Do you also know at least two individuals that met shortly before the lockdown and now got serious, after spending it together 24/7?
Some people I know even arranged Tinder dates on purpose to find a “suitable” person they can spend quarantine with and are now in a supposedly happy and fulfilling relationship with them.
Whatever the prior circumstances were, the ongoing pandemic has definitely been an accelerator for so-called “Turbo-relationships”. Relationships, that would not have emerged as quickly if COVID-19 wasn’t on this year’s surprise list.
Here are my main concerns about why quarantine-made lovers may not be living happily ever after.
1. You Get To See How The Person Is With You But Not With Others
You may ask yourself now: what is she talking about? Of course, I want to see how the person treats ME to decide if they are a good fit.
“If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” — J.K. Rowling
Let me explain: Everybody talks about how you get to know a person so well if you spend 24/7 with them at home. Obviously, you have a lot of time to talk. And I totally agree that you do have deeper conversation topics than usual.
You talk about your dreams, your family, your fears, your past.
You talk about all that deep stuff that would not have surfaced on your second Tinder date if you were facing each other in a restaurant surrounded by 100 other guests.
Here’s the but.
To really get to know a person, you have to observe how that person treats others.
In his podcast “On Purpose”, former Monk Jay Shetty emphasizes that the best way to see the true nature of your partner is to spend time with them in the circles where they usually hang around.
You have to see how the person is around their friends. You have to see how the person is with their family. And you have to see how that person treats the waitress and the cleaning lady.
Of course, the person will be nice and sweet to you. You’ve known each other for only a few weeks, maybe even days, and we all know that at the beginning of dating, we show our best side to impress others.
Especially knowing that if we do not treat the other person well, we may be kicked out and spend lockdown alone. And who wants to spend a crisis alone, if we are already used to spending it together?
Due to current restrictions, it’s quite impossible to see how others act within their circles.
It’s easy to get fooled thinking the person is the best thing that ever happened because they are so wonderful to us. In reality, it may just be a mask we cannot see as we don’t get to observe how they act around others.
2. You Don’t See The Person’s Reactions In Unforeseen Situations
Of course, a pandemic itself is an extreme and unforeseen situation.
Still, our daily life during lockdown is pretty foreseen. You get up and make breakfast, go to your home office, maybe do a home-workout and finally finish the day on the couch by binge-watching Netflix.
You develop a pretty solid routine quickly and despite any COVID-19-related incidents, the world somehow seems to stop turning.
However, according to relationship expert Susan J. Elliott, observing how a person reacts in an unexpected situation tells you a lot about their personality.
It’s an important method to decide whether they are a potential fit for you.
And that’s exactly what’s missing during the quarantine. Here’s what I mean:
- You go out only for one drink with your friends and end up getting super drunk, how do they react?
- Your car dies and they have to pick you up from the middle of nowhere at night, how do they react?
- You get a scholarship for a study-abroad program, how do they react?
Yes, many people lost parts of their families or jobs during lockdown — if that happened to you, odds are that the other person’s reaction to that loss told you something very valuable about their personality.
Nonetheless, the average person did not experience such extremes.
Therefore, it’s difficult to assess if your partner intends to stay during all the ups and downs. And that’s SO important to figure out before you commit to them seriously.
“What happens when things go south, or shit hits the fan? Because love is neither fight nor flight; love doubles-down, joins forces, makes it work. If your reaction is to throw punches or throw in the towel the minutes you’re no longer flying high, it’s not love. And you won’t know until you hit that.”
3. You Fall In Love With The Feeling Of Safety, Not The Person Itself
“If the world goes down, I at least don´t want to be alone.”
I doubt that most Quarantine couples meet all of each others’ standards they usually wish to have in a partner.
Let’s be honest: It’s impossible that the next best Tinder date ticks off everything from your list — even if there are always exceptions.
By suddenly spending 24/7 together without prior knowing the person very well, it’s very likely that you don’t adore the person itself but the feeling of safety, they give you.
And what’s more important than feeling safe during a world pandemic?
“As a species, people tend to seek out connection in times of stress — and in a time when our social interactions are limited and stress levels are high, it only makes sense for members of couples to hold each other a little tighter.”
Generally, humans look for safety in others first before trying to find it within themselves — “I feel so safe in your arms, I feel so safe sleeping next to you.”
Of course, it’s the easier option to simply grab another person to give us this feeling rather than starting a deep and painful analysis inside.
In times of a pandemic, our brain is programmed as that the need for safety is even bigger. This is due to heightened levels of anxiety facing the unknown.
This phenomenon is well-known, as psychologist Bill Chopik states:
“We also see spikes in marriages, new relationships, and even childbirths after disasters. The stress of world events brings some people closer together than before.”
Therefore, chances are that quarantine relationships didn’t emerge because of the couple’s incredible compatibility but due to psychological reasons to feel safe during a pandemic.
4. The Centre Of Your World Revolves Around The Other Person
Just as when unhealthy couples who are so in love suddenly forget about their friends, family, and hobbies, something similar happens during a pandemic.
We get restrictions not to see anybody. We are, mostly, not allowed to pursue our interests, sports, and hobbies.
And since humans are not used to spending excessive amounts of me-time and we don’t like to absorb in ourselves, we put the focus on another person.
Thus, our whole world revolves around the other person.
Clinical psychologist Kristina Hallett, Ph.D. clarifies:
“We know that healthy relationships flourish when both parties have both joint and separate interests, and in many cases, the pandemic has curtailed other relationships.”
Having a healthy relationship means that both parties have a fulfilling life besides the shared life they have with their partner.
And what’s the outcome if we put our focus only on another person and not ourselves, our interests, hobbies, and friends?
Attached “love” develops and that is not real love. You cannot experience detached, healthy feelings if another person is your whole world and you spend 24/7 with them.
Relationships of people who barely knew each other before have sprouted during the lockdown.
However, developing a healthy and fulfilling relationship from scratch during such times is very difficult.
Some crucial phases that need to be gone through are missing and having skipped them may not be the best precondition for a blooming future of their relationship.
Many claim that they have bonded deeply but this is often due to the feeling of safety the person gave them rather than the valuable qualities the person embodies.
“ Once the dust settles, couples may wonder if they were truly meant to be, or if they simply got caught up in the moment.
— Saba Harounie Lurie, therapist
Only time will tell, but I doubt that they will all live happily ever after.
Previously published on medium
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Photo credit: by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash