How to Date In an Outbreak

Got any guys on the go Em?

[Facepalm] Of all the things to ask.

A little context: At the time of the question in question, I was coming to terms with the rather abrupt end to my once in a lifetime trip around South America. An unpredictable twist of fate that sent my 31-year-old arse fleeing Colombia on the last plane back to… my mum’s house.

From cultural overdose to a harsh dose of reality in just 48 hours. Boom.

The only solace being, that I wasn’t the only one back at square one. If life was a game of snakes and ladders a whole bunch of us just landed on that big fucker down the side.

Now as with all the things life throws, there’s a silver lining – this unexpected turn of events gave me time. Time to reconnect with my siblings, time to create, time to enjoy a whole bunch of things except find the one thing that the clock is forever ticking on – Love.

Surely now is not the time for that?

It seems strange to me that we all (myself included) pry into each other’s love life as if love is in anyone’s control. We are encouraged to be more independent than ever before, yet we all answer to the call of tradition when it comes to pushing love on one another. Telling friends the right person will come along without even knowing if they want them to. Highlighting something that might not be for everyone or just simply hasn’t happened yet. So many of us are stalked by this persistent little Q.

Yet, you don’t see many singletons asking questions to the equivalent:

“when was the last time you did something alone and felt liberated?”

“Do you REALLY want what <name> wants?”

“What, you’re actually allowed out!?”

Do we live in a society that ranks love and relationship status above personal development and progress?


I have summited a volcano and a friend has asked: “ooh, who is the guy in the picture, please tell me he’s a travel romance?”. Not one word on the huge physical and mental feat endured. The pure focus for her was the male mountaineer at my side, a wonderful Canadian guy whose friendship and support got me to the top.

Life is way too exciting to spend it waiting for someone.

Which brings me to the now. No one needs a magnifying glass to the relationship status at a time when physical contact is completely out of bounds, as is meeting up with anyone beyond the four walls. Yep, COVID has made short work of any Mr Darcy dreams and Mr Grey, we can all take a guess at what room he’s hiding in. Let’s face it, meeting someone in this environment is highly unlikely, almost impossible. Unless the postman catches your eye. I don’t know about you but mine’s 60+ and getting more attractive by the day. I joke.

So, how do you date in an outbreak?

You don’t!

[Sigh of relief]

We finally have an excuse to just give up and wave the white flag. “I surrender my sexy selfie folder for the foreseeable future”.

Accepting the current circumstances for what they are and embracing our outbreak dating fate frees us from the pressure of finding love. A pressure imposed by friends, family, friend’s family, family friends [pause for breath] then there’s TV shows, movies, books, songs, podcasts, ads, magazines… Yep, we get it love, you’re the best, but finding you is a real pain, you know that?!!

And with all this pressure, expectations and let’s not forget… the constant disappointment of actually dating. I think a break is well deserved.

My question to you if you’re single:

Are you looking for love because you want love or are you looking because you feel you should be looking for love? If it’s the latter, do yourself a favour and delete the apps (yep, even Hinge) and just enjoy some time without making small talk about your daily lack of routine and the old “do you have Snapchat? 😏”.

What to do when you’re not thinking about who to do?

You’re probably going to spend hours torturing yourself with thoughts about why you need a break from failed dating in the first place. Given! But when you have a couple of potentials on the scene you’re not really you. You’re doing things for their attention. Moulding to what they want you to be. We isn’t you. You are you.

Instead, think about all the wonderful things you’ve done with the freedom single life has bought. Think about all the relationships you’ve formed, friend’s you’ve loved. While this forced isolation has made people better themselves, think about how you’ve been doing so for days, months, years even.

And if anyone asks how your love life is, you can say “we’re in isolation, idiot” or something a little more cultivated.

On a side note – if you’re already snuggled up with your number one. Good on you. Your adorable pasta-making videos have been an inspiration, truly. And that thing you did re-enacting movie moments, WOW.

Joking aside, when normality resumes and your single mates are released into the world. Firstly, let them have their frenzy. Then, I only ask you to think before you ask. Does your friend even want a partner or are they in the middle of a really awesome bit of self-discovery? If it’s the latter, ask about that. Their time for love will come, the hole only comes from those who make its presence known and remember, no relationship is perfect. Not even the one with yourself. It’s best to start there and the rest will follow.

This post was previously published on Hello, Love and is republished here with permission from the author.


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