I'm Social Distancing With My Ex, and This Is What It's Like

In my romantic history, there were very few times that I made it past the line between "this guy I've been seeing" and "my boyfriend." All of my relationships, or, more commonly, "situationships" were usually pretty short-lived and superficial . . . until I met my ex partner. We met through a shared hobby a few years back, became really close friends, and began dating shortly after. Everything progressed naturally, and I honestly couldn't have asked for a better partner or more loving relationship.

In late Fall of last year, however, my partner ended our relationship very suddenly. We had lived together for six months, quite happily I might add, and I was completely sure he was my forever, but he had valid reasons for ending things. And in retrospect I can now say that we both needed a lot of growth as individuals and we couldn't do that together. Although I was totally heartbroken for a while after, and did resent his decision, I loved him way too much to cut him out of my life. We were each other's best friend, and I didn't want that to change. So we stumbled through the rocky process of transitioning into friendship together — which, let me acknowledge, is hard and does not always work for everyone. Now, we're basically platonic partners and have an incredibly strong friendship that I love. We were especially fortunate that this happened before the pandemic hit a few months ago, and before life as we knew it changed.

I know that I'm super lucky and this is not a common situation whatsoever, so I try never to take it for granted.

For context, my ex and I still live in the same neighborhood, a street apart. We both live alone, and had been spending nearly every day together before stay-at-home orders began. This made it a pretty simple choice to socially distance together. We agreed not to come into contact with any other people so that it was safe for us to travel between our apartments when necessary, and so that we wouldn't be completely alone during such an uncertain time. We're both extroverted people by nature, and beyond that we just really enjoy each other's company, so it was a great setup for us. We've made most of our "essential" trips and errands together, taken lots of outdoor walks, have done workouts together, and just coexist in his apartment during some workdays since we're both working from home for the time being. We're really a "quaranTEAM" as he calls it, and it's been so nice to feel less isolated and alone.

Throughout the stay-at-home order, all this time with my ex has actually motivated me to be more productive and conscious of my routines and choices. I'm living alone for the first time, and he's been a massive help in getting my apartment set up and encouraging me to cultivate my space in a way that makes me happiest. He's also been my workout buddy and somewhat of an accountability partner, because we're both on our own fitness journeys. I'm finding myself with more motivation to take care of my body knowing that he's cheering me on! We've also been finding other ways to connect, including video games; he's always been into them, and they've never really been my speed . . . until I recently bought a Switch with Animal Crossing, and now he has me hooked. The little things like that have been such a comfort and definitely something to help my mental health. I have bipolar disorder and anxiety, two things of which my ex is acutely aware, and he has plenty of past experience caring for the needs I have due to my illnesses. The fear and sadness associated with social distancing have definitely been eased for me by having my ex around.

It's weird at times for me to refer to my ex as my "ex," because we're truly best friends. I know that I'm super lucky and this is not a common situation whatsoever, so I try never to take it for granted. Socially distancing with my best friend has kept me more sane, comfortable, and able to see little slivers of optimism within the gloominess we're all facing right now. He's been my rock in so many ways over the past year and a half, and I can't ever express how thankful I am for him. There are certainly a few times that we've had miscommunications recently, especially after spending such an extreme amount of time together, but because our friendship is so important to us we always choose to work through them together.

While I know most people wouldn't be able to even consider spending this time with their ex, and probably for lots of valid reasons, I still stand by my decision and feel super grateful that I have the chance to. This pandemic has caused so much loss and devastation, and has definitely affected everyone across the world in some way or another. To have the most significant person in my life by my side to face it all has been nothing short of a blessing, and I count my lucky stars for that each and every day.