Socially Distanced Swiping: Dating and Love in Lockdown

Whether you’re single or in a long-term relationship, lockdown has undoubtedly affected everyone’s love life. We asked students in a variety of romantic situations how they had been coping with dating and maintaining relationships in lockdown.

Newly Single Life in Lockdown 

By Molly Govus 

I can safely say that getting to know people in the eye of a global pandemic is something I have never done before and will (hopefully) never do again. It has been a learning curve to say the least. No bars, no clubs, and most importantly, no excessive drinking for that push of Dutch courage we may often need when entering single life.

After coming out of a six-year relationship in late February, I was not expecting my fun and free single months to be spent self-isolated in my small town. I guess this is where we thank God for social media and its endless possibilities. Whilst they may be comical, Tinder and Bumble opened my eyes to the brilliance of online dating, or as we would say these days, ‘talking’, and the freedom that comes with it. I would say it was a huge confidence boost to feel in control of my profile and have time to think about what I was saying instead of drunkenly slurring to someone in the Live Lounge queue. I even ended up talking to some people who I would never have had the confidence to talk to face-to-face, and I made some brilliant friendships along the way for which I am entirely grateful for. 

Although I may wish I could go on a date to a bar or a club, I have genuinely enjoyed the meaningful conversations I have had with people I met online. Funnily enough, my view of online dating has changed for the better since lockdown began.

Living with my Partner for the First Time 

By Olivia Adams 

Living with my boyfriend over lockdown was completely different from what I was used to, as we went from being in a long-distance relationship to living in the same room.

Due to being limited to go out on dates and do different things it became more of a challenge to make our time together special, especially as every new day started to appear very similar to the previous.

Therefore, we decided to dedicate at least one night a week to watch a film or series together, away from the family, to make sure we were getting time for just the two of us. As well as this, in order to get out of the house we would use our one exercise a day to go on a walk or bike ride together. Although these small activities may not seem like much, when you are restricted with what you can do these periods of quality time were so important to our relationship.

In saying this, we also made sure to have plenty of space from one another, either alone or with other family members, as spending every second together was only going to create frustration and put pressure on the situation. 

Experimenting with Dating Apps 

By Maja Metera

When COVID-19 hit I had been single for a little over two months. My desire for romance was way lower than my desire to have sex and for that purpose dating apps are just perfect. I’d had very little experience with Tinder – but it was pretty bad. However, being the Mad Hatter I am I decided to give it another chance expecting different results. And I got them. 

When you sext, people start to fantasize and have a lot more courage to say what they really want to do, because there is not much of a chance they will have to do it in real life- which gives you a sense of safety. In other words, you can experiment more and (if you are not looking for anything permanent) you do not have to talk to this person again, so the pressure to give your peak performance is no longer there. Consequently, you might start to feel more desirable and appreciative of a body you recorded and had a chance to look at through the eyes of someone who wants to have sex with you.

We should remember that sexting can be dangerous, especially when it involves photos and videos. However, when played safely, it can result in boosted confidence and a list of hot things you want to try. Because of these experiences I am lucky to be coming out of quarantine healthier, happier and richer in information about my desires.

Isolating Separately from my Long-term Partner 

By Rhianna Hurren-Myers

For a whole host of different reasons, my long-term boyfriend and I made the decision to spend lockdown apart and with our own families. Whilst it was the right choice at the time given that we lived near enough to still see each other regularly once it was declared safe to do so, several factors made the initial situation much harder. I was navigating my final term of undergrad, so was incredibly stressed, and my mother was working as a nurse on a COVID-19 ward which means we still have to take social distancing very seriously. 

Initially, Facetime became our new best friend. We’d end each long day with an hour chatting about the mundanities of lockdown life, and I think it got both of us through the day. It is now safe to meet in person, and our lockdown love has evolved into evening walks, barbecues and picnics. Consciously staying far apart from someone you care about was, and still is, a very difficult adjustment, one that goes against the very nature of social interaction – let alone relationships. Though our relationship was briefly forced online, COVID-19 has permanently altered our love language and changed the nature of our communication. I truly believe that our technological adaptation in the face of a global crisis has strengthened our relationship.