Strangers fall in love; lovers become estranged
“I met him 4 months ago, before we ended up in lockdown, and my god I hated him. But now when I look back to how things began, it makes laugh. It’s funny how first impressions are wines”. A couple in Delhi, India, who met just before lockdown and never thought they would have a connection, found solace in each other during COVID. “We were both living away from home, and honestly did feel lost when most of our friends headed home. Moving in together was an impromptu plan. I always believe it is during the time of highest adversities that humans form the strongest bonds. Take war for example, when you fight and survive with someone next to you, you never forget them.”
For others, the pressure cooker of lockdown brought their relationships to the boiling point. A 36-year-old from New Jersey shared that when lockdown happened, she was living with her boyfriend. She quickly realized that this was not the person she wanted to spend her life with. The break-up was very difficult, but within days, she was on the popular matching app, Plenty of Fish. She immediately found a potential partner living in New York. After one week of daily phone calls, they decided to break lockdown restrictions in New York and meet. Immediately, they knew “we both wanted to be together forever.”
For another couple living together in Delhi, a bond 3 years strong shattered in a matter of months. They say that perhaps they were not ready to be this close with each other. Both lived in Delhi for the last 7 years as working professionals. They decided to move in weeks after the lockdown. But the decision did not turn out to be healthy for their relationship. “We have shared the same bed before, but sharing the whole house, when you see the same person 24/7, can make you feel exposed.” They shared that sometimes when you come so close to the glass, you begin to see the cracks on the shiny surface.
“Crisis” in Mandarin is composed of two characters: “incipient moment” and “danger”
The uncertain times thrust upon each of us during this pandemic have been a battlefield of both victory and defeat. Two couples based in Delhi: A couple who barely knew each other formed a unique and lasting bond, and a couple who believed they knew each other very well fell apart. For the American couple, the dissolution of their relationship allowed space for a lasting love to enter.
No matter the specific circumstances of one’s partnership, whether you have just opened the door to a new romance or you are looking for the nearest exit, there are some important things to keep in mind.
Stress can emanate from circumstances that are positive as well as negative. Getting married, for instance, is a primary life stress, even if it’s to the love of your life. Any significant change can lead to stress. Any crisis is an incipient moment: the mark of a significant turning point.
Those skills that are critical for all couples to feel secure and loved become essential cornerstones during times of great upheaval, and navigating a pandemic would certainly require more time, attention, and focus.
Open communication is the foundation for all the other skills necessary for successful partnership: open communication requires making ourselves vulnerable, admitting our fears, both as they arise and those that are lingering about an uncertain future.
Adversity has a way of becoming our cherished teacher indeed. Through the crucible of crisis, we are being given an opportunity to feel the pressure points within us and our relationships, to heal old wounds, to learn more about ourselves and our partner and grow, but ultimately, the choice is ours, together or on our own.