Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Charlottesville, VA

August 3, 2020

Relationship Monday: Single in a Pandemic.

     The idea for this blog post has been on my heart for a few months now, but I was hesitant to write it until I felt ready. Let's get real about the thoughts and feelings behind being single during the COVID-19 pandemic. 




  
    COVID-19 has made 2020 into an awful time for everyone in their own way. (Maybe that's like a hidden beauty of this year? It's not just you or me that is suffering... it's literally everyone everywhere.) I think the guilt I've been feeling about writing this post comes from the fact that who am I to even dare complain about something right now when I have a safe roof over my head, food on the table every night, my good health, a job and paycheck still coming in... so many people have lost so much this year. I'm not a stressed out parent struggling to figure out schooling for my child this fall. I'm not an isolated elderly person who hasn't left their facility residence since before March. I'm not a heartbroken bride rescheduling the wedding of my dreams, or a high school or college senior who lost graduation and special memories. I'm not someone who lost a loved one to COVID-19, or their finances. God has blessed me so much and I know this! Please trust me when I say I do. But as grateful as I am for these gifts in my life in this time.... the truth is I've still been struggling a lot the past few months. Struggling emotionally in ways that I haven't in years, and in other ways that are new. After months of this, I knew it was time to write this post.

     If you've read my past blog posts in this Relationship Monday series, then you know a few things about me and my dating life/singleness journey already. The short version: I went from being someone who was always down about not being in a serious relationship in high school and college  to being a career and faith focused woman who tried to be grateful for each day and living life to the fullest, while enjoying casual dating from time to time. And this whole personal journey has been documented for the past few years in my Relationship Monday series here on the blog. Sure I'd have the occasional day where I'd long for a boyfriend or fiancĂ© or husband or wish I was in a different chapter in life, but overall being single in my mid 20s had treated me extremely well! I believed wholeheartedly that God did have a plan for my future husband and I- that is if it's His will for me to be married. I know too that if it's not, I'd much rather be single my entire life and keep living for God than be trapped in a bad marriage. 

    All that was true... until COVID-19. 


    2020 was supposed to be the year that I was away from home more than I ever had been in any year prior. International and domestic trips were planned months in advance, and I'd pretty much calculated how to use all my PTO for the year before the end of January. The freedom to travel as much as I want (*cough* or can afford to) is one of my favorite things about being a single woman. I don't have a relationship or family tying me down right now, so why not see as much of my beautiful country and this amazing world as possible?

     What happened to all those travel plans? COVID-19.

     I am lucky to have a great group of Christian girlfriends here in Charlottesville. My past few years here have actually been the first time in my life I really have belonged to a true "friend group" (in high school and college I always had various friends from different places). My friends here and I love getting out on weekends as much as we can to take in all that Charlottesville has to offer. The past couple summers have looked like attending free concerts downtown, pool parties at each others' apartments, movie nights, clothing swaps, winery hopping afternoons, and the occasional nights of dancing downtown at the bars... there's never been a dull weekend moment. And I loved that being single meant I had all the time in the world to schedule plans with the girls on my weekends in town.

     What happened to going out on the town with my big group of girls and making new memories? COVID-19.

      Not having a serious relationship yet or family commitments means that I do have some extra time on my hands each week, and I always want to be as good of a steward of that as possible. While I do spend a lot of it working on my blog or doing chores or errands, for the past couple years I've used some of my weekday afternoon free time to do local volunteer work. Service is something very dear to my heart, and I believe it's also a big part of my Christian faith to live it out by helping those in need in my community. I have volunteered on weekday afternoons at a couple different organizations in Cville, and loved it. There is no better feeling than using your time and energy to give back.

      What happened to my weekly volunteer commitments out in the community? COVID-19.

      Ah, dating apps. I've had a love/hate relationship with them over the years, but for the last year or so I've used them casually and tried to be pretty open minded about meeting someone through one. I'm a big believer with being single that if you're feeling super down and hopeless about it, you should get on an app or some other dating service for a bit! Even if you don't end up meeting anyone to be serious with, it helps you grow so much to know that you're making the effort with dating and trying to put yourself out there. Using dating apps have also helped cure the extreme first date anxiety and awkwardness that I used to get a few years ago. I now really enjoy first dates- even if it doesn't lead to a second I think I always learn something new about myself and my dating preferences from each guy I meet. 

     What happened to meeting up with guys from dating apps and putting myself out there? COVID-19. 

     I've had so many travel plans cancelled that I have more PTO to use for 2020 than I know what to do with, and zero ideas anymore for how to use it. I did my first ever staycation last month and wasn't a fan- I don't plan to repeat that. I'm thankful for my wonderful friends but I'm truly sick of going on socially distanced walks or picnics. I long for a night out downtown with the girls like I had for the past two summers and took for granted. I miss showing up each week for my volunteer commitments and getting to do my part in making my local community better. Dating apps are still around but it seems extremely stupid to be meeting up with any guys right now. Guys on there are total strangers- who knows how they have really been social distancing or mask wearing? Even if meeting someone didn't get me sick, I could pick something up and spread it to coworkers, my roommate, or others. Plus, sitting six feet apart wearing masks isn't a date- that sounds as far from romance as possible. Dates should involve some type of physical contact which literally is dangerous right now!? 

