Easing My Loneliness during the Coronavirus lock down

When I first heard the announcements of the Covid-19 lock down, the first thing I told my friend on the phone was, ‘It’s confirmed. I am going to die single!’.  This was because at first, I was caught up in a roller coaster of mixed emotions.

I am 34 years old. I have been single for quite a while now. And quite a while here is more than 5 years. I long ago had a plan. One that involved having 2 kids and a great husband. Yet in the back of my mind there was always that inevitable clock that weighed heavily on my mind. Then this?!!! How am I supposed to get a dude in the times of Coronavirus? What unprecedented territory!

To be honest, if there was a time when being single was rubbed pretty well in my face, it was this. When we were asked to stay home – and the closure of bars and clubs (the place I always run to whenever I feel down or too lonely).

No more parties? No more family gatherings? For a moment, I stopped worrying about living single. It now became clear that I was going to die alone in my little apartment. If I become ill, who will come to see me? I even started feeling claustrophobic.

How I hated attending family gatherings because I used to dread the “Have you met someone?” question. Now, I would give anything to attend. The isolation was wearing heavy on me. Oh how I wish I had that ‘someone’ right now to keep me company. I needed a distraction from all these feelings of sadness and loneliness.

And the news wasn’t helping…

a woman looking at the statistics during lockdown

I never used to be the kind of person who tuned into the news. I used to stay updated in the office through colleagues as they discussed the news of the day instead. That way, I could pick and choose what I listened to. Blocking out the bad news? No problemo. Just hum a little tune in my head. You should see me now. I am glued to every news segment possible. I need to know everything about the COVID-19 virus and how best to protect my lonely self.

During the earlier days, the news was nothing short of depressing. Numbers of cases increasing… not to mention the significant numbers of people dying… Then there was the worry that maybe, just maybe, you came into contact with someone who had the virus already. Digesting this news alone, wasn’t pretty.

My early days in self-isolation

One thing that hit me hard was how much time I had on my hands. My initial plan for distracting myself from all the the depressing news was de-cluttering and getting my house in order. Unfortunately, did you know this is something that won’t take you even more than two days to finish if you are bored enough?

What next? Since the news were all about the Coronavirus, I decided to only tune in once a day. The rest of my time became Netflix time involving laziness and a mega binge watch of my favorite TV shows. Fun as it sounds, that routine gets old too after a week or so.

So What Next?

First off, much as the number of cases keep rising, we are told there is the hope and encouragement that so long as we stick to the guidelines, eventually we will be fine… that we will get used to self isolation.

Ummmm…. Not when you are alone! I was massively feeling the negative effects of social distancing!

All I could think about was the future. I even started thinking that maybe I was a little too hard on some of the douche bags I had dumped in the past. Maybe if I was a little patient with Joshua’s lack of ambition, eventually, he would have found something to get excited about… Was I too impatient?

This period of self isolation has been daunting for me I must admit. How I wish I had Joshua by my side … lol. Oh wait! Let me not cry over spilt milk for too long…

Tinder and Bumble No Longer Doing it for me

Much as I have been relying on the bar scene to meet people I have also simultaneously been dating online. I have used many popular dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble,. However, this time it is different.

Before this whole mess, I used dating apps whenever I wanted to meet someone quickly within my area. So basically, if I was bored and wanted someone to keep me company, the apps were my go-to place. So I wasn’t really too keen on making meaningful connections, it was more about satisfying an urge rather than having meaningful company or someone decent to talk to.

But now I want more and it’s not that easy. Physical dates are clearly out. A month ago, I would have given or done anything to find love. But much as the thought of being within touching distance with a potential boyfriend is steamier, it has now become the scariest thought on my mind.

I had to accept that such is love in times of the Coronavirus. Yes, it is a scary situation. But you know what? Much as I had to self isolate I still need people in my life and not the type of guy I was meeting on the nearby hookup dating apps. I had to find a way to adapt. I realized then more than ever how having someone to talk to was going to make a great difference in coping with the loneliness.

Switching focus to online dating sites instead

woman chatting during the covid-19 lockdown via video laptop chat

I have mentioned about how I used to like keeping things casual. That doesn’t mean that I never yearned for deeper and more meaningful connections online… they just never happened.

Well, after realizing and accepting that swiping for fast dates wasn’t a sane and safe option for me anymore, I decided to try out InterracialDatingCentral.com – a site that is more specialized in dating and helping singles forge long-term relationships, with a proven track record.

What I found out really quickly

There were a lot of people gathering on the site looking to chat with others! I’d assumed that maybe this would not be the case but obviously many others, both men and women, had the same idea that I did.

So I quickly and easily registered which involved creating a well thought out profile. I mean it’s not like I had some place to be. Time is all I had. Here are a few things I made sure to do right….

