This article was originally published on VICE Germany.
Generally, right now is a good time to isolate from your ex. The problem is: Loneliness can be a powerful aphrodisiac—powerful enough to break your resolve and make you dial their number.
I asked a few people who've succumbed to temptation why they did it—and whether it made them feel any better. Most of them weren't particularly proud of themselves, so I've changed all of their names.
Viviana, 31, finally had 'the conversation'
"My ex-girlfriend and I broke up a year ago, but we never had the proper break-up conversation. The split came just after our third anniversary and I didn't explain my reasons in detail at the time. I made up for that a few days ago.
"I wrote to her saying that I was thinking about her and that we should speak again. A few days later I called her and we spoke. I didn't start the conversation out of boredom: I'd been reflecting for the last few months and I needed the peace of mind that came from talking to her in detail.
"I'm super glad I did it. We were able to sort everything out. It felt like the real break-up. It's sad, but now there's a clear conclusion."
Tedros, 34, stumbled across an old photo
"In an effort to eradicate the first symptoms of boredom, I cleaned the house. I came across a box with odds and ends and found a photo of me and my ex-boyfriend—a really nice picture. So I decided to get in touch with him, just to see how he's doing because I still care about him.
"I sent it to him and said I think it's a shame we don't speak anymore. I said he should give me a call if he had the time. A minute later, I got a voice message from him. I was briefly shocked to hear his voice, but he was very nice and said that he'd enjoyed seeing the photo. Ten minutes later, we spoke on the phone for an hour. It was unusual, but very nice. I regret nothing. We're now following each other again on Instagram."
Lisa, 28, thinks he got the wrong impression
"My ex is a doctor with his own practice. That's why I thought I could make the first move and tell him I was thinking about him during this time. His life is definitely extremely stressful at the moment.
"He replied saying, 'That's nice. I think about you often, too!' I wasn't actually talking about 'often.' I don't know if he understood that I was just talking about now, during corona. Then I didn't care. I haven't replied.
"Nothing good can come from getting back in touch. Nevertheless, his answer made me feel better, so I don't regret my message."
Hannah, 26, needed a plant babysitter
"When the pandemic broke out, I decided to leg it to my parents' place because I was afraid of a curfew in Berlin. It was all very spontaneous.
"I have a real green thumb. Since my ex has a car and a spare key to my apartment, and moved to my neighborhood a few weeks ago, I thought he'd be the perfect candidate to take care of my plants. He's doing that now.
"Previously, there was only radio silence between us—now he sends me a lot of pictures to show that the plants are doing well. From a distance, the situation is pretty cool right now, but at some point I'll have to pick up the plants again. I'd feel very shitty about blocking him out again when I get back. The whole thing is totally silly and stupid, but at least my (plant) babies are fine."
Ludwig, 31, was just the messenger
"My ex-girlfriend and I lived together in my apartment until we split up. A few weeks ago she got some letters that looked important, so I wrote to her and asked when she wanted to come and pick them up.
"She came over, and we've been in regular contact since then. It’s a little difficult for me because she broke up with me after six years, and I'm still in my post-breakup self-discovery phase. I think she'd like to get back together again—but the more time I spend in isolation by myself, the more I realize that I don't want to get involved with anyone.
"My ex definitely finds isolation more difficult than I do. I think our continuing contact is more for her right now. If I'd known the contact would intensify this much, I probably would have left her mail alone."