This probably isn’t a crazy hot take here but dating during a pandemic has been rough to say the very least. Honestly, meeting people, in general, is already pretty difficult and requires a lot of effort, so to throw in the curveballs of a pandemic just makes it a confirmed punch in the gut.
I’ve been on-and-off Hinge and Bumble for about a year now and have talked to a handful of guys, none of which were mentally stable (but who am I, a seasoned depressed person, to talk?). While they all had their own *uNiQue* personalities, the one thing they all shared was a desperate need to connect with someone. Again, I am not one to judge. The beginning of the quarantine presented a lot of us with an unfamiliar emotional landscape and as social creatures, it was hard to cut off our line to the world so unexpectedly. We were forced to spend all of our time in the confines of our home with nothing but work and our inner thoughts. Mental lines were blurred and the distinction between our work life and personal life nearly ceased to exist. Many of us found ourselves in a depression soup and couldn’t figure out how we got stirred into it.
There were two types of people desperately seeking some form of connection. On one hand, you had people who leaned heavily into their emotions and sought out another person to vent out their frustrations and deep emotional findings from their shadow work. And on the other hand, you had those who were not ready to face their emotions and needed someone that they could escape with. Whichever group they fell into, all I knew was that I was only needed to help carry emotional baggage that was not fully vet through. Now, just to get this out of the way, I understand that not every single person is like this. A lot of what I am saying comes from years of mindless mistakes turned lessons learned, a strengthened intuition, and the hypervigilance that comes with being a woman in this cursed patriarchal society. Anyway, back to our scheduled programming outlining why trying to date during a pandemic is just asking to attract bozos.
The big red flag that I noticed across the board is that a lot of these guys were former f*ckboys who claimed that the quarantine made them realize that it was time for them to start taking things seriously and for them to start looking for a serious relationship. A complete 180 (and the supposed emotional revelations that come along with it) within a matter of 3-6 months of the quarantine. While chatting it up on Zoom dates or during COVID-safe walks around the neighborhood, I noticed that for them it was a game of beating around the bush and avoiding having to say they are deprived. Quarantine really had men off their game and watching them struggle to be “nice” was entertaining at first, but the novelty wore off quickly and it became increasingly clear that spending my time with these guys was more draining than anything else.
Why did I engage with people who clearly needed to spend more time alone? The simple answer is that I wanted to improve my social skills for when the time comes to actually go out on dates again. I don’t think that everyone needs to be productive during this time, but I have been taking this time to focus on maintenance in certain parts of my life where I know I lack – namely IRL interactions with new people.
2020 definitely brought a lot of people together in that we can all agree that this pandemic has helped us reshape what we prioritize and how we spend our time/money. I’ve seen people use this pandemic experience as a way to relate to people they would have otherwise never spoken to or reached out to. In that sense, I think it’s nice. I will say, in regards to dating, these emotions connected to seeking relatability to our fellow man and fostering more intimate relationships through that relatability have given a lot of people the wrong idea of romantic relationships and where they should start – aka not from the trauma and pain you are dealing with because of a pandemic. It doesn’t take galaxy brain thinking to know that any kind of relationship starting from such a broken place is always a horrible idea and just doubles down on more pain.
Through all of this, it’s been interesting to see the roles reversed for men and women. I’ve noticed a lot of women regaining agency and sussing out men who are emotional newborns trying to grasp onto some semblance of intimacy by attempting to jump headfirst into relationships. Nonetheless, it’s all very tiring and leaves me happier than ever to spend my time alone. I can confidently say that dating is extremely low on my list and I can thank all the guys who are coming to grips with their emotions as of recently to thank for that.