Love in Lockdown: how we’re (trying to) date in quarantine

If you thought dating was hard before, Coronavirus has taken it to another level, says Alice

Navigating the murky waters of dating and relationships is difficult enough at the best of times, but dating in 2020 is a total minefield. With all of us on lockdown right now, it’s the norm to meet people via dating apps such as Hinge, Tinder or Bumble, and let’s face it, that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Perhaps you’ve got friends who may have met their significant other from one of these dating apps or possibly know people who are engaged or, more terrifyingly, married. This is all well and good, but where on earth do you start when all you want to do is get to know someone and then a worldwide pandemic happens? Welcome to lockdown love.

Where on earth do you start when all you want to do is get to know someone and then a worldwide pandemic happens?

COVID-19 has changed the entire dating landscape. Under more ‘normal’ circumstances, you’d try to seek out specific characteristics and qualities in a potential date, but these comfortable familiarities can be tricky to identify when you can’t physically meet. It’s human nature to seek out the familiar, but with lockdown rules in place, it’s important to familiarise ourselves with the new. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and to meet new people, even if it is over a dating app.

It’s human nature to seek out the familiar, but with lockdown rules in place, it’s important to familiarise ourselves with the new.

Although you don’t have the added benefit of meeting someone in the comfortable and familiar setting of a pub or cafe, it doesn’t mean you can’t establish meaningful relationships. Even if you see them in person for the first time over Zoom, there could be some advantages: perhaps the lack of physical interaction could be a good thing in some ways. Having sex is off the cards, so you have plenty of time for talking, getting to know each other and perhaps making deeper connections.

Even if you see them in person for the first time over Zoom, there could be some advantages.

That being said, if you’re finding yourself mindlessly swiping through potential partners on dating apps out of boredom (we’ve all been there) and this is getting you down rather than bringing you joy, dating in itself could be acting as an avoidance tactic for you during this time. By talking to loads of people on apps, you could be trying to distract yourself from what you’re really dealing with right now – which is a huge, earthshaking event. Above anything else, now is a time for self-care in whatever form that may take for you, even if that feels hopeless and upsetting right now. Lots of us are feeling scared, and it’s natural to use various coping mechanisms to get through the day, whether that be an intensive skincare regime, baking, or using dating apps.

By talking to loads of people on apps, you could be trying to distract yourself from what you’re really dealing with right now – which is a huge, earthshaking event.

If you felt unsettled or stressed in your dating life pre-COVID, perhaps now is a time to focus on yourself, and think about what you need rather than projecting that energy into someone else. Finding the balance with love and self-love is a boundary we all have to figure out. One thing is for certain though and that is that dating should enrich you as a person and bring value to your life. If this is not the case, then perhaps consider the energy you’re giving to the process and take a step back.

If you felt unsettled or stressed in your dating life pre-COVID, perhaps now is a time to focus on yourself.

Amid everything that is going on at the moment, being kind to yourself and getting through the day is enough. Yes, we are social creatures and as long as we have access to technology, people will find new ways to date. But regardless of how you are spending this time in quarantine, perhaps now is a time to connect with the simple, unprompted joy in our lives without possessing any expectations for what the future may hold.

What’s lockdown loving looked like for you? Let us know in the comments.

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