just keep it very matter of fact. If you decided that you’re not going to be with the person, then that’s it. There’s no sense in really dredging up all of these different reasons and creating a laundry list of challenges and so forth.” In other words, just tell them that you thought about it, that you’re about to move out and hand them the keys.
Good luck, and stay strong!