Love in Lockdown 2: Student Dating Experiences during Covid

Have the lockdown restrictions really got in the way of students finding romance?

Last time we spoke to Gabrielle and John about their dating experiences, which resulted in Gabrielle being mentioned in two GlasHoe posts. Since then we’ve had a couple of keen volunteers ready to talk about their experiences as students dating  during the pandemic.  This week, we talk to Roxanne , 22, who is in her final year of Psychology, and Sam, also 22, in his penultimate year of Maths and Physics.

Tell me about your love life in a pre-pandemic world

Roxanne: “I’ve had three long term relationships in my life, and they’ve all come from Tinder, which I suppose is quite lucky.

When I first came to university, I met this guy who went on to become my first university boyfriend, and he proceeded to ghost me. I was then single for a bit and then met another guy who was my longest relationship, which lasted for around two years. I then had three fun months and then COVID hit.

I like the concept of casual, but I’ve only had one successful casual relationship, and I think a lot of that was down to how open our communication was.

Usually, I don’t get with total strangers. More often than not, I know the person in some way, there’s some sort of established rapport before things get sexual. At least, when I’m in the UK anyway…

After I finished high school, I took a gap year and travelled around Australia and south east Asia. There was a lot of hostel action. I feel like when you’re in a hostel, everyone is in the same mindset, there’s no drawn-out talking stages or games. And afterwards, you never see them again, which helps maintain the casual nature of travelling. That being said, when I’m in my “normal life” here in Glasgow, I think I inadvertently give off relationship vibes to the men I see.”

Sam: “I think in general for me it was always just nights out or flat parties. It was especially good when you went out in large groups, because you’re having a great time with people you like and that kind of gives you a natural confidence that makes it much easier to meet new people, and sometimes you end up going home with them. It wasn’t always total strangers, I met a lot of people through extended social circles and being introduced to friends of friends.

I downloaded Tinder once and wasn’t too into it. I don’t like texting, and to be honest, what if I end up meeting my wife there and our story is that we met on Tinder? I don’t like the sound of that too much haha, not that there is anything wrong with it, but it’s just not for me.”

Any spicy dating stories?

Roxanne: “Well, a funny one is this guy I met in a hostel. I don’t know his name, I only know he was half German and half Australian. We just went to the bathroom, had our fun, and then afterwards we high-fived and continued on with our travels.”

Sam: “In my gap year I also travelled in Australia and one night I met a girl from America on a night out. One or two days later I then stayed over at her hotel from which we could see all over Brisbane. So that was fun.”

Enough nostalgia, it’s time to chat about 2020. How have our guests dealt with the pandemic?

How do you meet people and date post Covid?

Roxanne: “I’ve met people through gaffs and Bumble to be honest. My current man, who I’m now exclusive with, I met through Bumble. I was in a bit of rut and had a few shitty experiences with men, so I wasn’t really looking for anything. I was home in Edinburgh for a week and he was nearby in Falkirk, and we arranged to go on a walk with my mum’s new dog. Where my mum lives is at the base of the Pentlands, and we went for a five hour walk. It was really nice, no awkward moments and he’d been involved in GUSA when he was at university, so we had a lot in common, and he momentarily restored my faith in men.

That being said, I was hesitant for it to progress. I wanted the remainder of 2020 to be about working on myself, and I definitely held him at arm’s length for a while. We talked about keeping things casual at around the six-week mark, and he didn’t want that, so we decided on a little break. I think for 24 hours or so we just had no contact, which was a big shock. We’d always sent a message or two throughout the day so to have no contact was what it took for me to realise actually I didn’t want to be with anyone else, and that I only wanted to be with him. The next time we saw each other we decided to make things exclusive and that’s where we are today.”

Sam: “I don’t meet many total strangers as easily anymore, as bars and clubs are closed. I’m still heavily involved in societies, so I’ve met people through Zoom socials and gaffs. I also did fresher’s helping and so met some new people through there. I’m staying strong and have still not resorted to dating apps.”

Any spicy stories post Covid?

