Has the Pandemic Made Us Put Even More Importance on Digital Signs of Romance?
From posting about your partner on Insta to expecting an immediate reply (because what else could they be doing?), is the pandemic is making us needier than ever when it comes to showing off our relationship online?
By Faith Richardson
Lockdown pressure on relationships
We’re currently on week 34596 of lockdown and whether you’ve been staying home with your partner or haven’t been able to see them in months, there’s one thing couples have all got in common; lockdown has put additional pressure on our relationships.
One of the biggest difficulties’ lockdown romances have faced has been time together, whether it’s too much or not enough. For those of us living with our partners we’ve suddenly had an abundance of time in each other’s company. For anyone who suddenly couldn’t see each other regularly, it can be difficult to maintain signs of romance in what has effectively became a long distance relationship – even if you’re just 10minutes from each other.
The pandemic has made us all lonely, there’s no two ways about it, so it’s natural to crave additional intimacy, attention and communication with loved ones. Whether it’s being tagged in a Facebook memory of a night out or an immediate response to a text you send, we all like to feel thought of and appreciated, but never more so than when it comes to our relationships.
But I can see you’ve been online?
However, we’re rapidly becoming a generation of instant gratification, particularly when we’re forging connections. We expect immediate replies, play by play posts and someone to be readily available around the clock for conversation. The reality is, however, that no human can keep up this level of interaction day in, day out. During the pandemic, this has become even more magnified – “Why aren’t they replying immediately? What else can they possibly be doing? We can’t go anywhere, they’re working at home so they can check their phone. Why are they sitting in another room? Why do they not want to do something fun with me every single night?” on and on ad nauseum.
We just cannot expect our partners – nor can they expect us – to be at our beck and call every second of the day. It’s unrealistic and unfair. We’re all entitled to be left alone for a few hours, whether it’s to focus on work or because we just want to switch off, go offline and enjoy reading a book or catching up on a show we want to see. The pressure of keeping up appearances digitally is exhausting. Zoom fatigue is a very real thing, and sometimes people just can’t face the idea of finishing a long day at work then sitting on more Skype or Zoom calls to have a date.
Don’t forget, comparison is the thief of joy
It can be hard not to compare our relationship reality to others – how often have we scrolled through endless photos of couples playing games, eating candlelit dinners and managing to have romantic evenings in, while the rest of are still wearing yesterday’s sweatpants and going through the nightly ritual of “what do you want to watch?” “I don’t know, what do you want to watch?”. It can often build resentment between couples without even realising it, as you ask yourself why your other half isn’t planning you a dinner with a personalised printed menu and posting snaps of you cosied up together on the sofa.
The reality is, that this is what most relationships consist of – even the ones you’re envious of on Instagram – and it can be easy to lose sight of that when all you see is a snapshot of someone else’s perfect night… then someone else’s… and someone else’s. Instead, remember that what you’re going through together right now is one of the biggest, toughest tests that any relationship can take on, and no amount of Instagram posts can change the way you’re dealing with it together.