The Pandemic Relationship Blues

Cue the blues music. 

I knew the pandemic would cause ripples of sorts in different aspects of our lives. We’ve seen it happen throughout history – during pandemics, famine, natural disasters, war,  anything that devastates a large number of people. Inflation happens, jobs are lost, poverty rises, anxiety and depression increases, and the state of our society takes a nose dive. It’s all really very depressing.

One of the ripples I’ve recently encountered weighs heavier on my heart than others, though. 

People are hurting. I really think the pandemic brought a lot of our fears and struggles to the surface for all to see. It’s so evident on social media platforms – all the things we were hiding or maybe not even acknowledging before. For many of us, the pandemic exacerbated our fears and struggles. They once were small enough to manage, but now consume us and affect our relationships with others. For others, irrational fears formed during isolation, as isolation has a tendency to do. 

We stopped meeting, seeing each other, and letting our kids play together because we feared this awful, unknown sickness. But then it became habit to say no, or maybe we rather enjoyed time away from our former commitments. 

Without giving too much detail, a couple of my friendships have changed or ended because of this. From my perspective, I watched each friend’s existing battle with anxiety evolve into something bigger after two years of COVID and all that went along with that. I watched it seep into their relationships. I know they see things differently.

My spouse is probably tired of hearing about these friendship blues, but he knows I care for them. I have grieved these losses deeply, and after a few months of grieving, I am now in the stage of adapting and moving on. But although I may not be as emotional, I still think about my friendships and miss what used to be. 

I’m 99% certain that a majority of you can relate to this. 

Our relationship may never be the same and that stinks. I feel sad for my kids, who have either lost friendships with their kids or been distanced from them. I still cling to hope that things will change, as time has a way of doing that. Whether it changes my perception of things or changes the situation, I am hopeful that it will get better. 

As I hope that time can mend things, I am also keeping an open door for these friends. I know that it’s not healthy to dwell on the past, so I will move forward but keep my door open. I also know that things are always evolving and new people inevitably enter into your life, which can be good. I am hopeful that all is not lost. 

Have you had relationships change or end in this season? How have you coped?

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Growing up in Devils Den State Park, Arkansas has certainly influenced my career choice. I'm an Extension Horticulture Educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service via Oklahoma State University. I have 3 little children and a kind-hearted husband that stays at home with them while I work (more than) full time. We love quality time together, whether it be going to church, hanging out with cousins, checking our plants in the garden, or anything else. We love to travel and hope to bring our kids on our international adventures in the distant future.


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