As I write this, it’s Summer 2020, and what feels like the entire world is on lockdown due to Covid-19, meaning the way in which we interact with each other -and the outside world- has completely shifted.
I’ve lived in a different country to the majority of my friends and family for almost a decade now, and whilst I’m thoroughly enjoying getting tipsy with them a few nights a week via various Zoom calls and quiz nights, being a single woman in isolation has left me craving human affection and partnership more than ever.
Seeing everybody quarantined with their best friends, soul mates, partners-in-crime, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, dogs, and other pets has left me feeling more and more isolated, and although I’m probably more connected than ever, there’s something particularly painful in seeing everyone holed up together as a daily reminder of how utterly alone you are.
What has made this worse, has been the influx of concerned friends (who are truly concerned, and really mean no harm) checking in on me as they remembered I’m shacked up on my own.
Talk about kicking a dog when she’s down.
Despite society telling me that really, at the age of 30, I should be loved up and doing ‘adult’ things like getting married and buying a house, I’ve been single for a few years now, and although the thought of finding my ‘person’ is one of the most beautiful dreams I have, I am also totally fine on my own. I’m independent; I’m able to do everything I want and need, and I rely on nobody. I’m strong. I have to solve my own problems. I build flat-pack furniture on my own. I’m so used to being on my own, I sometimes worry if I’ve created my own self-fulfilling prophecy in that when I do meet someone I want to be with, I won’t know how to do it.
As much as I’m completely fine alone, something about the staunch daily reminders of being alone is like a ritual quarantine kick in the stomach. When people laugh about how much you must be lacking in social connection to start talking about wanting a tortoise, it just further adds salt to the wound of proof that you are, in fact, all alone and yes, it absolutely has mental side effects.
I’ve never really thought of myself as lonely. I enjoy spending time on my own, I always have. I’m much more of an introvert than I let on, and to be honest, I’m rather enjoying having to stay at home and nest. Yet no matter how many brownies I bake or how insta-perfect I make my flat, since being in lockdown, there has been an insatiable desire for connection – for a partner. It’s made me do stupid things like re-read old messages from ex-boyfriends and swipe mindlessly through Tinder looking for any form of validation and connection.
My dreams have taken on a definite theme of partners and family – almost every night I dream of a proposal; running through an airport with my (fictional) family of husband and kids; of a soulmate.
While the feeling of wanting a meaningful relationship is nothing new to me, it has certainly been heightened during this time. People complaining about being stuck with the love of their lives 24/7 don’t realize how lucky they are to have a Love of Their Life; how lucky they are to have somebody to share this time with; to touch; to hold, even to argue with.
When we’re anxious, it’s natural to want to touch somebody – to hold someone’s hand, to hug them, to offer any sort of physical comfort- and all of a sudden, that’s only allowed if you live with someone or if you have someone you can do that with: everyone else just has to forego it. As a tactile person, this is probably one of the worst parts of lockdown for me, but it has the added aftertaste of loneliness; a bitter reminder that our world is built on relationships, that no matter how ‘fine’ you are on your own, the world will always do its best to make you believe you shouldn’t be.
So whilst I cannot currently fill this desire of finding my great love, I will try and turn the time into something else. I will try something else. I will try and turn myself into my great love. To give myself the connection I need. I will continue holding my own hand. Supporting myself. Solving my own problems. And that way, when my person comes along, it won’t be because a global pandemic convinced me I wasn’t enough unless I was coupled up. It will be because I’m ready for it and want it. I will allow someone else to help me solve problems. I’ll allow someone else to hold my hand.
If you like this article, check out: https://www.harnessmagazine.com/so-successful-feel-so-empty/