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Dating in the time of coronavirus: what’s it like finding love in lockdown

14 November, 2020 - 19:00
What's it like to date during lockdown? Stock image Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

What's it like to date during lockdown? Stock image Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Milenko Bokan

With everything going on in the world finding a new partner might be at the back of most people’s mind, but for many dating has continued this year despite the pandemic.

Dating apps provide a way for people to meet during the coronavirus pandemic Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTODating apps provide a way for people to meet during the coronavirus pandemic Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

So what’s it like trying to find the love of your life in such an uncertain time? One woman told us her account of finding love in lockdown.

If you had told me at the start of the year that I would be sat writing down my experiences of dating during a global pandemic then I’d have thought you mad but here I am.

Lockdown and the coronavirus has changed so much for a lot of us; mostly bad but there have been some good changes too.

Couples seperated by lockdown look forward to when they can meet again. Stock image   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoCouples seperated by lockdown look forward to when they can meet again. Stock image Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A lot of us have had time to think about what is important in our lives.

For me spending months watching friends laugh with their partners over Zoom calls and watching my own parents look after each other made me realise that perhaps I was missing something.

This was only emphasised by the crippling loneliness I began to feel as lockdown eased.

While it didn’t seem the ideal time to start dating, the idea of being able to talk to new people appealed and if I found a new friend or something more than that was an additional benefit.

I’ve never been one to put myself out there and open myself up to the world of online dating but it seemed that was the only way I was going to meet people with the restrictions in place.

I’d never swiped left or right and as far as I was concerned a superlike was the description of my face when I saw a large chocolate cake.

I was pretty much clueless.

Fortunately I could employ the assistance of a friend with much more experience than me who helped me find the platform that would be right for me.

There’s a lot more out there than I had realised and for anyone reading this and thinking they’d like to do the same I’d advise you “shop around”.

I settled on a site called Hinge and spent far too long obsessing over pictures and a few words for my profile.

Then without warning I launched myself out into the great internet abyss.

It was not a hit a minute kind of experience.

It took awhile for me to get into the swing of things, and then longer for someone to “match” with me.

I quickly learnt a lot about myself and the sort of person I was looking for which in all honestly surprised me.

After a while though I’d spoken to a few people from varying different places; some in Suffolk, some very much outside and I’d even spotted an old school friend and an ex work colleague.

An old housemate also found me and politely told me to get off the London part of the platform.

The app gives you the opportunity to video or voice call your dates which especially now seems like a good way to do have a more personal chat.

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No meeting strangers face to face and no covid restrictions.

I did try a couple of virtual dates, which for someone who hasn’t really been on an in person date before was an interesting experience.

Both of these dates were video cooking dates; the idea being that I’d provide a recipe for the desert (I bake but don’t like cooking) and they pick the main.

It was quite a fulfilling date idea as both parties could teach each other something new and there wasn’t so much awkward empty silence to deal with.

The food produced was not always great, the conversation average and nothing became of these particular dates.

I kept swiping and chatting and had almost given up on the whole platform when I met Ben.

He was kind, he was clever and handsome.

We started talking and it moved from there quite quickly.

We had a video chat and decided to meet up in person.

Sadly coronavirus restrictions limited what we could do and where we could go but long walks and restaurant visits proved popular.

Things progressed well and I fell well and truly for Ben.

It had crossed my mind that lockdown could return at any time and that I should be emotionally prepared for that.

But I will be honest with you, when the rumours started up of lockdown 2 I was not.

At that point we’d been dating for just over a month; long enough for us to have strong feelings for each other but too short a time for us to lock down together.

It was gut wrenching and I cried.

It took some time to adjust to and I can’t help but feel for people who were separated from their partners and family members for a longer period the first time around.

I can’t imagine what pain that caused you but you must be strong people.

As for us, it’s a waiting game to see what happens next. We call and video chat but it’s tough for both of us.

We wait for the day we can see each other again.

Would I change my experience? No of course not.

But I do see the irony in the thing that brought us together having led to us being apart again.

Lockdown giveth and it taketh away.


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