There’s nothing like a pandemic to stir up your dating life. The virus has upended the economy, public health systems, and politics of nearly every country in the world. Some more than others. People’s social lives, livelihoods, and personal lives have seriously “borne” the change.
What will happen:
Here’s my take on what will happen now, the next coming months, and possibly the future. Some of it is personal, but most of it is observational and based on my analysis on the nature of dating.
More than ever. People will be extremely intentional with their time. Corona not only has created a health risk- but a social and economic one. Is he/she worth risking A, X, Y, and Z?
It begs the question on whether dating this person (being in close contact) is worth the health risk of not only me but all the other people involved in both of our lives?
Also, with people losing their jobs and money growing tighter, can I afford to continue to date this person? Where have my priorities shifted?
Casual relationships without aim, without intention, without substance will cease to exist.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are already coupled or married, or interim serious (pushed to living together now), all those little weak spots in the relationship will begin to show and…crack. Because there’s. No. Escape.
Corona will test the casual, the interim, and the serious relationship all alike!
Desperation, Indulgence, and Control
Because corona is so stressful and overwhelming and simply, life-altering, desperation will rear its horns. People will want to be super conscious and pragmatic, but people are way too human.
You could slip up. Because you’re lonely. You’re thirsty. You’re lonely and thirsty. Lonely cause you’re thirsty. Thirsty cause you’re lonely. You know the loop.
I don’t know if this would result in doing something as novel and risky (corona-wise) as having a one-night stand with a complete stranger. But this could be as innocuous and still as guilty-ridden as sober texting your ex. I Am guilty of that, and got a less-than-an-enthusiastic reply.
The point is more than anything, we all are seeking Some control in our lives. What seems, psychologically, the best way to do that? Something risky and something big.
That’s why you see people get divorced or quit their jobs abruptly. To seize control of their lives. Outside of corona, that happens. Corona now lurking in the background heightens our desire for change.
There comes the soul-changing. With the majority of the US, under the shelter-in-place laws, citizens face this almost abysmal vacuum of time (that was once dedicated to their work, their lifestyle choices, and leisure). Also known as distractions.
“Divided we stand, United we fall,” I heard some form of, somewhere from a friend. Corona has unlocked the most devilish animalistic urges and the angelic altruistic notions of humans alike. Hate crimes and front-line worker campaigns. Music in balconies and discrimination. Panic-buying, social distancing, and zooming are our new norms.
Corona will shake your body, your mind, and yes, your soul/your spirit/your identity (or whatever you want to call it). And this will trickle into your love life.
Heck, you’re going to be alone. And learning and encountering new ways of loving. All kinds of loving. Loving your friends, your family, and your community through foreign methods.
And this can open different modes of fulfilling your desire for love. This epidemic might truly enlighten what you want out of love- and a partner (since it makes that dead space in life abundantly clear).
And that might not even include a partner. Maybe all I really want in my life right now is to write that next big dating novel (cough, cough). Start teaching myself how to make foamy Dalgona coffee from just instant. Or maybe I want to get away and live on an earthship. Start partnering with an entirely virtual non-profit. Or maybe I just want to emulate single and badass Mother F* Teresa.
This of course, is for the exception. It’s the rule that there are exceptions to this epidemic and people whose lives will not fundamentally change because of their either life circumstances or world view. Yes, I still see you playboys on Tinder who want to hook up like everything is normal. Hey, it’s your life. Hah, I’ll live mine.
It’s hard to be positive in this time, but we must. It’s hard to love, but we can. Every conflict is somehow an opportunity. Corona has kind of slowed our fast-paced, app-driven dating world. It has made us restless in a conditioned gratifying world. So what does that look like in our daily lives as we are adapting? What does love look like now, that we can’t easily just meet up and perpetuate into the fast lane of modern dating? We can get to know each other.
It’s almost as if we have been brought into a Jane Austen world, but cellphones are still a thing…
Bring on the pen pal letters! Carry the existential discussions. Go on the Zoom dates (yes, that’s a thing). Take hold of this time, where I can get to know me better so I can get to know you better.
Sarah Suhaimi practices 명음 by day and the art of dark chocolate bar swindling by night. She is currently working closely with a local Pittsburgh non-profit that serves sex-trafficked victims, Living in Liberty, as a volunteer and grant proposal writer. She founded the Southeast Asian Student Alliance (SEASA) at her university, and, as well, the "Offer Islam Campaign." Her works vary from prose to poetry to articles. Her published works include, ‘The Home of an Immigrant’s Daughter’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2012 Dublin Biennial, Dublin, Ireland and ‘Hidden Beauty Reveals Itself (Intellect Vs Instinct)’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2011 Florence Biennale VIII, Florence, Italy.