Photo Credit: @DevonLeeCarlson
Being single during a pandemic can be tough, but coming out of a period of isolation and trying to find the “one” is even tougher, at least tougher than we’d expected. If dating wasn’t challenging enough it now seems like an impossible task… is the final destination really worth all of those awkward first (and sometimes virtual) dates? We may not have a clear answer to that, but we know someone that might.
Monique Kelley has built herself a career based on her experiences with dating, writing on all there’s to know about it since 2013 when she created her blog “Confessions of a Serial Dater in L.A.”. Her chronicles about the complex world of dating continue to this day with the release of Reality in Chaos, a book that tells the story of love through the friendship of Simone Monroe, Taylor Ross and Jackie McKinley. So who better to answer our never-ending questions about dating than a “serial dater”?
Have a read below at our Q&A session with Monique Kelley to find out all the advice she’s given us on love and relationships this side of lockdown.
How has it affected your personal life when it comes to the perception of love and relationships?
Writing the blog has helped me in being more self- aware of who I am in a relationship. I am unapologetic for my non-negotiables. When I first started the blog there was a fear that men wouldn’t want to date me once they discovered I wrote a dating blog, but my response soon became, “Don’t give me anything bad to write about.” And the blog had evolved through the years. What started off as an anonymous exposé of my own personal dating life has turned into a women’s empowerment movement. And I am so grateful for that.
Would you say that the relationship we have with dating has changed over the years if so, how?
Relationships have drastically changed through the years mostly because of social media and texting. As well as the culture of modern day society. Women are very aware of their power and their sexuality more so than ever before. They are unapologetic for their needs and their wants. But some also, settle for situationships and relationships that are one sided and not mutually beneficial so they can live the “lifestyle” they see on reality TV and forget their worth. There doesn’t seem to be an in between when it comes to young women dating. As far as Gen X women we are hyper aware of our needs and our wants and desires because we have learned from our mistakes that and some, there is a hard edge and a wall that is so thick and so high it is impossible for the right man to get around it or over it. So we need to be aware of where we are. But most importantly, we need to allow ourselves to be courted and let the man do the man. May sound old school…. But old school works for a reason in this case.
Social media has become a vital element in our lives, especially when it comes to Generation Z, do you believe that it has had a positive or negative impact on the dating scene? Can dating still function without the use of social media applications?
Social media has had a negative impact especially for Generation Z. There is a false reality and intimacy. There is the need to put on “shows” instead of living for the moment, especially when it comes to dating. Instead of getting to know people, Gen Z heads to an online profile to find out the inauthentic “you.” It definitely hasn’t helped.
The popularity of dating applications and the reliance on social media and online networks has arguably risen over the past year due to the pandemic and limitations on social interaction. Do you think online dating has been a good thing during the pandemic? What about now that we’re coming further out of isolation?
When the pandemic first hit; I strongly encouraged singles to go online because more people were on there than ever before! And some good singles who would normally never go online were on there because that was honestly the only way to meet people. However, for some people online dating just isn’t the right thing! They tried it and they do not like it, and that’s okay too. They shouldn’t force it. You have to remember your dating journey is customized. What works for one person doesn’t work for the next. You have to find what works for you.
With some facing breakups, having to deal with loneliness or even developing attachment issues, what advice would you give to people who have temporarily given up on dating? Is it a good idea to get back into the dating scene as things are starting to open up again? And if so, how should it be approached?
You just have to go for it! It’s not going to be easy. We are in what I call “Dating Purgatory” because the world we knew is no longer and the world we are in we haven’t figured out. So that translates into dating. You just have to get out there and make yourself figure it out. Change our routine, go to a different grocery store, take a different hiking trail. Tell friends to hook you up, use matchmaking services. Go where the men are- golf courses, cigar lounges, home improvement stores, etc. Take yourself out to lunch. Just get out the damn house and do it!!!!
According to the attachment theory by Bowly, there are four types of attachment that an individual can be defined by. These different types are developed in the upbringing of each individual and affect their character, behaviour and overall approach to relationships (platonic and non-platonic).
Would you say that the experience one has with dating (and love) is affected by the attachment type they are defined by and the experiences they’ve had in their upbringing? If so, do you believe that one can grow out of their attachment style and develop a new one?
Yes and yes. The first step is becoming aware of the challenges and unlearning them.
And as a result of Covid, do you believe we have developed new patterns and dating styles that can be related to a completely new attachment style?
A lot of people got into serious relationships during Covid. Some worked because they were both ready and had worked through those issues prior and now find themselves in healthy loving relationships. Others went into relationships because they didn’t want to be alone. As the world slowly opens up. One person thought they were in a relationship where they were all in while the other is ready to hit the ground running and get back out into the dating world. One person is left hurt and confused and the other is being completely selfish and inconsiderate. That goes back to unresolved issues. Also, singles are going to be more out and about than ever before because we have been cooped up. So that opens a world of possibility.
Do you believe that dating has become some sort of trend of “task”? Do people date in look for love and long-lasting relationships or has it become a routine to avoid being alone and in search of temporary pleasure?
It’s a mixture of both depending on where a person is. And there’s no wrong way as long as you’re open and honest from the very beginning with what you are looking for and your expectations.
Finally, can dating even be considered as one phenomenon with characteristics that can be applied to everyone, or is too personal of an experience to be able to relate to or give advice for in a general manner? Even in times when we are all facing similar issues due to the pandemic, can it really be that similar of an experience for so many?
Always remember each individual has a customised dating journey. I can give all the advice in the world, but it doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. It doesn’t mean there won’t be heartache, hurt, pain, and disappointment. But at least you will not feel alone in the journey. At least you can get a little nudge to get back out there. At least you can know you aren’t the only one with the same insecurities, worries, anxieties and fear when it comes to dating. It’s about encouraging and empowering each other through it.
Words By Chiara Ferrari