Love From a Distance; Navigating Romance in the Time of Quarantine
It started out as a bad joke. I didn’t take talk of shut down seriously since it could never happen…until it did. Within the two weeks leading up to the global pandemic and nationwide quarantine, I watched the collective consciousness shift from “this can’t happen,” to “I can’t believe this is happening.” In an instant, hardworking Americans deemed non-essential were laid off from work, left to scavenge for fresh produce and hand sanitizer amidst a labyrinth of empty grocery store shelves. As toilet paper panic proliferated, mask militia escalated, and social distancing sank in, another type of fear percolated beneath the surface; the fear of being alone.
Who will you choose to ride out Covid-19 with?
The every-man-for-himself mentality may have been the case when it came to procuring household essentials, but on the whole, most singles paired up with a doomsday partner like animals boarding Noah’s Ark two-by-two before the storm. Men and women who were already at the tail end of their dying relationships decided to stick together in misery rather than go it alone. Married couples had the task of coexisting on top of each other as tensions ran high and boredom rained down. As for single folks who could no longer meet a mate at a hook-up watering hole, gym, or online dating service, social isolation took on an entirely new meaning.
Oops! I’m drunk on a Wednesday at 11am again
I’ve always quite liked the idea of solo time. Whenever a day off lay waiting on the horizon, I would envision myself in a world of personal relaxation, bubble baths, glasses of expensive wine, light exercise, and educational reading. Although the fantasy persisted, the ugly truth remained that those days never came. Instead of practicing self-care, I typically lost track of time at boozy brunch with people I didn’t find much value in or slept away the day without so much as running a comb through my hair. I see now that I’ve been romanticizing my need to be happily independent, while ignoring the fact that I am indeed a people person who isn’t very good at staying on track if I don’t have to.
Right before Covid ended life as I knew it, my boyfriend and I split up on amicable terms. As much as I would like to say I braved the storm alone with confidence, self-discipline, and a well thought out plan, I did not. I was drinking more than ever, lost sight of my goals, and watched as wasted days turned into nights ad nauseam. I jumped into a casual quarantine buddy relationship out of the gate, and refused to see my habits as destructive or unhealthy. Everyone seemed to be making the same bad choices, finding common ground in the chaos as we joked about our unraveling lives on social media. Self sabotage started to seem so universal, that I actually convinced myself that living this way was normal.
I carried my old habits with me into the next chapter for a few months, continuing to put weight on and my to-do list off. One night after a series of mess ups, unproductive days, and overwhelming irritability, my Covid companion told me point blank that my drinking was problematic, my can-do spirit was gone, and my sense of self was collapsed. If I wanted to stay with him or be happy alone, I needed to change. As he communicated what his boundaries were, it dawned on me that I didn’t know mine. I couldn’t believe I was so ignorant to my own needs, wants, and standards. His honest assessment of my behavior was a tough pill to swallow, but he was right. It was time to accept the truth- MY truth. I’ve always said that being in a successful relationship means coming to the table as a complete individual. If you “need” another person in order to sustain a sense of personal happiness, you’ll always be traveling down the road to disaster. I was fooling myself thinking I was okay, or even mentally strong enough to be involved with someone new.
On that very night, I heeded his words and decided to improve our relationship by working on my relationship with myself. I quit drinking entirely, started eating clean, exercising daily, and thinking about my career goals. At first, he was skeptical of my enthusiasm, concerned it was just a phase. It took a moment to regain his trust, but in time, he saw that I meant it when I said “I’m done living like this.” As I started remembering just how good it felt to be good to myself, we graduated from a casual hook-up to a happy, healthy, monogamous partnership.
The romantic success I’ve since enjoyed is the direct consequence of holding myself (and my boyfriend) to a standard of excellence. You can’t always be 100%, 100% of the time, but we gently remind each other to try. It wasn’t easy to admit that I was so unwell; but it was easy to fix things when not doing so meant more misery and stagnation. Among other things, I learned that I’m not as smart as I think I am. It took someone I hardly knew to lay it all out for me. Regardless of your romantic involvement, getting to a healthy personal space is the bedrock of every victory, amorous or otherwise. From the wise words of my favorite drag queen, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Straw houses get blown away with even the smallest gust of wind. Be sure that you’re building yours in stone.
Is it just me, or is this virus screwing up my dating life
It’s been five months of Covid-19 protocol and pissed off politicians flip-flopping between phases 1 and 2. With the unanticipated anthem of 2020 sounding something like “stay away from everyone and take your anger out on the people around you,” the virus has undoubtedly infected our interpersonal lives as well. As we police those around us who aren’t wearing masks or keeping a safe distance, we resort to venting our grievances online in acerbic diatribes that virtually accomplish nothing. Hell, even the memetic petition to “wear your f***ing mask” isn’t exactly the friendliest reminder. Emotions rise when our sense of belonging is quelled, and consequently, there’s not much talk of romantic pursuits when the whole world seems to be at each other’s throats.
