I haven’t written in a while because I have been questioning whether I have anything to say that can help anyone right now. How do you write a dating and relationships blog when the world has changed so much that meeting new people and building new relationships seems impossible? How do you give advice based on experiences you had before the world changed? How do you tell people what is and isn’t a good idea when words like ‘safe’ and ‘important’ have drastically different meanings now than they did 8 weeks ago? How do you support people through this difficult time when none of us have any experience with anything like it? Is finding or maintaining new relationships even important anymore when we are living in a world where people are losing loved ones, incomes, and businesses at an ever increasing rate? Do I have any right to give advice when I can’t fully understand what anyone else is going through, when I’m not even sure if I fully understand what I am going through?
I am one of the lucky ones. At the time I am writing this all of the people I love and care about are healthy, and no one has been hit by Covid-19. I live in a country with a healthcare system that is prepared for this pandemic, so in the event that anyone does get sick they have the best possible chance of survival. I work in a field that is currently considered essential but has a relatively low exposure risk, so my income has not been affected and I am not in danger of losing my home. I live with my son and my primary partner, so I am not experiencing the same level of isolation as many others are. There are many people that I am not seeing and that I miss, and some relationships I was building have been put on hold, but I do not feel alone during this pandemic. I am better off than most people.
I am still afraid, and I am still mourning the loss of some things. I am not particularly afraid of getting sick, I believe it will happen eventually and that after my weeks of illness, however severe they might get, I will be fine. I am afraid of how those around me will be affected when I get sick, and of spreading this illness to people who won’t survive it. I am worried that some of the people I care about are not dealing well with the emotional and financial strain this is putting them under, and that there will be long term consequences because of it. I am concerned about the economic impact this pandemic is going to have on this country that I love living in, and about how long people will continue to be willing to operate under what many of them see as a loss of ‘freedoms’. And I am mourning experiences, events, and celebrations that I have missed over the last several weeks, and all of the ones that would have come in the next several months that will now have to be canceled.
To some people my fears, worries, concerns, and losses might seem trivial under the weight of their own. I am not going to argue with them, we all deal with things in our own way, and for some that means feeling that their concerns are more important than the concerns of others. Whether that is true or not, they are entitled to how they feel, just as we all are. What I will tell people is to acknowledge your fears, worries, concerns, and losses. Say them out loud, write them down, talk to a partner or friend, whatever works for you. Acknowledge them and let yourself feel the feelings, whatever they are. It won’t make them go away, but it will make them seem more manageable, and sharing yours may encourage others to share their own. Many of us are very good at holding things inside, but there is a kind of healing that can come from sharing your fears with others, even if all they can do about them is listen.
So where does dating fall in all of this? For me, developing new relationships has always been about hope, and I think that hope is a very valuable commodity right now. Yes, meeting people and dating, and deciding when and how to grow a relationship, will need to change a little, but it is still possible, and it is still something to strive for and work towards. So I will continue to blog about it, and I hope you will continue to read.