Love Letter: What Are the Rules of a Pandemic Breakup?

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The coronavirus has already begun to transform relationships, for better and for worse. For some, the pandemic has created a need for deeper connections. Others see it as the time to end already failing relationships. In this week’s Modern Love essay, the writer Sarah Rosen’s boyfriend of six months broke up with her on the same day the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. As Ms. Rosen and her partner navigate the murky waters of their breakup, shifting from romantic partners to pandemic partners who still talk daily, they began to wonder: “What are the rules of a breakup in a pandemic?”

How do you keep the romance alive when a government-imposed barrier threatens your relationship? For Karsten Tüchsen Hansen, 89, and Inga Rasmussen, 85, that meant getting creative when the border between their houses in Germany and Denmark was closed. The couple now meets daily at the border crossing, halfway between their two homes, where they sit on either side, a few feet apart, and enjoy a picnic together. “We’re here because of love,” Mr. Tüchsen Hansen said. “Love is the best thing in the world.”

And, while self-isolation and social distancing guidelines help limit the spread of the coronavirus, the increased solitude has led to a new potential health threat for those living alone — loneliness. Here are a few tips to help you feel more connected, and we’ll be publishing a callout later today looking for your stories of living alone. Keep an eye out for a link in next week’s newsletter.

Until next time, stay safe and check in on your loved ones.

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