I mentioned on my instagram I would write a post all about the truth about dating in lock down. So here it is. When I quit dating in February I hadn’t quite expected it to go on this long. I made the decision to be on my own for a while after a dating disappointment, this time one that hit me pretty hard. But also my birthday was approaching and I had real mixed feelings about it. I wrote a post how I felt about my birthday here. The last thing I wanted to do was try and use dating to make me feel better about getting older, plus I didn’t think it fair a guy might match with me one day, a 38 year old and wake up the next and I had aged by a year ha ha.
So my plan had always been to have a few months to myself. Enjoy my birthday. I had lots of things in the diary and a couple of trips in March & April and I figured somewhere in late April I’d dip my toe back in the dating water. I also think I was pretty clear by now about what I did and didn’t want. I’d had a year of dating on and off and I knew I was ready for a proper relationship, but with someone not just anyone.
And then of course corona hit.
And to begin with I kinda reveled in it. I already worked from home and I already wasn’t going on dates etc so the fact that everyone else was stuck in at the weekends too kinda made me feel happier about having no grand plans myself. I kept myself busy with diy and dog walks and on the whole I was pretty happy. Don’t get me wrong the situation scared the shit out of me and I hated not seeing my friends, but I hadn’t planned on dating anyway so what was the big deal?
But as time ticked on and boredom set in I reinstalled a dating app on my phone. Ironically it’s one that’s designed to match you with people you’ve crossed paths with, but no one was going anywhere! So it was kinda pointless. But in there was a guy I’d crossed paths with months before. We started chatting. He was actually in Australia at the time and despite the time difference we messaged a lot and once he was back in the UK, along with half the UK population it’s seems, we jumped on HouseParty for my first ever video date.
It was fun and he was cool don’t get me wrong, but the truth is for me a first date is all about being able to look into someone’s eyes, to see them face to face. You can get along great on message and even on the phone but until you’re sat across from that person you’re never gonna know if you truly fancy them and if there’s that connection. First dates are about feeling chemistry. The way they look at you. Hearing them laugh. Seeing them smile. Thinking he just touched my leg? Did he mean to touch my leg? Is he gonna kiss me. God I wanna kiss him. None of that happens over video. It’s lost in translation and laggy freezing screens thanks to a million people all on the same video app.
We messaged a bit after. Exchanged a few funny Covid related memes. But it just kinda fizzled and I kinda let it.
Because the other truth of isolation dating is there is nothing to talk about apart from Covid!
When I rejoined a couple more of the apps a few weeks later that’s all anyone could talk about. OK Cupid saw a 900% rise in mentions of Covid on people’s profiles. And I saw it too! From cheesy lines like “ If Covid doesn’t take you out can I?" To suggested introductory questions on Bumble being Covid related, you just couldn't escape it as a topic. Gone were the usual “ What you up to this weekend” kind of questions, because what was the point? The answer was the same for everyone “I'm staying home and trying not to drink myself to death"
And of course the apps were full of bored horny guys. Now don’t get my wrong I downloaded them out of some boredom too, but the truth was I’m looking for something serious, whether that’s now or after Covid. But the majority of guys were on there for quick dirty chat to pass the time. Opening messages became the aubergine & water emojis and not much else and it became very clear that now was not the time to be finding that someone special.
That’s not to say that I haven’t chatted to some great guys. I had another video date with a guy who I spent several weeks of lock down talking to. Weeks of helping each other with quiz questions, watching tv programmes together over Whatsapp and supporting each others trips to the supermarket with jokey banter. But with lock down rules it couldn’t really ever progress anywhere. At the time you weren't allowed to meet up with anyone, so you can't build that genuine connection that keeps that person in your life and so things just fizzle to nothing. That guy decided he wanted to focus on friends and family rather than be on the apps and deleted them all.
A few weeks later I spotted him on my Tinder, no doubt downloaded again about of boredom! 🤷🏼♀️
So why do I keep deleting and re downloading? The truth is what keeps you going back and swiping is the possibility. That elusive moment when you match with someone you’re excited about and the chats great and things just flow the way they should. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s such a good feeling.
I always liken online dating to what people say about childbirth. That your brain blocks out the true memory of how painful it actually was and that’s why you end up convincing yourself to do it all over again
But the pandemic had a massive impact on people. I believe it made everyone think about things more carefully. It made the guy I had my first ever app date with back in 2019 who moved away to Somerset, reappear back in my messages and profess how much he missed me and how much he wanted to try something with us. And for a minute it looked like lock down might have been the catalyst for us finally ending up together. But even that only lasted a few days before distance and the realities of everything happening meant once and for all it was over.
It wasn’t just him. The pandemic triggered a lot of reappearances in my WhatsApp. Whether they came from boredom or a genuine reexamination of themselves because of this major event happening the “ Hey sorry about disappearing” or “Remember me” messages pinged through on a weekly basis. Some good. The majority instantly deleted.
So where am I now? I don’t think now is the right time for me to meet someone. Now I don't want to be totally negative. I know friends and followers who have started dating in lock down, they’re happy and they’re making it work. But for me I’m just not convinced I’ll find that connection I’m after, when so much of it for me relies on physically meeting. Having been isolated on my own since March and not dated since Feb I’m not gonna lie I’m pretty bloody desperate for some human contact ha ha but I’ve never been the type to just hook up anyway.
The honest truth is sometimes I get angry that this pandemic is robbing me of the ability to meet someone. Even though I am totally fine on my own and I love my life something that these last 10 weeks has really shown me, I want someone in my life. I’ve always known that. I want someone to kiss, hold hands with, get coffee and walk the dog with and whilst we’re in this pandemic none of that is possible. But you know me! Despite everything I’m an optimistic romantic so I honestly believe life and love has a way of working out.
So I’ll keep busy with my diy and maybe the odd swipe too because I guess you never know!
Please tell me your lock down dating stories, I'd love to hear them.