The pandemic takes its toll, not only on personal health but also the health of our relationships.
For single people, it may feel like there’s still a sexual firewall in place, blocking the uncoupled from making new attachments until we all get the next anti-virus update (though some are taking their chances regardless, I’m sure).
But what about those who have been in couples during lockdown?
A recent report from Relate and eHarmony in the UK suggests that many new couples have found their relationships on fast-forward over the last few months:
“Coined ‘turbo relationships’, over a third (36%) agree that two months in isolation feels equivalent to two years of commitment, and the same amount (36%) say they’ve reached common relationship milestones, such as moving in together, quicker. This acceleration has also led to more sex (23%), better communication (28%) and the opportunity to discover new, shared passions (18%).
More than half of new couples feel more committed to their partner than ever, but 17% say lockdown made them realise the relationship is over.”
Ok, this is a limited sample and we certainly can’t make any hard conclusions from it.
But the idea of ‘fast-forwarding’ relationships in lockdown makes intuitive sense. If a relationship grows by simply spending more time doing normal stuff in each other’s company, a couple living together for two months in lockdown for all intensive purposes may as well be married.
In some ways, there’s an efficiency to the forced enclosure: Think you’re compatible? Move in together for two months and put it to the test immediately.
It reminds me of a guy I used to know who told me that whenever he started dating someone new he would immediately bring them on vacation with him (within the first few dates!). If it works, he knows it’s something special. If they drive each other nuts and look forward to time apart afterwards, he knows it’s doomed.
We often judge people quickly who plunge into love, tell them they’re “moving too fast”. I know as a typical slow-mover I certainly have. But maybe it’s an underrated strategy for sifting out the wrong people quicker.
All well and good, but the one impediment to this filter is the question of whether you’re choosing good people in the first place. There’s an old computer science maxim: GIGO. Garbage-in, Garbage-out.
If you move too quickly consistently with every potential partner, then you’re just putting yourself in a constant cycle. Hook-up, move in together, argue, fight, break up, cry, eat junk food, get your confidence back, rinse and repeat. Then it becomes a terrible waste of time.
But that said: if you feel great about someone, and you’re both actually in the same life stage and seriously want commitment, perhaps stepping on the gas is the way to go. Set the relationship to “turbo” for a while and you’ll figure out quickly whether or not it’s meant to be. If it isn’t though, be ready for a tricky conversation about social distancing.
What are your thoughts? Do modern relationships move too quickly or slowly? Let me know in the comments below.