Day 165 - Love in the Time of Corona
Updated: May 8, 2020
I was talking to my friend Patrick the other day. He and I are veteran single people. We have both spent more of our lives alone than partnered. That isn’t for lack of trying...it just is the way it is. We were talking about the virus and how it is fundamentally changing our culture and world. He is a funny guy so he said this:
Ummm, the virus isn’t going to change much for me in the way of dating. Pretty much all of my dates go exactly like this: don’t touch me, stay at least 6 feet away and end with never being in the same room with me again.
Besides being funny as hell, he is a great friend. We were lamenting that the virus was pretty much ending any chance either of us had for any connection. I mean who is really dating right now??? Ummmm, no one. I will admit that I am thinking about going online to see what the hell is happening in the online dating world...I mean, that has to be a complete shitshow...where are people with sex addictions and perversions getting their fix? I bet pornhub is BOOMING! How are people compulsively attempting to find someone else to make them feel better about themselves when the whole world is in isolation and no one is touching anyone going to fare? It is so tempting...
All of these thoughts could make me feel alone and a little pathetic. But instead, I feel relieved that I am not in a marriage or relationship with someone who is driving me nuts. Someone that I am stuck with and am not happy with but have to lean on and rely upon right now. Just the thought of having anyone in my space other than someone that I am truly, madly deeply in love with makes me kind of crazy...
So while I am super happy to not have to deal with all of that and have compassion for people who are in shitty relationships, I would be a liar if I didn’t say that moving forward in this very uncertain time alone isn’t a little bit daunting. Having someone to lean on seems like something that would be really nice right now. Someone to take care of and enjoy. Someone that could hold me when fear grips me.
But like everything else right now, reality is a quickly shifting thing. I am not being asked if I like anything, or if it is ok with me. My job seems to be to just accept stuff and move forward. Not ignoring my feelings to the contrary but not getting mired in them.
So much is changing so rapidly it is hard to keep up. I feel like my emotional state is somewhat lagging. I am up, then down, kind of like some sort of rubber band effect where I am emotionally pulling back and then being launched into the future in a sudden burst of propulsion.
There are many aspects of life that are going to change in the coming months. Dating is going to be interesting. Super weird and likely not possible. I worry about all the people who are lonely and alone. The people who do not do well alone. Who are not really capable of being idle. I am going to make sure that I reach out to all my single friends and keep them close. As scary as all of this is, it will be hard to walk the path that is coming without a partner.
As funny as Patrick’s comments were, they were not true. They just felt true to him. What I really felt in his commentary was frustration and sadness in his inability to connect with someone despite a true and honest desire to do so. I could relate. I actually know a lot of single people who are incredible people who have their shit together but just don’t seem to be able to find their person.
Unlike, Florentino Ariza we did not fall in love in our youth, we did not early in life find our Fermina Daza and then just bide our time for decades waiting until the time again when he can be reconnected to his one true love. I don’t think that the rest of us are out here having 622 affairs either. But who knows, maybe we are. What all of us seem to lack is a love map, or romantic itinerary that maps out our stations along the long strange trip of love over time.
I can’t seem to land squarely on the whole romantic love thing. There is this part of me that wants to believe in it. That there is this one person out there who is far from perfect but is perfect for me. We are working our way toward each other and when we finally meet, we will both know. I have spent so much time in this fixed delusion that a good shrink would probably label me certifiable. It hasn’t happened, well, I thought it happened but I was wrong. Not the guy.
Then there is this other part of me that is such a pragmatist. Such a realist. That person thinks that people just end up with people who don’t give them such a hard time, that do not inflame them emotionally and are willing to be with them in equal measure. Romantic love is something that some lucky few possess and others are just doing the deal because they want to have a family, stability and do not want to be alone.
It would be great if I could just live in one camp. Just stay in either belief system. But I can’t. I go back and forth all the time which only leaves me with this idea that perhaps the issue is with me. I am the problem. My belief system is what erodes any chance at happiness and love. Then I get frustrated and just quit dating all together.
Now the virus is keeping us all apart. A whole world of potential loving relationships is placed on hold while we all try not to catch something that we cannot see, feel or touch until it takes hold of us and complete commands our full attention. Come to think of it, perhaps love is not unlike the virus. It floats out there waiting for a receptive host, then takes hold. We can't see it, touch it or feel it until it has command over us. Perhaps that is why I remain single, am I impervious to the love virus? Will I be able to thwart the corona virus similarly?
For now, I am just going to keep seeing myself and all the ways that my brokenness leads me toward and a way from people. I am going to continue to be willing to work on myself and my issues. I am going to trust that both love and the virus have endings to their stories. I am going to accept that I am never going to know what those endings are until it is my time to know.
For now, I am going to nurture the relationships I have. Be grateful that I am not alone despite my singleness. I do, in fact, have love in the time of Corona.