The last time I went out with Justine, it was clear that things were not right between us.
It was Friday, April 24, and the only reason I was even free to see her that day was because a party I had organized was postponed due to fears of the coronavirus.
Earlier that day I had told my boss that I was no longer comfortable taking the taxi at rush hour and so would prefer to work from home. But as a freelance Journalist, I’ve always preferred to work from home. It didn’t exactly feel like a sacrifice.
There was a vague idea to chat with Justine but it did not involve going out because my brother would soon be returning home. Thus, I told Justine we could meet since she stays relatively close to my place.
I got a table at Chicken Tonight in Kabalagala. This was before the city was under a lockdown, so some places were still open. Justine is the first person I’ve dated since I decided to end my longtime relationship with my previous girlfriend a little over a year ago.
Earlier on in this relationship, she told me she was interested in something long-term and in theory, I wanted the same. But truth I wasn’t in a hurry it feels like I am still getting over my relationship.
Harder on return
So, it was fine ignoring some things about Justine, especially those I didn’t like. Many can easily be dismissed, such as, picking calls during date nights or texting while I’m talking to her. Before we would see each other every weekends though this changed to once in two weeks.
When we would meet, I would feel like she was rushing to a level of intimacy that was uncomfortable for me. But I also wanted to enjoy our time together. I didn’t want to suddenly be plunged into a long-distance relationship in the same country.
In regards to Justine, I always asked myself if I was still interested in the relationship, and my mind always said yes.
With Covid-19 in the picture, I no longer have to fend the unwanted intimacy, since we have to socially distance. The social distance has reduced our ability to connect and I don’t know for how long we may hold this together.
For a long time, relationships have depended so much on the physical connection, at times that kiss, hug or pat on the back is a source of happiness. The last time I met Justine was March 30, we stayed six feet apart.
We have been apart and times she doesn’t pick calls or even reply texts.
I’ve spent the last few weeks struggling with this new reality. I think amidst all that is going on, we should still be able to lean on each other.
I know she is not busy, like the rest of us, she’s home.
But where does that leave us?
Nowhere great. People like Justine seem eager to have the kind of define-the-relationship conversations now more than ever, yet the other side of the story may be thinking of pausing and taking things slow.
In such times, with few of us assured of a job after all this is done, you are always cautious before making emotional commitments.
Love in Covid-19 times
With many people still losing jobs and money, it would only be fair if they get through the storm at least as a couple.
Yet, many young couples are struggling to keep their relationships afloat, some have gone an extra mile to walk to their partners, hire rides or even risk using boda bodas but the question is how many road blocks will you be able to go through just to get to those you love and for how long?
Many have since resorted to technology and mobile applications for aid but these too get boring at one point.
I would suggest we hang in there until this storm weathers and collect the pieces that have remained of our relationships.
The dating game is rather dependent on people meeting in person. The COVID-19 pandemic ought therefore to be detrimental to the lucrative online dating business. Yet the opposite appears to be the case so far.
Users of Tinder, one of the world’s most popular online dating platforms, have been greeted by an unusual message on the app in recent days.
“Social distancing doesn’t have to mean disconnecting,” it begins. “We hope to be a place for connection during this challenging time, but it’s important to stress that now is not the time to meet in real life with your match. Please keep things here for now.”
As human instincts go, the desire to form connections with other people, particularly of a romantic nature, is surely stronger than most.
Will global restrictions on movement and interaction slow the rate at which new relationships are formed?