Once upon a time, before COVID, before I started writing about being single, I was married. During those years relished the idea of a doomsday scenario playing out in real life. I loved the idea of it being he and I against the world. I couldn’t imagine anything better than being holed up together while the world outside went to shit. My ex liked the idea too. We had long, excited conversations about our survival strategy. We devised a plan for finding each other if we got separated and talked about where we’d escape to if society collapsed. It played out in my head like a romantic movie. I had my fingers crossed for the apocalypse.
Then, in March 2018, I got divorced. And one year later, my wish for societal upheaval was granted. The Coronavirus pandemic isn’t the disaster of epic proportions I was hoping for, but it would have sufficed. It would’ve been the set the stage for love triumphing over adversity if my ex-husband was beside me.
Loving Single Life Before COVID
The truth is that up until COVID, I haven’t spent much time crying over my ex. He cheated on me, and the betrayal was so absolute that there was little left to mourn. The person he revealed himself to be was unrecognizable. Once I knew what he was capable of, there was little doubt that this wasn’t the first time he’d been unfaithful. All fourteen years of our relationship suddenly felt like a figment of my imagination. When the truth was revealed, my world came crashing down. But when reality set in, it was hard to mourn something fictional.
And a funny thing happened when I decided to leave that relationship behind. In the year leading up to COVID fell in love with the idea of being single. After a lifetime of back-to-back relationships, I finally felt equipped to stand on my own. And, more importantly, I truly wanted to. I fell in love with myself, and I felt my independence like a superpower.
After COVID Hits Being Single Means Being Alone
But after COVID came along the sadness of my divorce seeped to the surface, and my love of being single disappeared. In isolation, I couldn’t help thinking about how different things would’ve been if I was still married. Alone in my house, his absence was palpable. I could feel the arms that weren’t around me. I heard the conversations I wasn’t having in my head. My bed felt cold. And I knew, without him, I would be fucked if society collapsed. I went from being single to being utterly alone in a heartbeat. I couldn’t hide from the heartbreak of losing the love I once had any longer,
But what I missed, more than anything, was the me I’d discovered after my divorce. That beautiful, independent version of myself was nowhere to be found. Quarantine was kryptonite to my superpowers. I was desperate for someone to lean on, and that crushed my soul. I could live without a partner as long as I loved myself. But I didn’t anymore. The woman I saw in the mirror was pathetic and fragile. I didn’t want to be in my own company. I was utterly alone in the apocalypse.
Dating During Quarantine
Never one to lie down and let life have its way with me, I decided something had to be done. Either find myself or find a boyfriend or find myself. My independence was precious and hard-won. But looking for fulfillment in love was my go-to. I decided to go with the familiar and seemingly straightforward option- hunt down a man.
Dating After Quarantine
So I fired up my dating apps and started dating, virtually, like the world was ending. I was determined to find a boyfriend, so I planned to weed through as many candidates as possible while the stay-at-home orders were in place. That way, I’d have a relationship lined up when they lifted.
I messaged and chatted for hours every day. Video dates and long conversations on the phone dominated my free time. I sexted and sent naughty pictures (sometimes to the wrong people). My dating life became a full-time job as I was corresponding with anywhere from four to twelve men at a time.
When quarantine ended, my plan to find a partner hadn’t panned out. But, refusing to admit defeat, I kept right on dating. With the restrictions lifted, I started meeting people in person. I logged a lot of miles walking through parks in the name of social distancing. Meeting for I sipped beer in camping chairs instead of meeting for cocktails. A few gentlemen planned picnics. They weren’t the most romantic interactions, but it allowed my to start working through the back log of boyfriend candidates.
In the first month after quarantine I went on ten dates, and there were always more in the pipeline. At the same time my ongoing dedication to my dating apps ensured a steady stream of new candidates. But every date was a non-starter. It didn’t matter how cute the guy was, or how much fun I had. Because at the end of the date all I felt was apathy. This trend concerned me. I wondered if my divorce had turned me into a romantic sociopath.
Back to Being Single – Screw COVID
Then, about one month ago, I quit my job as a nanny. It was a bold move, something that had needed to happen for a long time. And I realized that I had a month to start building the life I wanted. I’d been dreaming of blogging and content writing for years, but I’d never had time to make any real progress on either goal. I knew the coming four weeks could be a game-changer if I used my time wisely. So I called things off with all my virtual boyfriends. I stopped trying to keep up with the text convos. I stopped swiping and sexting. The only male I made time for with was my chihuahua.
When the messages and app notifications finally stopped, the loneliness kicked in with full force. I felt just as alone as before. I thought I was poised for another episode of depression. But then I started writing. For hours. Everyday. I didn’t want to stop. I started working on my photography. And then, after a year of talking about it, I published this blog.
I slowly felt myself becoming whole again. And I realized that fiercely independent version of me, my true soulmate, had been there all along. The apathy I’d been feeling was my subconscious refusing to let me make a critical mistake. For years I’d been putting relationships ahead of my dreams. And all that had amounted to nothing. When I realized that I had my own back, I was empowered. The loneliness started to lift.
Happily Single Ever After
In my tale of societal upheaval, the girl does not get the boy. But she does find herself again. And in I think that’s the happier of the two endings. Because being whole and loving yourself is worth a little loneliness from time to time. No pandemic or nuclear crisis can take you away from you. If you are your soulmate, you will never be alone in the apocalypse.
An Anthem for COVID Singles
The concept of being my own soulmate came to me courtesy of Pop/R&B/Hip Hop artist, Lizzo. Her song “Soulmate” is my go-to jam when I need an infusion of self-empowerment. It’s also perfect for party-of-one dance parties in the living room. Listen/re-listen, and never forget that you’ve got your own back.
Single? You Are Not Alone!
With the COVID mucking up the works being single can be pretty lonely. Even with social distancing being single can be an incredible opportunity for personal growth. When i suddenly went from settled to single by life was turned on it’s head. It hasn’t all been roses, but this journey has empowered me in ways I never thought possible. It is my goal to help other single women and men through my writing. Click HERE for more on my insights flying solo in Datingland.