Dating During A Pandemic.

Disclaimer: I sought permission before publishing this.
I hope he still likes me as much as I adore him. 

Before I took myself on a solo honeymoon in December to Cape Town, I put myself on a dating ban. Actually, let me rephrase that, my sister told me I should put myself on a six-month dating ban. Ignoring her (own) previously successful advice, I settled down to a bottle of wine overlooking Clifton Beach on December 10 and decided to check Hinge. Well, there he was. I don’t think I even looked past his second picture and pressed match.  I always promised myself I would delete the app by the new year, and despite the fact we had only had our first date by then, I stuck by it. Plus, we were already calling each other by then.

He was actually saved in my phone as Ethan Hawke for the first 3 weeks as I drunkenly saved his number after an Instagram stalk. Don’t pretend like we haven’t all done it…

Our first month was spent sober (well actually mainly me as I partook in dry jan – self high five). It was the first time I had ever dated someone, in my adult mentality, totally sober. It’s really quite eye opening. Your conversations have to be real and you have to dig down into an inner confidence you didn’t know existed. I remember one of his lines online was “first round is on me if you look like your pictures”. I remember thinking, second round is on me if I sincerely want to be there. And I am so glad I paid for that.

We actually both almost cancelled before the date. I had really bad stomach pains and he just wasn’t up for it. Christmas, family, alcohol etc. But as it transpires that the only reason we both came back to London was for the date. I would say that was a pretty great decision.

During our first date I actually told him more than he was anticipating. I told him about my FMD, endometriosis and other harrowing moments but he didn’t leave. In fact I felt like I could talk more about it. But for the first time I felt like I could say it and not care about the consequences. It was a first date after all.

It is now March and never have I been more convinced of the fact that time is irrelevant. (My parents were engaged within a year of meeting each other). We are both firm believers that WhatsApp can lead to the ruination of relationships. It should be a logistics-only platform. He works extremely hard and is extraordinarily clever, infectiously funny and has no time for unnecessary small talk. He has encouraged me to be better, be fitter, be more interesting. Is this what they call adult dating?

Whoever said the rest is history aptly wrote it so. Because right now days feel like weeks.   Everyone’s lives have currently been disrupted. Life, as we know it, does not exist. And this isn’t me being negative, it’s me being realistic. A week ago, after admittedly making a joke about the virus and sharing some equally inappropriate meme, my life was very different. We would arrange to see each other at weekends after he moved out of London. I looked forward to every moment, even if he was hungover or distracted.

What is the hardest thing for us all now is the looming doubt of uncertainty. My job and income have drastically changed. My daily routine as well. I am 31 and in the worst financial situation of my life. I have had to relocate to my parents (which is nothing to complain about given the location and circumstance) but it has been disruptive and honestly quite hard. I feel endlessly indebted to them, after they have already given me so much. My mental health is trying to adjust at a rate that I can’t control. It’s tough.

Motivating myself is hard, especially when we are limited to our optimism of forward-thinking. But what we must be so happy for are the people we are doing this alongside. My parents are incredibly supportive (even when I snap at them for no reason). I live in the most beautiful place in the world. I am healthy and I have food and a roof and I honestly couldn’t ask for more.

And I have him. As much as I have always insisted that the emotion of ‘missing’ someone is pointless (rather look forward to seeing them), I do. For the first time in my life, I actually miss someone completely.

Dating in quarantine is not something they teach you about. What is has taught me is value of other people, the value of space and the value of myself.

What I do know, is that when we return to any place of normality, I am glad I get to spend it with you.

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