What it's like to be single during the coronavirus pandemic

Mind

Coronavirus has changed the dating game as we know it but does finding love have to be on hold? We ask real women to share their experiences of what it means to be single and unable to mingle during these unprecedented times…

Maneesha, 24, student

I’ve been single for just about a year now, and before the lockdown I’d gone on maybe three dates, which then (obviously) fizzled out quite quickly once the lockdown kicked in.

Being single during lockdown honestly isn’t that far off from being single normally, except if you were getting a little tired of dating anyway, you have the added bonus of it being banned. So now how can anyone fault you for not putting yourself out there? You’re staying inside and protecting the NHS, thanks. I’m not too sure how I’d feel about dating again after the lockdown, but for right now I’m taking this as a government-mandated break from men.

Being in isolation definitely isn’t great but I am isolating with my best friend, and after hearing people’s flatmate lockdown horror stories I’ve never been more grateful for my living situation. I don’t particularly wish I had a partner right now, but that’s mainly because living with a new partner in a situation like this would just be stressful.

I have been on Hinge and Bumble, but intermittently. It’s really hard to reply to messages from people you’ve never met because once you factor in that you might not ever meet it becomes hard to care.

Feeling a little lonely comes and goes – and not texting my ex after binging Normal People feels like a reward-worthy achievement now. Ultimately, being single in lockdown isn’t too bad but I absolutely would make a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to be able to go out for drinks with my mates.

Georgie, 28, travel PR & copywriter

I have been single 18 months, and pre-corona was seeing someone back in London. It was all heading in the right direction and he even came to meet me in Paris for a spontaneous weekend just before lockdown hit.

Since then, I have been out of the city with my family and, with this, I decided to press pause with Mr Paris. This may, in any other normal situation seem unnatural, but I find us in an almost impossible reality for a relationship to blossom, opting to rather pick things back up post-lockdown.

For now, despite not being able to date in person, I am also still using dating apps. Near the start of lockdown I unexpectedly connected with a lovely man who grew up nearby and has asked me to meet him for dinner back in London. The problem I have found with this ‘new normal’, is that we have now been speaking on WhatsApp daily for over a month and this I believe always brings with it the build-up of unrealistic expectations (for both parties!). It’s why I normally try to avoid chatting online for too long.

As an alternative, (from the encouragement of a couple of friends) earlier this week I asked Mr New Match if he fancied a FaceTime date. He didn’t leap at the idea as I would’ve hoped so, for the time being, I may have to succumb to this strange digital relationship I find myself in.

One fairly entertaining element that lockdown has brought with it is the number of old flames that have reappeared – I think in the first week I counted three! (I have admittedly texted one myself). I do however believe they are in the past for a reason. They may be bored at home, but this isn’t necessarily a good enough reason for me to be their source of entertainment. So, for the time being, my dating life is on hold while I focus on taking time to look after myself and spending time with family.

Amira, 26, journalist

I’ve been on/off single for about the past three years now. I was kind of dating pre-corona but it is difficult as I’m away a lot of the time and at short notice for my job. I’m currently isolating on my own – I live on my own in a flat in London and, quite honestly, am loving the time to myself. I don’t usually get it, despite being single!

I haven’t had Tinder or Bumble on my phone for ages now but I downloaded Hinge a little while before lockdown. I won’t lie, it’s dry as hell. There are hot guys on it, for sure, but I think once the novelty of chatting to someone new wears off, it’s very hard to strike up and maintain conversation as you know you won’t be meeting up for a while.

Let’s face it, we’re looking for a date or hook up – not a pen pal. If I want to chat to someone, I have my friends and family for that. Part of me thinks it would be nice to hole up with someone during lockdown to have both emotional and physical intimacy with. But I also think I’m coping so well because I’m not living with someone 24/7 and having to share my personal space with them. Nor am I finding it hard to be apart from the person with whom I would usually spend so much time.

I’ve not been tempted to text an ex but I’ve had my fair share of old ‘thing’ guys sliding into the DMs. A favourite was a guy randomly messaging me to ask if I fancied getting coffee when we are allowed to socialise again. Barely a ‘hi’, no intro, bam, straight into it. Also, buddy, the first thing I’m doing when I’m allowed to socialise again, is seeing my friends and family. And I don’t like coffee.

I definitely miss getting dressed up to go out – whether that’s for dinner, drinks with friends or, indeed, for a date. I think dating will be more novel post-lockdown; I won’t lie and say I’m not interested in meeting someone new – it’s about having something exciting to look forward to. Obviously no one craves a bad date but to be honest, I’d go for meeting anyone right now who isn’t a courier, ha!

By Sam

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