Being single in lockdown

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

26th February 2021

By Alina Khan

Being a young, single woman used to be an exciting and adventurous time. From going for drinks, to dinner, to fun days out, the possibilities and choices were endless. Jump forward 365 days and we find ourselves reminiscing about all the fun we had before, now all a distant memory. Being a single woman in the Covid-19 dating scene can only be described as being thrown into the deep-end of a swimming pool with absolutely no arm bands, with hundreds of other very confused people who can’t seem to navigate their way through the water either. One of my fellow single girl friends admitted, ‘being in a lockdown is bad as it is, but try being in a lockdown single! That’s a whole other challenge’.

Sadly, she was right. Solely relying on digital interactions to build romantic connections with complete strangers is something none of us were ever prepared for when we were thrown into the deep-end of the dating pool. I found myself desperately trying to keep myself afloat with the fear that I would watch my love life drown.

With people having nothing better to do than be on their phones, dating apps have enticed many single souls to immerse themselves into the hubbub of digital dating, which, might I add, has seen users in the UK rise to 10 million. Being single myself, I voluntarily threw myself into the dating pool by downloading Tinder, with simply no other reason than, ‘what have I got to lose?’. Feeling like a little girl with a new toy, I eagerly found myself swiping left and right, treating it like a game of Candy Crush. Initially, I saw this as something which could fill my boring and meaningless days with at least some sort of human interaction, because in my mind this was all temporary. I frequently found myself saying, ‘I’ll be able to meet people in the pub soon enough, so this will keep me busy until then’. How naive could I be? Fast forward three months of me using the app and we still find ourselves still very much in a lockdown, with normal face-to-face interactions still far horizon and this is when the excitement of singleness began to wear off. I very soon found myself running out of things to say when speaking to people, which had never happened to me before.

I began to question myself- ‘am I boring?’, ‘why can’t I think of something?’, ‘is this normal?’. I asked my friends what they thought, ‘It’s the same for everyone, no one has anything to say because no one is doing anything!’. ‘We’re not boring, we are just living in a really boring time’. It was a relief to know that others were in the same boat as me and feeling a sense of despair when it came to interacting with others online. Having nothing to say has become normal, as people’s lives become increasingly more uneventful and with life not looking to return to normality quite yet, being single doesn’t seem all too attractive any more. However, this difficult time has allowed me to reflect as I’ve come to teach myself how to cope with being single in lockdown.

Being single in a global pandemic has taught me to rely on no one else but myself, to enjoy spending time in my own company and not needing to constantly fill it with male-attention. At the start of lockdown, I felt I had to download the dating apps and keep-up with the fast-moving dating scene because everyone seemed to be and I didn’t want to feel out of touch. But it didn’t seem to bring me any joy, if anything it just made me feel lonelier. I would now much rather watch a film in my pyjamas with a glass of wine and a pizza by myself, than engage in a dry and uninteresting conversation with a stranger I will probably never meet just for the sake of it ‘because I’m single’.

Once I actually took myself out of the metaphorical swimming pool and focused on myself, I felt much more relaxed and happier. Being single in lockdown has truly taught me how to be alone. Of course, I don’t mean I plan to be alone for the rest of my life, but once life does return to normality, I will be in a much more confident and stable state to get back into that swimming pool.

But now I think to myself, if I could get through some of the toughest times by myself, it will mean that I will not waste my time on men who simply don’t add anything to my already happy life when I’m alone.

Being single in lockdown is actually quite peaceful because if you don’t want to put the effort in, you simply don’t have to. Life will go back to normal and we will be able to enjoy the social side of being single, but for now finding love can very much take a back seat as we should take this time to find enjoyment in other things and look after ourselves.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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