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Why Thô? As COVID continues, single mom wonders if she’ll ever want to go out again


This is the final installment of The Oregonian / OregonLive’s advice column, “Why Tho?” by Lizzy Acker. Lizzy’s advice first appears in our weekly newsletter. Want to get it early? Subscribe now.

Dear Lizzy,

A few years before COVID hit, I divorced and started dating again. I have two young children so my life is way too busy for a serious relationship. But I share 50/50 custody with their dad (everything is super friendly there) so I have a lot of free time to meet new people and just have fun. I completely enjoy the carefree dating life.

Then COVID hit and it all came to a screeching halt. I stopped dating – pretty much at all – and certainly didn’t want to meet strangers during a deadly pandemic. It was a long period of drought and all quite insulating. For a while, I didn’t even hang out with my friends and family, because I wanted to keep myself and my children safe. I thought that once vaccinated, I would be able to return to the dating scene. But … that never really happened. I have been vaccinated for six months now and have not had a single appointment. I used dating apps for a while, but never managed to find the energy to correspond with people and strike up a conversation, let alone meet someone in real life. I mean, let’s face it, dating apps can already be hell, especially for a woman. But now this seems like the last place I want to be. Although I want to date again, the process of meeting people also seems completely miserable.

Part of me thinks it’s because I’m concerned about the Delta, and I’m concerned about bringing something home to unvaccinated children. And I think these are all very valid concerns. But part of me is wondering if I’m just using that as an excuse, and even after the kids have been vaxxed (everyday now, fingers crossed!), I’ll just find another excuse to keep myself from coming back. and have all the fun I used to have. What is stopping me? And how can I do without it?

Dating during Delta

Dear Meetings During Delta,

One thing occurred to me while reading your letter. You say, about the return to the dating scene: “it never really happened”. Well, since you emailed me I guess you’re still alive. It’s never long and it certainly hasn’t happened yet.

I think you have to give yourself a really long break. You spent almost two years keeping two children alive during a pandemic. It’s a lot. Think about this: If an earthquake and hurricane hit Portland, would you blame yourself for not having a date? No. You would make sure that your children had clean drinking water. That’s it. It’s an emergency.

Now is definitely not the time to make statements about the rest of your life.

Someday, like you said, your kids will get vaccinated and things will slowly start to get a little less scary all the time. When that happens, I bet you’ll feel like you have room in your life and in your brain to consider dating again, via apps, dating, bars or whatever.

Here’s the good thing: It seems like what you’re looking for is a good time, not necessarily more kids or another spouse. There is absolutely no time limit on this. And when you feel ready, I can bet you that a whole bunch of potential dates will feel ready as well, dates that aren’t even on apps right now because they too are just trying to hold up in case of. emergency.

You also need to leave room for the possibility that you come out of the pandemic changed, with different priorities. Maybe you don’t want to date. It is also quite reasonable!

Life is long if we’re lucky, and I hope for you that at 100, if you want to, you still have fun dates with new people and sometimes you remember those weird two years. where no one left their home.


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