By Alice Liana Galli
Dating at the time of Covid-19 can be challenging, especially with the new rules set in place all over Scotland yesterday. Without being able to leave the house- except for the bare necessities like going grocery shopping, exercising once a day, going to work or to the pharmacy- meeting new people or spending time with our lovers is almost impossible.
But can Covid-19 really kill love?
According to the sexual health and consent educator Samantha Bitty, love can survive the ongoing pandemic even in isolation. How? Using creativity and moving personal intimacy from in person to online. Miss Bitty suggests that the key to “success” is being clear in your intentions, both with yourself and with others.
Before looking for “your” person, Samantha advises practising emotional intelligence by becoming more self aware, learning how to respond to situations and how to react, and focusing on empathy. When we approach other people we should try to see them as a whole people and not just entities to entertain or fill a void, loneliness or boredom.
Since the beginning of isolation, many people have joined dating apps with a different prospective: meet new friends instead of dates; create new conversations; and fight the boredom caused by isolation.
Euan Miller, 20, college student and Tinder user, reveals that the all dating experience using dating apps has changed since the spreading of Coronavirus. He said: “I think it’s a good thing that people are joining Tinder to socialise but for the people who are trying to find that one person, like a boyfriend or girlfriend, it has lowered their chances”.
However, Samantha reassures that a lot can still be done to maintain the interest and the curiosity in the other person and eventually to get things spicy.
Sexting for example, if done properly and consensually, can be a great ally in this period of isolation both if we are already in a long and well-established relationship or at the beginning of a new one.
The secret for good sexting? Communication.
Samantha says that first of all it’s important getting comfortable with masturbation and self-pleasure and learning how to trust our own intuitions: “In relationships we attract the energy we put out, if we show up clear, with honesty, those are the relationships that will stick.”
In relationships we attract the energy we put out, if we show up clear, with honesty, those are the relationships that will stick. – Samantha Bitty, sex health and consent educator
She adds we should try to make our partner comfortable and make sure of what they are looking for by asking questions like:
- “What are you into?”
- “Do you like ….?” or “How do you feel about…?”
- “What would you like a pic of ?”
- “What are your soft and hard boundaries?”
Then we should consider other aspects like lighting, lotion and location.
“For people who are used to being on apps to date,” continues Samantha, “another way to being in touch while battling this pandemic, is to have online dates or pick things up when we are able to return to the public sphere”.
However, isolation hasn’t affected just dating but also well-established relationship. Sofia, 20, has just finished her Erasmus in the UK and returned to her mother country Italy where quarantine measures have been in place since the 9th of March.
Now she’s back, her relationship is being tested once again. After being apart from her boyfriend Nicola, also an Erasmus student of 20 years old who lived in France, they have to face isolation. Sofia says the biggest challenge is seeing each other through the screen instead of meeting in person, as it takes away some of the sensitivity and empathy and can easily lead to misunderstandings and fights.
However, other couples have chosen other strategies to face isolation. Like getting quarantined together. This is the case of Julien, 20, who invited his girlfriend to live with him and his family.
They had been dating for two and a half months before deciding of living together because of Coronavirus special circumstances. Julien thought facing the isolation at his parent’s house would have been a better solution for the two students, who were both living in a private accommodation while pursuing their studies at UWS.
They were concerned about not being able to keep paying their rent now that working has become more difficult for students and they felt being at home would have been a sort of “safety-net”. At the moment Julien calls himself happy with the situation saying that living with his girlfriend is making isolation more bearable.
Although Coronavirus can make dating and maintaining a relationship challenging, it might not be the final resting place of love. What can we really do to fight it? Arm ourselves with patience and a good WiFi connection.