Micky has felt the pressure to use dating apps, even though she has chosen to be a young single. In her article, Being A Young Single, Is My ‘Loveless’ Lockdown Any Less Important Than Yours?” she talks about romantic love taking precedence over the social connection Solos have missed during lockdowns.
You may have recently read about online dating during lockdowns and lonely singles. Or, you may have some friends who live with their other half. Being in a relationship during lockdown can seem ideal. There’s someone who you can talk to – something we all need at times like this. However, being in a relationship and not living together has resulted in many couples not seeing each other in months. Strangely, I think we Solos are lucky.
There’s a common misconception that being single must mean you are lonely all of the time and that, somehow, being single equates with being lonely. That’s not necessarily true, and at Solo Living, we share articles about this common misconception. However, that’s not to say singles do not or have not experienced feelings of loneliness, especially during lockdowns.
For my whole life, I have been single. Not one single boyfriend. Unless you count a two-week ‘relationship’ when I was thirteen. I ventured through school and university without ever yearning to be in a relationship. I love being single, and the freedom it brings is something I truly treasure! Some of you may be nodding your head in agreement, whereas others may be thinking I’m mad for celebrating being single. Of course, many people will not at all understand why anyone would want and choose to be single. Whatever you think, there are definitely positives and negatives to single life, just as there is with any other lifestyle choice.
Recently, as lockdown continues, I have observed a growing understanding amongst friends and people I am in touch with that they feel it is understandable they break lockdown rules to be with their partner. This sentiment confuses me greatly while completely understanding that being away from your loved one is, for me, unimaginably tricky. However, there is very little consideration for those of us without partners. Young singles with partners aren’t the only ones with vital people in their lives they would love to see.
We all have family and friends – even us singles, and our support network of friends and family are crucial to our enjoyment of life! Being single has been a blessing in many ways. I thankfully have one less person in my life who I miss dreadfully! However, loneliness can still be very real for those of us who are single and in the absence of seeing important people in our lives. However, it feels like romantic love has taken precedence.
There’s social pressure to be in a relationship
There is immense social pressure to be in a relationship regardless of what age we are, and strangely enough, I’ve personally found this hasn’t eased up since lockdown. Being told we have to stay in our homes, in some ways, means being single has quite literally never been easier because lockdowns make it near impossible to start a relationship.
However, as those of you who enjoy being single will have previously experienced, there seems to be a lack of understanding of why solos may desire to remain single (at least for the time being). It’s tough to go against the grain of what society expects in my experience. Ultimately, for me, it’s about what makes me happy that counts and as long as I’m bringing no harm to others in the process. It really is as simple as that, believe it or not. However, what I do mind is, being in a relationship and not being able to see a partner feels like it takes priority, over and above the feelings and empathy towards solos who cannot see the people who help make their lives fulfilling.
Dating apps only add to the pressure
Dating apps only add to this pressure, with some of my friends encouraging me to download certain apps! A mere six days after the announcements of the first lockdown in the UK, there were nearly 3 billion swipes on Tinder. The most recorded in one day. It only goes to show dating platforms are adapting well to a locked-down world, even for a new generation introduced to the dating scene. I noted a comment saying young people ‘have grown up immersed in social media apps and see a virtual world as something quite natural’. Does this make finding love during lockdown is easier for younger people, albeit online rather than face-to-face?
There is no right or wrong answer to whether or not using dating apps helps combat feelings of loneliness experienced by young singles. They represent a new era of dating, and during a pandemic, I can only imagine they will be helping many young people feel less lonely during this time. The only advice I would give is not to meet up with anyone and stick to online dates and conversation. We have all made an incredible effort to contain the effects of Covid-19. Let’s not allow the thought of a few more months of being single stop us from finally interacting freely with people in the long run!
Young singles have to focus on themselves
Even if the thought of a few more months of being single induces a sense of dread, in my opinion, there are still some benefits to be reaped! Not having a partner during this time certainly makes it easier to focus on yourself which may sound selfish, but it is essential to making sure we are ourselves good and well before being in a position to help others.
For my age group – 18-25, fewer of us are physically at risk from the virus than those in older age groups. However, mental health is still a concern amongst my peer group. Something I believe the media can often forget. Generally, people with partners are often the focus of sympathy, whereas young solos desperate to connect with friends and family in person are too often and frequently overlooked.
A survey conducted in July 2020 by Young Minds reported 31% of young people who had access to mental health support before the pandemic said, “they were no longer able to access support but still needed it”. This has to be concerning. However, as a young single, in many ways, I am glad not to be concerned about a partner’s mental health, which is a huge relief because I feel the need and responsibility to take care of my own mental health and wellbeing. During this tough time, meeting someone new and building a relationship comes with its own set of challenging distractions, which I do not want nor need.
With the first anniversary of going into lockdown approaching, it is safe to say that regardless of finding love or staying single, this year has been socially challenging like no other. Navigating lockdowns has been tough for everyone, and it remains a hurdle to escape the clutches of lonely feelings experienced by young adults. With some announcements giving the UK hope of finally being free of restrictions later in the year, there is also the hope of finding love again, and in-person! They also suggest light at the end of the tunnel as we all look forward to reuniting with loved ones over the next few months. This period of isolation will soon be in the past.
In writing this article, I only draw upon my personal experience. Having spoken to other young single friends, I find my feelings over my single status during lockdowns and not seeing valued friends and loved ones traverse beyond my own. Of course, we all have different circumstances, and perhaps you cannot relate to my situation, or you may not even agree. After all, each of us is unique, making feelings of loneliness a very individual and complex problem to solve.
Loneliness can be quashed by love, consideration and connection, but not only by romantic love and the kind of love exchanged with a partner. Friends and family are just as amazing at helping singles tackle feelings of loneliness experienced during lockdowns. We’re waiting quietly and patiently for the day when we will be reuniting in person.
Thank you for writing this article….I enjoyed reading it.