All sparkle but no joy
The tasteful Christmas decorations were up at her place, warm white lights draped on the giant Monstera, perfectly wrapped gifts arranged beneath it (in eco-conscious kraft paper, of course), each complemented by a sprig of winter foliage for extra hygge appeal. But despite her best efforts at a perfect Christmas, 35 year old Emily* couldn’t help feeling a little… flat. Because aside from Tinks, the perpetually grumpy cat of 8 years, her house was empty and quiet.
The culmination of a year gone quite awry.
Because in March, like swathes of others, Emily’s love life took something of a prolonged hiatus. She was accustomed to the buzz of city life, enjoying the constant go of work and socialising interweaving its way through her waking hours. Working lunches, dinners with her gaggle of friends accumulated over the years, even the occasional date here and there when she had the time. And Tinks to greet her coolly when she got home.
Her life seemed full and she was happy. But, when the first lockdown hit, it came with the dawning realisation that without the bows and whistles and the constant distractions of social event after social event, Emily’s life was missing the one connection that, honestly, she thought she would have by now.
And even though she had previously felt a little sorry for those not-so-smug marrieds at work with their clutch of kids that meant they always had to duck out early from post-work drinks, or even not go at all, Emily was starting to see the difference that progress in that part of her life plan would have made to her current situation.
Because Zoom calls and FaceTime only went so far to fulfilling the need for human contact.
Because a laptop keyboard gave a lot less comfort than holding a strong hand.
Because nuzzling into that Missoni cushion, however beautiful, didn’t give the same warm flow of oxytocin as a hug with that one special human.
Because being something to lots of people didn’t top being everything to someone.
(*FYI Emily is purely fictitious and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Except that Emily is the epitome of single life in the city, and she may seem all too familiar).
Misery loves company
And Emily is not alone. The pandemic has undoubtedly delayed the arrival of that special relationship that is part of many people’s life plans. Suddenly, meeting someone through mutual friends, at a bar or at the library (is that even still a thing?!) is out of the question. The dating pool has shrunk more quickly than nipples in a plunge pool, to people we already know and to those we meet online. Ultimately, Covid has made the dating scene more exclusive and potentially more impersonal than it once was.
It is safe to say that 2020 hasn’t delivered on its promises of rekindling the Roaring Twenties of a century before, and has left most people feeling pretty short-changed. Instead, this year has presented challenges that most of us could not even comprehend in terms of the direct physical effects of the pandemic and the knock-on effects of poverty, isolation and the decline in mental health.
So let’s face it, few of us are in our best form just now. Being surrounded by illness, death and looming financial ruin can put a dampener even the most jovial of sorts. And when faced with our current lot we could be forgiven for thinking that everything is a little… well, crap.
And in our increasingly insular existence without the checks and balances that the company of others provides, we might be forgiven for getting a little down in the mouth about it all. Listening to our internal monologue that is adept at maintaining our disillusionment rather than talking us out of it, it is little wonder that now, as Christmas looms, we are left feeling far from jolly.
Given the circumstances it might feel a little trite or self-involved to stress out about our love lives, or lack of it. But if you thrive in a relationship and currently find yourself single, then chances are you are feeling the ache of loneliness as this virus forces us further and further away from our friends and family.
With the promise of special, more relaxed Christmas restrictions we might have been forgiven to dare hope that a new romantic liaison might just be around the corner. It might have soon been time to squeeze into the LBD that has been waiting for its moment in your wardrobe to wow your unsuspecting date into giddy submission. But now with Covid Mark-II, especially in the South-East of the UK, those hopes have again been dashed and like Emily, you may even be contemplating Christmas alone.
Only the lonely
Even though society’s attitude to dating and marriage has come a long way since the 1970s and “single” is no longer a moniker for loneliness or desperation, right now it may well very much feel that way, as Boris’s blanket rules on social distancing imposed on the nation effectively banjaxed all singletons’ hope for any intimacy - casual or otherwise.
For single people wanting to follow the governmental rules on social distancing, this pandemic has imposed a different level of isolation. On top of any family separation, working from home and reduced socialising, being single has limited any dating to online interaction and socially distanced encounters. Not exactly conducive to developing a lasting and intimate bond with another human.
A recent UK publication analysed the results of the COVID Psychological Wellbeing Study which revealed that 27% of people were classified as feeling lonely, and that being younger, separated or divorced were significant risk factors for loneliness, whereas being married or cohabiting were protective factors. This suggests that the closeness of a romantic bond provides people with a kind of emotional nurturing that just isn't found in other relationship types. So if you feel that a part of you has become neglected or closed off, you’re not alone.
And being lonely isn’t just a sense of isolation and boredom, it is a major public health concern as it has been associated with depression and anxiety as well as vulnerability to chronic disease.
But there is hope...
Before you write yourself off to an isolated, doom-laden and hastened end, there is light glinting at the end of this tunnel, because this too shall pass.
Our brightest and best are leading the world with vaccination hopes, and with each day that passes we are all closer to seeing the end of this particularly tricksy period, and it will ultimately be consigned to history along with smallpox and corduroy bell bottoms.
2021 holds much promise: of an eventual return to some semblance of normality, financial recovery - hell, even parties and celebrations akin to VE Day in 1945. Because humankind is a social species and our desire to socialise will outlive this rotten pandemic.
Whereas 2020 has brought us the worst of things, 2021 has to be our opportunity to embrace all of the positive experiences we can, whatever they may be.
And you know what else? 2021 can be YOUR year.
This is the year to get back on track with that life plan with a renewed sense of purpose, because frankly, life is just too short to do anything but. And there is no shame in being proactive rather than waiting for that special person to just fall into your lap.
After all, you know what they say [or Benjamin Franklin said] about failing to prepare…
And you might want to get ready for Dating Sunday, the first Sunday of the year where - according to dating site Zoosk - more people sign up to online dating than at any other time of the year. Just think. All of those people, filled with hope and New Year’s Resolutions, and one of them might just be who you’ve been waiting for.
So if you want to grab this bothersome bull by the horns then help is at hand in the form of the Wingman Dating Coach, Robert Noakes, and together you can tackle the obstacles that are currently in your way and get truly ready - both mentally and practically - to get out there and start the next phase of your life plan with renewed vigour.
Robert puts everything in place to ensure that you can soar when you (re)enter the dating arena, and 10x your impact so that that person, your future special human, will be sure to spot you in the crowd.
And that promises to be truly glorious.
Book in now for your free consultation with Robert, and make this Christmas present to yourself even more wonderful than those 2019 Jimmy Choos.
And if you want to learn more about how the Wingman Dating Coach raises people’s standings in the dating stakes, check out last month’s blog post for the inside scoop.