Gabrielle’s claim to fame

Roxanne: “Technically, I had sex while in the presence of the GUSA president. Luckily, it was just a cardboard cut-out and not the real person. The cut-out stays IN THE ROOM while having sex.”

Sam: “So I was home in the summer and I went to Berlin for my friend’s birthday, where I met this girl. We clicked really well, and then it just so worked out that she would be in Hamburg not long after, and she messaged me saying come hang out with my friends, so I went along and it was great. We drank in a park and then made out a bit. She seemed really cool and we had fun. She was then in a town about six hours from Hamburg, called Landau, and she told me to come stay with her for a few days. We vibed well and I was keen, and I stayed with her for four days but, would you believe it, we ended up not having sex. It was super romantic at the start, the first night we watched the sunset on her roof, but I think at some point she decided she just wanted to be friends, which I was cool with. I had a great time, I met up with some people I knew there and also hung out with her friends. We played a lot of beach volleyball in the height of summer, and I got a lovely tan. She has since ghosted me. I messaged her saying we had a great time and sent her some pics we got, and she never bothered to reply. It happens.”

How do you look after your mental health these days?

Roxanne: “Alcohol. Just kidding obviously. I like yoga a lot, I find it really soothes my mind. A cup of tea is always a great shout, and also just seeing people. A little bit of human interaction goes a long way. I think the biggest thing for me in 2020 has been realising how important my friends are to me, and how critical they are to my happiness and my wellbeing. I feel I definitely didn’t prioritise my friendships pre COVID, maybe because I was always in a relationship, or because of my experience with friendships in high school. I went to an all-girls private school, and that was a very fake and bitchy environment, so I never placed a lot of value on friendships, but I think moving in with my flatmate and the special bond we’ve developed over the past few years has been of immeasurable value to me, and our late-night chats are something that I’ll be forever grateful for.”

Sam: “I do loads of sports. I feel really good after exercising, it doesn’t matter what I do as long as I’m moving. I love to cook as well, sometimes I make the cooking last way longer than it should simply because I find it so therapeutic. I’ll sometimes watch Netflix when cooking, but more often than not, I’ll phone friends from home. When I first moved to Glasgow, they’d panic when I phoned them because they thought something was wrong, but now we’re used to chatting for a few hours. I’ve kept in contact and maintained good friendships with people all the way from nursery to high school, so it’s always a pleasure to catch up.”

Do you find your mental health is affected by a lack of intimacy?

Roxanne: “Dry spells haven’t really affected me too much to be honest. I can take care of myself; I don’t need a dick to do it. (Yes I am aware that people with dicks are human too). I think intimacy is very important to me, but romantic partners are not the sole supply of it. Hanging out with close friends is equally if not more important, and being in their presence satisfies my intimacy needs.”

Sam: “I don’t need sex for intimacy; having people around me is more than enough. I think I was lucky to never be truly alone during the pandemic, and so I’d say it hasn’t really affected me.”

What advice would you give to people out there looking for love in lockdown?

Roxanne: “If you’re a girl and you’re struggling to meet people, or even if you miss going on walks or whatever, don’t be afraid to just make the first move. Go for it. Guys are super appreciative when they are on the receiving end of the first move. I talk to so many people who are on dating apps and they’re like “Oh, I have so many matches but they’ve not messaged me.” Just message them. You’re both in the same boat, who has the time to waste waiting for the message to appear?”

Sam: “Make use of the spaces where you meet people. If you find someone has caught your eye, go for it. You need to be proactive and make the first move, regardless of whether you’re a guy or a girl. In the library, if you like the look of someone, got talk to them. Everyone is in the same boat, and you’ll find that they’ll be a lot more receptive to you than you might have originally thought. The worst thing that can happen is they say no, you don’t lose anything. I’d say go for a walk as a first date, as it’s COVID friendly. I’d also say join societies, as you’ll definitely find love there.”

Love in lockdown is The Glasgow Tab’s series on dating during Covid, with articles dropping every two weeks. Wanna get involved? DM @thetabglasgow on Insta

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