Being unable to date as usual has robbed people of the hope and excitement that can sustain them through typical rough patches, he said. (Many reported that socially distanced walks in the cold, one of the few Covid-safe ways to meet people after matching online, wasn’t conducive to forming connections.)
“The most physical contact I’ve had was with a cashier giving me change,” said Marc Fein, 35, an educator and mental health advocate in Jerusalem. “I don’t think I realized how much I needed it.”
Mr. Fein said he had resorted to “pushing my hand against the wall just to get a tactile sensation” or sleeping with another pillow to simulate hugging.
Kris Herndon, a 49-year-old in Greenwich, Conn., said she generally accepted being single but always imagined she might meet a future partner in the course of her daily activities. The possibility gave her comfort and hope, which has diminished during the pandemic.
“There isn’t a lot to do besides stay home, and I’m not going to meet somebody in my house,” she said.
Mr. Fein, who lives by himself, said he had learned he was “a lot more resilient than I thought I was,” but all the time he spent alone invited uncomfortable questions: What decisions led him there? What could he have done differently? When will things change?
But acknowledging his difficulties inspired him to take action, he said. He started having regular phone calls with friends he wouldn’t normally chat with. He attended virtual dance parties, set up dates via video chat and met people between lockdowns in Israel.
None of it is ideal, and it hasn’t been easy doing it alone, Mr. Fein said.
“All of the self-sustaining energy needs to be self-generated,” he said. “There’s no one else there. There isn’t anyone in the physical area to rely on emotionally, physically or spiritually.”
Grace Rogers, a single 24-year-old in Charleston, S.C., said friends in relationships sometimes told her that she was the lucky one, without being cooped up with children and a partner.
This content was originally published here.