The Five Stages of (Lockdown Breakup) Grief

So, you’ve ended up in a Lockdown Breakup™. Well, don’t worry, you’re not alone; if my circle of friends has shown me anything, it’s that a surprisingly large number of us are in the same boat! You can take comfort in the fact that the  sadness  you’re enduring is widespread.

 Maybe you’ve been here before, or perhaps it’s  your first time. Either way, get ready for everybody you know to bang on about the 5 stages of grief and how it’s now time for you to go through that shitshow. Except, this is Covid-19, a global crisis that makes everything feel like a fever dream; you are not about to experience the 5 stages that you were promised, but an Alternate Reality version. In light of these circumstances,  here’s a revised roadmap to help you complete the next few days/weeks/months of your life.

1. Numbness

Somehow, breaking up remotely just doesn’t quite pack the same punch as an in-person tear-fest might. Like everything in lockdown, it seems to take on a bizarre quality of flatness. This means that instead of devastation you will feel… really not that much. Everyone keeps on telling you that you need to experience your sadness – so where is it?

2. Quarantine Dreams (But Worse)

Sadness has now arrived. He’s 4 hours late, but he’s come with the extra-special gift of weird and slightly disturbing dreams! Now, we’ve all encountered the Quarantine Dream, that special breed of night-time psychological discomfort, which only being locked inside for ?? weeks can produce. What’s changed, however, is that your ex will now constantly pop up in those dreams. Freud said that we experience the Uncanny as a result of repressed memories, and these nightmares can only be described as such: melting faces, out of character actions, and that sense when you wake up that something is just not quite right. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

3. Please Boris Johnson Just Let Me Leave

You thought that you were stir-crazy before your breakup? Get ready for that to get 100 times worse. All you want is change, new people, new places. And yet, here you are, probably in your childhood bedroom, feeling as if (in the words of Tame Impala) you are only going backwards. This restlessness will lead to some irrational behaviour, such as planning completely improbable trips for the summer and/or going on four hour long walks only to discover that there’s only so much field you can look at before you get sick of grass.

4. Coronavirus Anger

If the pandemic hadn’t happened we’d still be together! If only lockdown hadn’t kept us apart! Curse this spiky virus ball! These are some of the thoughts that you’ll likely experience during stage four.. But reader, as someone that’s been there, I’m going to tell you the cold, hard truth: it is very unlikely that being forced apart for a few weeks is truly the thing that ended your relationship. The cracks were probably there before. I’m sorry.

5. Numbness (Part Two)

The funny thing about moving on is that it sort of happens without you noticing. One distinct advantage of being forced apart from your ex is that you’re not going to bump into them unexpectedly, meaning you’ll most likely just slowly start to forget them. Their face will become an indistinct blur in your mind, and they won’t feel familiar in the way that they used to. Maybe you’ll still miss them occasionally, but you’re not even really sure what you miss anymore. Well done! You made it. Now you just have the rest of a global crisis to endure.