What does post-containment love look like?

Single or in a relationship, the coronavirus crisis has largely influenced our romantic relationships. Need for meetings, desire for commitment, breakup … What does post-confinement love look like? Investigation and testimonials.

"I simply realized that it was not made for me and that we no longer had the same expectations", says Charlotte, 29. The confinement upset intimate relationships: the online dating exploded, the first meetings were made on Skype, FaceTime and other online platforms, and couples have become stronger or, on the contrary, weakened. After several months of living locked up at home, the time has come to take stock of our emotional states of love.

Slow dating and authenticity

Confined, singles have not given up on finding love. Between first video date and endless discussion, they have changed their habits on dating apps. But once our freedoms have been regained, what remains of these new reflexes? “The confinement postponed the time of the meeting. Finally, we took advantage of this period to learn to discover ourselves. Under normal conditions, I would surely have offered a drink after a few days of discussion. We saw each other at the start of the deconfinement and today we are together ” says Léa, 25 years old “I don't know if we can speak of chance or thank the confinement but I think I really needed to get into a relationship”.

According to a large survey carried out by Meetic in April 2020, confinement would have had an impact on the expectations of single people: 55% of them (and 64% of single women) say they expect even more sincerity and authenticity in relationships than before confinement. Needs noted by Cécile Guéret, psychopractor and author ofTo love is to take the risk of surprise*: “I hear a lot of people spending less time on relationships that seem incidental to them, refocusing on what makes sense, important relationships, reconnecting with lost friends, etc. And, in the relationship, the search for intimacy, less superficiality, the need to be able to lean on others, to support them, the expectation of nourishing relationships ".

Confinement has reinvented the romantic encounter in favor of slow dating. The result: longer, more in-depth conversations. "I've heard patients tell me that they see more sincerity in apps: each starts the conversation by asking how the other is handling the situation, more support, wanting connections, notes Cécile Guéret. And more than before I believe the tendency to take the time to discover and tame ".

Reinventing seduction

The fear of being contaminated or of contaminating also invites us to take the time to meet. "I must admit that I dread physical contact with strangers a bit, I'm even afraid of kissing, I need to feel really confident" says Léa, 34 years old. "I have the impression that all romanticism is dead … Between the barrier gestures, the mask, the many closed places, it's difficult to let go completely".

Cécile Guéret returns to these fears: "Of course, it can seem difficult to give free rein to our outbursts to others, to surrender to desire, or even more generally to give hugs, hugs, hugs. But we are adapting our ways of communicating: we “poke” each other with the elbow instead of kissing each other, we take more care of the quality of the relationship, we make more explicit what before was non-verbal, attentions (the smile for example) ". And contact is not limited to touch, as the expert specifies, the voice, the eyes, the gestures are more important than ever. "We may be able to pay more attention to all these tiny and important little signs, develop our attention to what is good in relationships with others."

Among the habits that may well remain, the first date on video which grew during containment is said to have increased by 42% on the Bumble app in the UK. However, the shrink observes in her patients a desire for contact, a need to take action without asking too many questions about these constraints linked to the pandemic: “I have the impression that this can be explained by the fact that the weather is still good enough to meet outside (so possibly without a mask in the authorized areas) and by the feeling of gaining sufficiently quickly in intimacy with the 'other to feel / believe in security by relaxing the barrier gestures. Perhaps it is also the drive for life that is expressed, the desire for connection, for the other, to live ".

Confinement, revealing for couples

According to an Ifop survey for the charles.co site, 60% of French couples confess that they have not been impacted by confinement, while 30% even believe that this period has brought them closer. For Clémence, 25, who lives in Paris, but whose companion lives in Switzerland, the confinement confirmed her in the idea that her couple was solid, even from a distance: “Since we've been deconfined, I've seen him a lot more than usual, it's the third time I've seen him since the end of June, whereas normally we see each other every two months. We are afraid of a reconfinement, so he will come to Paris by the end of the month so that we can be together. Not twice! " she jokes.

One in ten couples, however, admit to having moved away, especially in the younger generation, for whom it was often the first conjugal experience. "Maybe because the emerging relationship was more fragile, maybe also because the conditions of confinement in small spaces were more difficult to live with or because the distance (for those who confined themselves separately) took them away" Cécile Guéret analysis.

Finally, the situation was brutal for 4% of the French, having decided to break up definitively after these two months spent together. This is the case of Charlotte, who after 6 years of relationship, left her partner. “It's as if this parenthesis had highlighted all the problems of our couple. I wanted to start a family, to move or even buy, to build something solid, a home, and he didn't seem ready. I realized with the confinement that I couldn't wait for it any longer and put my cravings aside. It was too painful ” confides the young woman. So, after a month and a half of confinement, she joined her family in Bordeaux to take stock.

Confinement has acted as a couple and relationship accelerator, for better or for worse. As our expert emphasizes, the pandemic has created an emergency to seize our existence. "It makes us revise our life projects, our expectations vis-à-vis the other, the relationship and forces us to ask ourselves questions about the way we live our existence, to confirm what makes sense for us. we, to dare even more, to assume ” she comments.

Single or in a relationship, the results seem similar: no matter where we are in love, the context will have put us in front of our real desires. We now know what we want, what makes us happy and what is essential to us.

Thanks to Cécile Guéret, online psychopractor and author ofTo love is to take the risk of being surprised, ed. Albin Michel, cecilegueret.com

See also: Romantic nicknames in the couple: what do they mean?

Video by Juliette Le Peillet