The Greatest Lesson of the Pandemic Is Commitment

What a woman in her seventies has learned from dating in the time of Covid

Sara Davidson
Forge
Published in
5 min readAug 26, 2020

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Photo: Thomas Tolstrup/Getty Images

In March, when the stay-at-home order came down with a thud, I found myself in a relationship that quickly became more intense and consuming than any I’d had for a decade. In my seventies, I’d recently met a man on a dating site who seemed “possible,” if not a perfect match. In other times, we might have had a few dates and found a reason to drift away. But this was dating in the time of Covid. It was as if we were the only two people on an island. We looked for common interests, shared some laughs, and, most surprisingly, found the physical chemistry was off the charts.

After quarantining for 14 days to make sure we didn’t have Covid, we came together for our second date. It lasted three days.

The same thing happened to my friend, Jackie, who’d met a guy the day before the shutdown. Now they’re sheltering together. When the four of us met at a park, Jackie and I were both a little shocked. I’m tall, and my guy, Adam, is a head shorter and weighs 10 pounds less. We’re an odd-looking couple. Jackie’s an opera singer, and her guy has never heard of Madame Butterfly.

“The music stopped, and this is where we landed,” she said with a laugh. But it was working and we were happy.

In our culture, divorcing and living single have never been easier, and coupling has never seemed more elusive. A number of TV shows are trying unorthodox ways to address the problem of commitment. Love Is Blind on Netflix and Married at First Sight on Lifetime show people who see each other only after they’ve agreed to get married and walk down the aisle. Netflix’s Indian Matchmaker and Love on the Spectrum are using outside advisers to help people — in the latter case, people with autism — commit. The shows are currently hitting a nerve, showing us how quickly we may pass on someone after a brief meeting, because of the illusion fostered by dating sites that there’s a limitless pool out there.

Perhaps the pandemic is teaching us there’s a different way: that we can learn to work with what’s in front of us. To appreciate and even come to love someone who’s right there, in close proximity, instead of holding out for…

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Sara Davidson
Forge
Writer for

Sara Davidson is the N.Y. Times best-selling author of Loose Change, The December Project, and The Didion Files, 50 Years of Friendship with Joan Didion