By: Natasha Archary
I’ll admit, I have a one-track mind. And when crisis hit and the country was put into a strict lockdown, I just had one thing on my mind. Food.
I needed to bunker down and get supplies for my family, little one, and ensure we would be as comfortable as possible.
What did not cross my mind was how the lockdown would affect my dating life. Non-existent though it undoubtedly is, I like many do enjoy a quaint dinner, decent conversation and a good bottle of wine with other singletons.
And just as a girl was hitting the dating scene, we’re slapped with a nationwide lockdown. If that’s not a sign from the universe, I don’t know what is. Which got me thinking about how the pandemic has changed your love lives.
Reckless relationship binging
Don’t judge me but I love, love. I’m a sucker for it. I live for those soppy success stories from Tinderville. I get super giddy for girlfriends who get huge rocks on ring fingers. Think hopelessly, cheesy, corny, Hollywood horse and white carriage through the streets of Manhattan romantic.
I’ve been spending my days binging on 90-day fiancé and 90 days to wed. Reality shows that leave me feeling like love is really fickle. That people can be superficial and in it for as long as a situation benefits them. And then I came across 90-day fiancé: self-quarantined and I could not believe what goes on behind closed doors with many of these couples.
Which sparked curiosity about South African couples and how they’re managing these rather peculiar times. New relationships. Old ones. Marriages that are days old. Those spanning decades. Partnerships in tatters. Couples close to divorce. Recent splits. What has this lockdown meant for you and yours?
Locked down in love
I reached out to a few Afropolitan couples, who were happy to share details about their love lives in lockdown. The general overview is that many have used this time to repair and build on their relationships. With time being a rare commodity pre-pandemic, couples took the lockdown with positive energy and cherished some quality time with their significant others.
There were also unfortunate cases of the love dying altogether for a few. Despite being locked in a house together, communication gaps, a general lack of respect and no mutual understanding have left many couples with no choice but to call it quits.
One of our couples, a young married pair in their late 20s, decided to use the time to reassess their priorities and plan a family. Married for 3-years, the corporate duo who have really demanding careers barely saw each other before the lockdown restrictions took over.
“We were basically living together as room-mates. We’d see each other in the mornings getting ready for work, sometimes at night. Our lives became routine, we’d literally shower and sleep because we’d be so tired. Now, we switch off after the workday is over and make time to cook together, spend quality time. Where there was once zero intimacy, we now make an effort and are having fun trying for a baby.” – Lucille in Sandton
“I filed for divorce last year. My husband cheated on me throughout our marriage and we have a 3-year old boy together. I moved to Johannesburg with our son, leaving him with his family in Durban. He did not fight to keep us in his life and was perfectly okay to accept the divorce.
Before the lockdown I was in Durban with family and we reconnected while he was spending time with our son. We decided to reconcile and when we were allowed to travel back to Johannesburg, he decided to come up with us and is living with us. We’re a family again. The lockdown and this pandemic helped us re-evaluate what is important and we’re making it work for the sake of family. Life is short and the love isn’t lost.” – Katleho Bryanston
Single and no one to mingle with
If you thought dating pre-Rona was problematic, with the ghosting, catfishing, scamming and benching , strap in because trying to date during an apocalypse is far more unpredictable.
For many singles, myself included, spending our days indoors does not give us much room to maneuver on the romance front. Apart from video calls and sickeningly sweet texts, we’ve said goodbye to real dates. *SNIFF SNIFF*
We all know that texting dies down after a few days. We run out of things to say and before you know it, you don’t take the initiative and neither do they. Without the possibility of a meeting, there’s no clear indication that there’s any chemistry between you. That jolt you get in the pit of your tummy when he brushes your shoulder, when she grazes your knee or when you lock lips for the first time.
Who knows when we’ll be able to hold hands with a potential partner, without needing to douse it in alcohol-based sanitizer first? What we do know is that dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have seen an increase in users in recent months. With Tinder giving you the option to connect with people the world over, with the Tinder passport.
Guess we’re just going to have to get used to long distancing until this blows over. In the meantime, share with us how the pandemic has changed your love life.
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