If you're judging your friends for hooking up with exes during the pandemic, maybe you shouldn't. Imagine being single or living alone the moment your city went into lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. How's that judgment now?
I'm not calling anybody out. I'm merely pointing out a natural phenomenon taking place. As dating apps have been rendered less useful or even pointless by fear of COVID-19 cases, many of us have peeked at our exes' social media accounts. People need and crave interaction. And while stay-at-home orders took over the world, meeting new people seemed out of reach. But exes didn't.
Why we may reach for exes
“Human beings often gravitate towards structure and familiarity,” licensed psychologist Dr. Jamie Zuckerman told Insider.com.
Don't worry about a minor lapse in sanity mid-pandemic. Grabbing hold of your ex like a life preserver amid massive layoffs and shutdowns during the pandemic is a human response.
The feeling of familiarity can be comforting, like watching your favorite movie repeatedly. You know the Titanic is going to sink and you know Jack is going to die, but you still watch the movie. Again. And again. Predictable is a harsh way to put it, but during a time of rapid change and uncertainty, predictability feels safe.
The isolation of the pandemic left many singles seeking familiar connections with exes.
You may have gotten back together with the ex you texted at 2 a.m. during quarantine, and that's fine. I wish you the best. But don't run back to your ex just because you're lonely.
Researchers at the Kinsey Institute found that about 1 in 5 people have reached out to an ex during quarantine, and nearly half of those people reached out to multiple exes. So keep in mind that some of your exes who may reach out to you are lonely and desperate, and some should probably stay out of your life. But there's something about having been with someone pre-COVID-19 that opens up a nostalgic world of concerts and crowds. It's a glimpse into normal life when working from home was an oxymoron and happy hours wouldn't dare be virtual.
While many people were lucky enough to quarantine with their family or significant others, many singles were forced to quarantine alone. These extended periods of alone time only increased natural human cravings for attention. You started to miss the time when you had a connection with someone, reliving memories of good times. You may have missed simply having someone to talk to on a regular basis.
In short, don't worry if you and an ex went strolling down memory lane. It's generally harmless and a natural response to our current living situation. We all coped with the madness of isolation in our own way.
Take care of yourself
This trend brings up an important conversation about self-love and self-care. While years of silence shouldn't go unmentioned when reconnecting with an ex, we all deserve the luxury of connection and intimacy. Don't feel ashamed if you reached out to an ex, and don't feel bad if you're still thinking about doing so.
Keep your heart protected and in the right place when reaching out and reconnecting with old flings. Some flames will never go out, but some have to be explored to see if they've been extinguished for good.
Remember, you have to be a little bit careful. Just because it's been two years since you slept with someone doesn't mean they can't still break your heart—or that they are virus-free, for that matter. Take some precautions and proceed gently.
This phenomenon will likely prove to be a footnote of the COVID-19 pandemic, but texting exes may never fade away for good.