With October being World Mental Health month, we cannot ignore the difficulties that many single people are currently facing during this pandemic. Of course, it’s been a struggle for us all no matter what the circumstances, but single people face challenges that are hard to overcome. After all, how do you navigate the dating world in times of chaos? One option is to distance yourself entirely in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from the threat of Covid-19, but this can have damaging consequences on your mental health. As social creatures, we rely on social interaction and connections in the real world. When this is stripped away, it can feel incredibly lonely, and this can lead to severe depression.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Amongst the sadness and frustration and worries, there are positives to come out of this. Things that will shape people and things that will teach us a lot about ourselves. Let’s take a look at the highs and the lows of being single during a pandemic.
The feeling of missing out
With the responsibility to distance yourself from others and put off in-person dating comes the wave of despair and anger. It’s a big chunk of your life that might have to be sacrificed and you may find yourself feeling envious of those who found partners just before Covid-19. For many people, this year has had devastating consequences. We’ve missed out on events and occasions that we looked forward to all year round. For single people who have had to take a break from the dating world, it can feel like something was cruelly taken from them. It doesn’t really feel like a choice – it feels like the decision was made for them.
Introverts can recharge their batteries
Social interactions and dating can be exhausting for introverts. You need time to retreat, recharge, and recuperate. In contrast to extroverts, many introverts will find it easier to adapt to social distancing and isolating within their homes because that’s what is often described as their ‘safe place.’ At the moment, it’s advised to keep social interactions and meet ups to a minimum if it’s someone you don’t live with, which alleviates some pressure for introverts and those with anxiety. Virtual dating can be a welcome change in 2020, as it provides an easier and more effective way of getting to know someone in more comfortable surroundings. There’s also an easier escape – if you don’t like what they are saying, you can simply end the video call.
The lack of intimacy
Not everyone requires or longs for intimacy, but for many single people it’s something that has been greatly missed. It’s not just about casual sex or the thrill of meeting someone new, it’s about the deep connection and conversations that you have with someone that is missed the most. According to a study, many people in relationships have found that it’s helped them cope through the pandemic. Not surprisingly, single people have reported an increase in loneliness during these difficult times. It’s provided a real challenge, even for those who enjoy spending time in their own company. Going from regularly seeing people to almost no socializing or dating can be a huge shock to the system – it’s not something that anyone could have prepared for. Not to mention it’s hard to navigate the dating world during these highly unusual times. There’s no clear set of rules, making it harder for single people to get back to dating.
Building a deeper connection with me, myself and I
Naturally, it’s important that you do love yourself and look after yourself, but that’s easier for some people than it is for others. However, when you’re forced into these situations where you are spending an increasing amount of time alone, it’s even more necessary that you’re enjoying that time with yourself. Those who usually spend a lot of time in the company of others have struggled with the sudden change, but one thing that has become apparent is the need to enjoy your own company instead. New habits and changes in perspective can take a while to take hold, but it appears that more single people will become accustomed to doing activities by themselves and building a deeper connection through this.
Seeing happy couples on social media
It can get irritating to scroll through social media and see happy, loved-up couples (or so it appears) isolating together and expressing their love to the world. It’s a cold, hard reminder of how your situation differs to theirs. While it may feel upsetting, it’s important to remember that these are just snippets of someone’s day. The good parts are displayed to the world, but not the bad. Isolating with a partner might seem like a dream, but that can also bring about many difficulties for couples. It shouldn’t be seen as black and white – everyone’s struggles are simply different.
A new sense of freedom
While some people have struggled immensely with the lockdown, for some single people it’s been a welcome relief. A chance to escape from the usual pressures and stresses in life and embrace this new ‘quiet’ time. Modern life is a challenge in itself and there’s something about the fast-paced lifestyle that doesn’t agree with everyone. Sometimes, you just need everything to slow down so you can catch your breath. Juggling a career, family, dating, and other responsibilities can become too much for just one person, and you might find yourself craving some alone time more than ever. A well-needed break from society’s pressures. If you live alone, this heightened sense of independence is a huge positive to take away from this.
Being single during a pandemic has presented both positives and negatives. While it’s been lonely and isolating for some, it’s also allowed many single people to reflect on their lives, slow down, and take some time out to learn more about themselves. Things are far from normal right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop dating altogether. There are steps that you can take to date safely while ensuring you are looking after yourself and protecting your mental health. Happy dating!