Before the pandemic, you might have had a lot on your non-negotiables list that might have made it almost impossible to find your perfect match. While having lists for dating is important, sometimes we can have very particular standards that make the dating pool a lot smaller. What the pandemic has done for a lot of singles out there is add some much-needed perspective to their lives – priorities that come with dating and finding a suitable partner have shifted.
Your priorities might have shifted
The upheaval that came with the pandemic brought the reminder that life is short and who we spend our valuable time with matters. We’ve become more accepting around self-care and looking at who our tribe is – ultimately whoever we surround ourselves with will deplete our energy or replenish it.
With the pandemic and lockdowns, it’s given a lot of people extra time on their hands; what do we do with extra time? We think. We look at our lives and reevaluate what’s really important, so when post-lockdown dating time comes along, we see the world in a new lens. We start to question the “why” when reflecting on our must-haves for a partner.
When it comes to dating, or being in a relationship, at a time like this, priorities that maybe weren't taken as seriously as before the pandemic can start to show some cracks - issues like religion, political stances, financial status and most importantly vax status.
So how do you know when it's not working any more?
Some couples who have braved the pandemic together have become stronger than ever – united by the terror and relief that they made it through - however for others, it can cause a whole lot of issues.
With nowhere to go and little to do other than work and life admin (not to mention home schooling, for some) - getting sick of each other can be an understatement.
Because of this, some of us may project a general lack of fulfilment onto our relationships and start thinking wouldn’t it be better maybe if we… weren’t in one?
As your values change, so do your priorities and goals - but are you really ready to make the break or is it just post-pandemic brain talking?
First, it's important to identify whether your problem is with your partner or just the general situation. That ambiguous sense of something being “off” can sometimes be reflective of the current climate rather than a problem inherent to the relationship. Maybe it’s just a blip, maybe a few weeks of normality will make you see differently – but there are some key indicators that you are ready to end the relationship. Ask yourself these key questions:
1. Do you communicate with your partner? Listen to each other and respectfully voice your concerns?
2. Are you and your partner no longer friends? Do you still have that connection, trust and intimacy with them?
3. Do you already act like you’re single?
4. Do you imagine yourself in another relationship?
5. Do you both want different things out of life? Do you share the same goals for the future?
And even if those questions are making you a little worried - you don’t have to make any rash decisions. The world is still waking up, after all. Unless you’re at risk of physical or mental peril, if you think there’s even the slightest possibility this is a blip, give it a little time and energy. Talk to your partner about your concerns. Maybe they’re feeling the same or have noticed a change in you but haven’t known how to bring it up. Both of you need to stay sensitive and constructive.
Remember - the minimalist structure of our lives in the midst of Covid-19 is not representative of ‘real life’, so make some time to reflect and evaluate, all the while thinking about your happiness, your safety and your future.
If the worst does happen and it’s time to call it quits, you should think of it as a shared problem, rather than someone’s fault. And don’t be too hard on yourselves either.
Take time to figure out what makes you feel like the best version of yourself, take a step back to look at what you want in a partner, and take on the dating scene with a bang. Are you single and ready to mingle post-lockdown with a fresh perspective and new attitude towards dating? With time to reflect on what’s important, prioritising needs and values, and shifting your views on deal-breakers, it’s time for you to get back out there!
You survived a devastating pandemic; you can do this.
First impressions count for a lot especially when we’ve finally come out of our pandemic bubble and are ready to hit the dating scene. When you’re out on the town and see someone attractive, your first instinct is to smile at them and you’re not alone – 61% of Aussies would let someone know they are interested in them by smiling at them according to research from SmileDirectClub.
Dr. Lurve is Australia’s leading Love & Relationships Expert and a SmileDirectClub partner.