Alone together…for the better
Nobody wants to die alone in a post-apocalyptic terrain (that’s a given), but if you can’t be with the one you love, you gotta love the one you’re with. Truth be told, this journey is yours and yours alone. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, you will always be in a complex, ever-changing relationship with yourself. So why not work on yourself if dating isn’t exactly a viable option? What if you stepped back from the external, and evaluated the internal? Loving and understanding yourself is the foundation for healthy living. If every individual entered the post-Covid landscape with an attitude of personal accountability, mindfulness, spiritual wellbeing, and physical health, perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to point out each other’s misgivings and instead be more willing to fix our own. By approaching this global hiatus as an opportunity to look inward, it’s likely we will put in the work now to become better romantic partners in the future.
Be the kind of person you want to date
Quarantine might just be the social inconvenience that could save your life, but in more ways than one. While we’re forced into isolation, we can still do the very necessary personal work that can help us become better partners, professionals, and people. By making an effort to detoxify our bodies and minds, we can all be on the road to loving ourselves just a little bit more. Here are some ways you can begin living up to your fullest potential and start walking the path to becoming a complete human.
…practice these to ensure Mental Fortitude
- Daily Journaling
- Keep an active account of your mood fluctuations, vent in a safe space about your concerns, take note of situations that leave you feeling recharged, and get rid of those that do not.
- Adhere to a Schedule
- You’ve got way too much time on your hands. As the saying goes, idle time is the devil’s playground. Make the best use of your time by creating a roadmap of ways to go about your day with purpose and productivity. There’s a lot you can accomplish in 24 hours if you optimize your time management skills.
…practice these to ensure Physical Health
- Detoxify Your Body
- The internet has normalized daily drinking, but alcohol is a poison. Take a break from the booze and see all the ways drinking is distracting you from becoming a better you.
- Eat Clean
- You are what you eat, so make sure you’re fueling your body with nutrient dense vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. The mind/body connection cannot be understated. A poor diet not only manifests in physical malaise and excess weight, but also in mental fog and low self esteem.
- Exercise Daily
- Gyms may be closed but there are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up and work up a sweat. Make a point to walk or run outside, do at home workouts, and even start incorporating a new exercise like yoga or Pilates into your daily routine.
…practice these to ensure Spiritual Abundance
- Put Down the Devices
- With all this downtime we’re digesting a lot of media, much of which is spiritually draining, an epicenter of negative thought, and a breeding ground for toxicity. Take a look at your social media feed and news outlets; unfollow negative accounts, turn off the talking heads, and disconnect. Opt to read a book before bed instead of turning on TV. Stay aware of the fact that we feed the mind in the same way we feed the body. Take measures to ensure you’re digesting only the good stuff.
- Be of Service to Others
- Helping others can be a conduit for feelings of community, belonging, and perspective. Practice selflessness to help stay anchored to a higher power, and make it easier to brush off any day-to-day obstacles. Donate to a cause you’re passionate about, spend time actively giving back, and realize just how much you can do with your part in this world.
…practice these to ensure Planetary Connection
- Recenter yourself with 10 minutes of daily mediation. If you’re new to it, head to Youtube and look for a guided mediation that will connect you to your breathing and offer you a moment to decompress. Stepping outside yourself and seeing the big picture begins with a few deep breaths and finding your zen.
- Call Your Loved Ones
- We’re all struggling, and our struggles might be a lot more similar than you think. Pick up the phone and check in with your loved ones. Practice active listening and empathy. Each and everyone of us is swimming in the same river of human consciousness. Your call might just be the life raft they were searching for.
Love in the era of quarantine remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds while still being a subject that remains relatively undiscussed. With the advent of social distancing, curfews, and business closures, it comes as no surprise that Covid-19 has made it difficult to keep ourselves on track let alone date. By using this unique time in our world’s history to organize your spiritual, mental, and physical houses, your future relationships will be exponentially enhanced as you operate from a place of emotional intelligence and personal solidarity. Quarantine may be a blessing in disguise, but only if you use it wisely.
Savannah Lynx is a New Jersey born singer, actress, fitness model, and philanthropist. She has always been passionate about health and fitness, competing in and winning in numerous competitions. Savannah currently lives in Las Vegas, singing in shows like Fantasy, Brian Newman After Dark, and headlining at Rose Rabbit Lie in the Cosmopolitan hotel. In her spare time, she holds fundraisers and helps hospitalized children and homeless veterans with her 501c-3 charity, The Lynx Club.