Killer profile

I always used to rush through the profile creation process on apps. I have an excuse for that… lack of time. Well, now that I have it, I figured, it was about time I stepped things up. Here are some of the essential components of my profile that I paid attention to:

Profile picture

My profile pictures on apps used to pictures of me in front of a plain background. But after seeing rounds of the pictures that people have been posting on the internet during self isolation, I decided to add some activity into my picture. So my profile pictures (which I change often) are pictures of me doing something interesting like baking, painting… At a glance, one is able to see my interests. I also add other pictures that tell a story of what I am all about. And all these are new photos taken during the lock down.

An interesting ‘About Me’ section

Even though my pictures speak for themselves, I figured I’d get more potential mates hitting up my inbox if I shared a little more interesting stuff about myself (Have you seen how creative people have become on social media and the internet in general?). If you don’t step it up, you lose and providing relevance to the coronavirus situation in my description has helped!

Regularly updating my profile

When I registered on InterracialDatingCentral, I got an email from them which was speaking about how constantly updating your profile makes you relevant. Something as simple as adding a simple line or rewording your profile makes you appear on the ‘most active’ list of members.

So, for me, it’s the profile picture that I am capitalizing through. And every week, it’s a picture of me doing something different. That way, if someone didn’t think cooking is fun enough, maybe painting will catch their attention.

Communicating with as many people as possible

Now, there are the simple communication skills that we have all heard of. What self isolation has taught me is to give any potential mate a chance. Before, I used to read through people’s messages, looking for deal breakers and reasons to write them off. Well, that had to change.

Today, when someone hits my inbox, I am more likely to reply. Now more than ever, I have realized the importance of simple social interactions that I used to take for granted and sometimes ignored. So, even if not romantic, I am saner when I just talk to someone about how their day has been without any romantic expectations or pressure.

How to make a long distance relationship work

“I won’t touch you with a ten-foot pole”. Now we literally have to keep that in mind. In our case it’s six feet.

Social distancing, self isolation, quarantine, lock down… All these phrases and words that have come up after the Coronavirus was declared a pandemic mean that dating and romance must adjust. If your special someone wasn’t with you when a lock down was announced, you now have to go the long distance relationship way.

The same applies for singles. Now, we have to rely on online dating features that support instant long distance communication. Skype, Face Time and Video chats provided by online dating sites have become the closest thing to meeting in person.

The other day, I was chatting to this guy and he suggested that I join him for a drink. So he was like: “So what are you having my lady”? I ‘asked’ for chardonnay (this was definitely a bottle I had in my house). We sat, there and talked via Skype long into the night, until the bottle had long emptied, and had a good laugh out of it.

My online dating experience in a nutshell

You are not going to believe what happened as soon as I took my profile live. Put simply, I have never received that much attention on a dating site. Clearly, online dating has become the go-to place for singles to connect and share their experiences. Don’t even get me started on the number of flirts and messages flooding my inbox. And as I mentioned earlier, I have the time to reply to every single one who has messaged. The more I do that, the more I am realizing that there so many people of substance that I passed on in the past because of being too judgmental and relying on what was in front of me at a quick glance.

It’s all about building meaningful connections

One thing that I have noticed that’s different is that men are actually taking their time and are having conversations. They are chatting more and the conversations are becoming more frequent and more consistent. For the first time, I am actually connecting with men online and I am building both friendships and romantic connections. People are sharing more about themselves and in turn it has become easier for me to do the sane, even on my profile.

Now, I have the opportunity to meet someone  and establish an emotional connection. Given the self isolation, I have the time to actually find out what the man is all about and drop those that aren’t adding value to me and, therefore, maintain engagement with those that genuinely want to take it to another level once this Coronavirus crisis blows over.

Make the Best out of a Bad Situation

a woman staring out of her balcony during covid-19 lockdown

One good thing that has come out of this crisis is that I have found the time to get to know someone first, as opposed to rushing into meeting someone, then getting to know them later.

I no longer feel as alone as I initially felt at the start of the lock down because I chose to accept the situation and adapt to it. Bond now, have fun and distract yourself, and then meet later when the crisis has been contained.

I am maintaining social interactions with friends and family by catching up on all the silly and ‘not so silly’ ways they are coping with social distancing. This has really diminished the feelings of loneliness that I initially had.

Now I am concentrating on building connections and relationships. And this is one way that living under ‘house arrest’ has forced me to re-learn the way I date online and has shifted my habits… hopefully permanently.

Even though this epidemic has changed the way we interact with each other somehow, pushing us apart has forced people to cultivate better communication skills and come up with ways to reach out and offer support, which are helping us stay together even when we are apart. I hope THAT continues.