Reclaiming Being Single Will Help All in Second Lockdown

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The announcement of a further lockdown has caused fierce political debate, gloomy economic forecasts, and it perhaps signals the final straw for the chances of us singletons getting into relationships this year. It is logical to be angry and disappointed against these new restrictions. 

Looking around at the forced closures of local businesses is very hard to accept. The pain of the limits placed yet again on our personal lives is real and immense. It is normal to be upset about this and it is never selfish or wrong to have strong feelings about current events. Compliance with the second lockdown, however, is important to its success. Therefore, being single is the variable that needs to be central to the country’s coping strategy.  

It is illogical to not comply with the month-long lockdown with this being the latest and maybe last drive to get the R-rate down. Cases have gone up and preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed in peak winter makes sense and is sadly necessary. Going to meet dates is not going to help small businesses or restart the economy. It is another chance of transmission. By its definition a date is non-essential, and it is the opposite of minimising contact. If you want venues and establishments to reopen quickly, then these new laws need to be taken seriously. The system of quarantine only works if a high level of compliance is achieved which means personally abstaining from illegal, romantic, or sexual, meetups. 

Leeds was about to enter Tier 3, joining which would have been a total of more than eight million people living in a high-risk area. Those of us in the north must follow the law and single adults are a crucial group whose actions are highly influential to the number of cases. There have been numerous divides in this pandemic, but one which greatly affects well-being and is tied to age is singledom. Having our freedom constrained is terrible, but we need to be clear to everyone that there is nothing wrong or inherently negative about being single. 

Cuffing season: early nights, cold weather, and cutesy images of couples embraced in fleeces. I joined Tinder this semester and saw quite a few references about needing to get with someone soon and fast. There is always great pressure on young people to be dating or searching for a relationship, and this can be harmful. Failure to obtain a love life is often another self-imposed measure to dictate self-worth. Another metric to judge yourself. Don’t be harsh on yourself, it is very easy to compare yourself to others, very natural to lose perspective of how important being in a relationship is. The thought of still being single due to the pandemic is unfair, unjustifiable even, but the current situation needs to be seen as just unlucky. 

Every individual using dating apps needs to assess if spending time on them is self-care or not. I found Tinder a waste of time and eventually detrimental to my mental health. Repeating facts about yourself to strangers each night and swiping after a long day, wasn’t proper switching off time and didn’t help with my stress. Delete it, pause it or continue with dating apps as long as they remain enjoyable and fun. Take this as a month as a break. 

Use this month to develop longer conversations. If they don’t want to wait for you or pressure you to date in the first few messages then they are not worth your time. Tinder is introducing a video call function to its platform, increasing internet safety with fewer swapped details. If you have chemistry you’ll know, brilliant, and if it’s clear that there’s no spark, knowing before meeting in person is a blessing. Every date or chat can be perceived as part of your experience, not forced by the external crisis going on.  

Take your time with online dating. Find the positives of being single which are plentiful and profound. Reclaiming being single is about protecting well-being in the worst of situations. Love waits. Self-worth, happiness, and joy are found from within and help powerfully protect the at-risk.  

Séamus O’Hanlon

Image source: Psycatgames