     COVID-19 has made me lose just about all the things I loved about my single 20-something lifestyle, and it's been really hard to cope with that. Especially since it's an indefinite loss- it's already been almost six months and who knows when things are turning around. 

     Lately, I've been sad that I'm not in a relationship, and even more sad that it's feeling so hopeless to get into one anytime soon. My fulfilling single life seems to have changed overnight, and as time keeps going on things don't seem to be getting back to what life used to be. 2020 is a heavy year, and I long to have a special guy in my life to make me laugh on days when the news gets to my head to much, to encourage me on the extra long days that start to blend together, and to always be there with a hug and a kiss. Someone who makes me feel safe and wanted in these turbulent times. Someone with a second income to fall back on (God forbid something change unexpectedly with my job and I were to be unemployed for awhile). Someone to make quarantine memories with that we could tell our kids about someday.

     I am thankful for the close and regular communication that I share virtually with my parents back in Maine, my ever-optimistic radio co-host Marc, my incredible friends that I have around the country, and especially for my roommate, Abigail. When we began living together last fall, it's safe to say we never anticipated being each others' main support person during a global pandemic! But all of these wonderful people in my life aren't the same as being in a committed romantic relationship.

    I know that God has a plan for me, and for some reason it just didn't involve meeting a special guy before the pandemic began. I don't know His reasoning for why all of us single adults were still single before it got going. I do know that even in the hard, painful and lonely days... I still trust Him with my singleness and future love life. That type of trust might be a lot less enthusiastic right now than it was at the start of the 2020, when being single meant I looked forward to travel and weekend nights out and being involved in my community. But I do still trust Him. I know I'll be a stronger woman for getting through this year just me, myself and I, and hopefully that strength will help in a future relationship someday.


     But let me just say- to anyone reading this post today who is in a relationship: whether dating, engaged, married.... you are so incredibly lucky! I'm sure 2020 has still been so tough for both you and your significant other, but you have have each other. I'll admit I'm jealous of what you have, and I know a lot of fellow singles reading this today probably would be as well. I'm sure in any serious relationship (pandemic or not) it's easy to take your partner for granted- but hopefully reading this today might make you just a little more thankful for them and maybe view your own circumstances more positively.

   
     I don't really have a good conclusion to this post. I hope that if you are single and have been struggling with this more this year, this brings you some encouragement to know you're definitely not alone. Someday I know the pandemic will end and we can all return to our normal business and lives, but until then, if you're not doing great it's okay. I'm here with you, and it's a day to day journey.


     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese 
Share:

8 comments

  1. I can't imagine how hard dating is to begin with, and then a pandemic thrown in for good measure! I'm sure my 'married person' opinion doesn't matter much, but I think you have been focusing on all the right things! Building yourself up will not only make yourself happier but you will be even more of a Cinderella to your future Prince Charming. (Hope that makes sense.) I think all this alone time is probably making it feel more pressing to find someone, but just remember if you had chosen poorly you could have been cooped up with someone you dislike all this time. I know a lot of relationships are failing right now!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Annaliese, I am so sorry to learn that you're struggling. I remember those years and they sucked even without a pandemic. Know that I'm sure I speak for several of your readers when I say that we're praying for you and fervently hope that your situation changes soon... As someone who was single for her entire 20s, in hindsight, I wouldn't have changed a thing and it was SO worth the wait. Hang in there, lady. xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  3. I enjoyed this post and reading a perspective that is so different from mine! After years in a relationship, I've been appreciative of the extra time by myself and the opportunity to dig back into old hobbies. I am right there with you on missing volunteering. Sending you a lot of love and prayers!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Praying for you! Similarly, this was supposed to be 'my year' to get pregnant. Can't imagine how I'd feel being in doctor's offices or hospital waiting rooms, trying to keep my baby safe. Or how we'd have coped financially - my husband's work is in sports/entertainment and most of his gigs were cancelled or scaled back. But I am praying that it will pass, and the world will turn to rights again.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability in this post! My "singleness" background is a bit different than yours (I'm single, in my mid 30's now, and not particularly faith-based), but I could relate to so many of the things you mentioned in this post! You really hit it on the nail - that single life of going out with friends, going to events and meeting people, having a ton of fun, flirting - is now non-existent due to COVID. I long for those days of getting dressed up and going to a fun gathering with friends, with the possibility of meeting some awesome and fun people. The mingling. Oh, how I miss that so much. Living alone and being single during a pandemic has been quite challenging, but it helps to hear similar stories.

    Lisa
    www.theeverydayelevated.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. COVID is such a struggle, i'm so over it. I bet it's so hard right now having to put dating on pause. I just love your grateful perspective and faith though.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for sharing! I can imagine that this was a difficult post to write and hit publish on it, but I know so many others can relate to it and will feel seen reading this. Although I am not single, this is reminding me that I should be praying more and reaching out to my friends who are single and isolated more frequently. COVID-19 as it is uniquely difficult - even for people who are more introverted! I am praying for you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh friend, I bet it's so hard. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and for being so honest. God has a plan for you <3

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for reading Southern Belle in Training! Comments make my day- so feel free to share your thoughts on this post! I read each and every comment.
If you have a question in regards to one of my posts, or just want to say hi, the best way to get ahold of me is by e-mailing me directly at: rainbowflash94@yahoo.com. I am better about responding to e-mails than blog comments sometimes!
Xoxo

Blog Design Created by pipdig