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Single in Lockdown: What have I learned?

Online dating
Online dating can be a blessing and a curse, especially during a pandemic. Source: geralt (via. Pixabay)

By Molly Govus | Head of Comment

After coming out of a long-term relationship in late January 2020, I was thrown head-first into the pandemic as a relatively new, confused and rather lost single woman. I have now spent just over a year getting used to my proudly acclaimed singleness. If being single after a long time in a relationship isn’t hard enough to adjust to, I have now had to navigate through the strange world of dating apps and making connections throughout the wrath of COVID-19, which makes meeting new people, well…pretty impossible.

Only a year ago, I was asking my tinder-expert friends about what left and right swiping meant, but now, it is safe to say that my swiping fingers have never had as much exercise before. Now, I find dating apps a bit of fun. A swipe here, a swipe there, a short five-minute conversation about what you’ve been up to and it abruptly ending because you are, in fact, up to nothing – you get the drift. It’s all a bit of a laugh, until it’s not, and you realise this may be the way you have to meet people for a long time to come. When you think about it like that, the thought can be quite daunting and sadly, quite lonely.

Truthfully, I’ve used this time to better myself, and to get to know who I am in a relationship. After years of dedicating my existence to another person rather unhealthily, once I put the Bridget-Jones-style sobbing aside, I felt ready to learn more about myself and my needs.

We must remember that we are all still so young – times are changing, people are meeting later in life, and I’d like to think that pressure surrounding relationships is lessening as time goes on and people become more independent. Ultimately, I realised that the only person that was putting pressure on me to rush into another relationship was me – recognising this train of thought and this feeling automatically made me feel more in control, and I felt pretty powerful after I realised this.

Something rather strange about all this, and there’s not much, but the ongoing, never-ending lockdown can be a brilliant conversation to have with a person online. Some may say that the topic and shared experience of going through all this, within our particular generation, can actually bring us closer together. You can ask about how someone’s coping, about how it’s affecting their work or university, or about whether they’re isolating at home or elsewhere. You get to see someone’s resilience and their hopes for the future, something that may not have come to light in usual circumstances. This may be a bit of a stretch, but at least, it’s a nice and positive way to think about things.

Nowadays, I find myself asking the same questions in my head: what are my boundaries? What do I expect of my partner? What can I give to them? All of these questions and clarities have come clear to me because of the way I have used this time: to better myself, and to get to know myself. The last thing any of us need is to put ourselves down about our relationship status. There are no clubs to stumble into people, there are no parties to meet someone’s eye – these are different times. Take control and do what you can with what you can.

Who is the single Molly Govus? It’s a big question. An initially daunting one, but one I now find exciting to answer. She’s stronger, she knows what she wants, and she doesn’t succumb to self-inflicted pressure.

If I have learned anything during COVID-19, it’s that I can look back and say I gave myself time to learn who I am as a single woman, in 2020/21, in the middle of a pandemic. And truly, I think that’s rather inspiring.

 

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