There seems to be an intrinsic connection between pandemics and love. There was “Love in the Time Of Cholera” and now, there is love in the time of corona. One difference between these two is crystal clear – there was no social distancing in the time of cholera. Hence the love flourished so deeply in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s famous novel. Without hand sanitizer.
Coronavirus’ game is on another level. On the backdrop of the draconian measures to minimize physical human interaction, many people are enduring the ultimate hardship – loneliness. 2 m apart from each other eventually became 20 km, sometimes even 2 000 km, thus separating people from the loved ones and from a chance to meet the one (or someone), for the singletons.
So here we are, all in this together trapped alone in our little square boxes that we call houses, nostalgically remembering yesterday’s past and finally giving credit to the beach walks, to takeaway coffees, even to those awkward failed Tinder dates. At least we were free, out there. Yet we kept complaining about how bad dating is nowadays; about how the city is invaded by an army of Peter Pans who refuse to grow up; about the ghosters who come back as if nothing happened.
Meanwhile, coronavirus sorceress came and froze us at whatever Jumanji stage of our lives we were: single or in a relationship. What… now? How do we deal with this, and mostly with the range of feelings we are about to experience in our exile? How do we even find love, for ourselves or for someone?
You’d say the singletons are the most affected here, but couples especially the fresh ones are also facing the why-you-didn’t-put-the-toilet-lid-down challenge?
So let’s see how in my opinion, corona affects the love life of these two categories.
1. Love in the time of corona for singletons
There are two types of singletons: those freshly squeezed from break-ups with a hell of a lot of emotional baggage and those, past that phase – healed, at peace, and back on the market. I call the last ones the Hermit Caste.
The singletons freshly squeezed from break-ups
Quaranqueen – one that doesn’t use the pandemic as an excuse to text her ex, but instead focuses on worshiping her inner goddess, so she comes out of this stronger than ever.
Undoubtedly, these strange times are the most difficult for singletons. Parallel to the coronavirus pandemic, they are facing the loneliness epidemic. Although, the last one has been amongst us for quite some time.
The majority of us live in big crowded cities where we rub shoulders with people every day at work, in public transportation, in the street, at the Starbucks queue. But do we ever initiate a conversation or even an eye contact? No. We are walking with our heads down. Self-absorbed.
Too busy to look around.
Too shy to talk.
Too many Instagram posts to check.
To make matters worse, we don’t even know who our neighbors are.
If, before, our loneliness was tentatively cured with nights out, now we are forced to look her straight in the eyes.
The worst part is, loneliness is directly proportional to vulnerability, especially if you just came out of a relationship. And I know how tempted you are right now to text your ex. But giiiirl, DON’T! Stay strong. Yes, like in the workout. It’s intense, you are going to sweat a lot, but it’s for a greater cause. So stay with me!
Instead of your ex (who is an ex for a reason), reach out to your critical darlings like friends and family for unbiased support and unconditional love. Instead of starring at his pictures for the 25 367th time, better watch Matthew Hussey’s videos. The guy speaks soothing truths about relationships.
I know people deal with break-ups in different ways with different timelines. Personally, for me, the break-ups have always been a prospect to grow. Not before 2 months of mourning. You are allowed this grace period, where you are authorized to live in your pajamas; eat ice cream; rewind memories and cry; even plot a revenge plan against your ex if that makes you feel better. Only in your mind though.
But after the 2 months of pity-party, I rise like a Phoenix from the ashes and start the work on myself, on my goals, on all the things that I procrastinated during the relationship. It is like subconsciously I want to demonstrate my ex that I can be the best, even though he will never know.
So if you are freshly squeezed from a break-up, take this isolation time as an opportunity. But don’t force yourself. Listen to your body and take small steps. Be a Quaranqueen!
The singletons from the Hermit Caste
If you are simply lonely because you’ve been single for quite some time, girl, you’re in the privileged Hermit Caste. I mean you don’t even have an ex that you would want to obsess over. Your self-isolation time is a clean slate. You can insert whatever content you like: self-care, self-development, self-nothing. Maybe?
You can even go back to those rescue dating apps, even though you solemnly promised yourself that you would never install them again. There are rumors that the Peter Pans have grown up and acknowledged the need of bonding and consistent conversations. Some of them even wish they had a girlfriend during the pandemic. Well, that’s a start!
I know you might feel like you’re wasting valuable time for not “putting yourself out there” as per relationship experts’ guidelines, but there is room for a counterintuitive paradox here: social distancing is creating social bonding.
Social media nowadays is full of hope for humanity. Auspicious quotes about us being more connected and cheerful “We are all in this together” hashtags are flooding our feeds daily. So maybe we needed this time gap to stop the buffet syndrome in dating and start appreciating one dish at a time.
2. Love in the time of corona for couples
Gosh! It’s really hard for me to reason on this topic, as my significant other at the moment is my flatmate. She is my saving grace. Having a companion (cats and dogs included) during isolation time makes a huge difference for our emotional wellbeing. If you are in love with your companion, you might live the best time of your life. At least, the girls. Finally living with your boyfriend. And you didn’t even have to ask for that. Forced or not, it doesn’t matter now. You are under one roof. Go figure.
For the couple’s life, the coronavirus pandemic is an ad hoc test on compatibility, resilience, and stability, depending on the stage of the relationship.
For those living together before the pandemic, little did it change now. Perhaps this isolation time might even deepen their relationship as they are going together through tough times.
On the other side, there are the brand new couples, which have been caught by the coronavirus in Sakura time – you know… that butterflies-in-the-stomach phase, just before the Big Bang.
In normal times, these couples (or whatever status they have) wouldn’t rush into living together, because Sakura time is so beautiful and you don’t want to ruin it. Right? But then corona comes in and forces them to enter the uncharted waters of living together, where they either survive or drown. Also together.
I have friends who just broke up amid the lockdown because they couldn’t decide who should wipe the spilled water on the kitchen floor. And I have friends for whom the quarantine had become a wondrous honeymoon.
Both of the outcomes are beneficial. I mean, wouldn’t you like to know sooner rather than later, that not agreeing on trivial things with your partner could be a deal-breaker in the long run?
So before you envy all the lovey-dovey couples, just know that people in a relationship deal with relationship problems. I’m sure you remember a time when you were with someone but wished you were alone. Because when you are alone you have that blissful peace of mind. Appreciate that. You won’t be single forever anyways.
Single or not, Coronavirus pandemic risks taking a toll not only on human lives but also on our emotional fitness, in terms of anxiety and loneliness. But you know what? We, humans, are like viruses too. We have this ability to mutate to whatever life situation.
We clearly cannot change the situation but we can change how we look at it. For some of us, myself included, this isolation time created valuable space to do all the things I have procrastinated so far.
For others, who have always been on the run, the pandemic is a chance to finally relax and do nothing. And that’s ok too. Not everyone needs to come out of this with a Master’s degree, but everyone should at least try to see an opportunity for whatever they choose to do.