Lockdown is a challenging time for singletons

How are singletons coping during the Covid-19 pandemic? CHRIS DUNNE talks to a Cork match-maker and relationship advisor about how dating has changed
Lockdown is a challenging time for singletons

Technology is playing even a greater role now in forming and maintaining relationships, during the pandemic. Picture: Stock

PEOPLE craving human connection are finding dating a different ball game during lockdown, and even though there may be plenty of fish in the sea, it may prove difficult to hook up with ‘the one’ or with your perfect soul-mate.

“This is a very challenging time for singletons, especially with the 5km restrictions in place,” says Eithne Buckley, of the Munster-based dating agency, Two Hearts Meet, now in operation for more than 10 years.

Eithne and Daniel McIntyre tied the knot after their eyes met across a crowded room one night in CIT. Their destiny lay not only together but in helping others to find their soul-mates too. Cupid’s arrow struck and the couple decided that two hearts were better than one.

“We have matched a number of couples recently,” says Eithne from Macroom, who is the mother of three adult children.

“The couples are very comfortable with technology and they are postponing meeting up with each other. They are happy to chat on the phone or chat on Zoom for now.”

How is that working out, when you can’t meet your prospective better half in person?

“I think over time they are getting to know each other and getting to know lots of things about each other,” says Eithne.

Virtually meeting someone is not like physically meeting someone though?

“That’s true,” says Eithne. 

“But the couples are looking forward to meeting up when the restrictions are lifted. It is something to look forward to.”

Eithne and Daniel McIntyre.
Eithne and Daniel McIntyre.

Some lucky people have buddied up already.

“We’ve matched some couples who live close by each other in the city,” says Eithne, who runs the dating agency with her husband. They live in Charleville.

“They meet up for a socially-distanced walk while wearing masks.”

But the couples can’t cosy up with each other.

“Obviously there’s no kissing or hugging but they enjoy getting out for fresh air and exercise while swapping life stories!”

It is a novel way of chatting each othe upr.

“The great outdoors is always a good meeting place for people to engage with each other.”

How are the Zooming daters getting along? “We find that some people can be eager at the start,” says Eithne.

“But they then fail to maintain contact in a reasonable time and the connection just fades. It is easy to make contact online but it is harder to maintain it.”

Human nature requires human touch.

“We are social beings,” says Eithne. 

“Ultimately we need the human touch.”

But that’s not happening during Covid.

“But people have found ways to adapt to the new normal and the use of technology is the big one at the moment.”

But can the use of technology seek out ‘the one’, the right one?

“It is important that people learn to use technology to stay connected with others,” says Eithne.

Staying upbeat and positive is vital in seeking out new connections.

“It is vital to stay positive and to stay active in your communications,” says Eithne.

There are ways to stay connected.

“Be it Facebook, WhatsApp, Zoom, or a phone call; staying connected is the way to go.”

What if some people are not into technology or can’t come to grips with modern technology?

“If some people don’t know how to use social media, they can ask a family member or a friend to help them download and use the relevant apps,” says Eithne.

“It’s a good way to develop a foundation of friendship which could end up leading to romance when things get back to normal!”

Eithne and Dan had to tweak their way of working during the pandemic. “As a traditional dating agency, we have had to adapt to using modern technology,” says Eithne.

“We find that our members appreciate the safety of meeting like-minded, genuine people near their location; people who have been vetted by us and who are looking for a mutually supportive relationship.”


Jeanne Sullivan Billeci.
Jeanne Sullivan Billeci.


The author of Be the Soul Mate You Want to Attract, Jeanne Sullivan Billeci, who is based in West Cork and who attracted her husband in 24 hours, says lockdown is a perfect opportunity to put some work into creating the perfect profile to attract the ideal soul mate.

“Instead of impulsively putting up a profile on dating websites, take a strategic step back and look at what hasn’t been working for you,” says Jeanne.

“Do a makeover on our mindset and approach so you don’t keep attracting the wrong people. Unacknowledged negative patterns, as well as unresolved anger, fear of intimacy and commitment, will keep you on a hamster wheel of producing the same results.

“You don’t need to heal everything but you do need to shift and gain clarity on what’s best for you and start living that truth so you don’t put energy into dates that are wrong for you from the start.”

Virtual dates can work.

“Virtual dates are part of the reality of dating now,” says Jeanne.

“I recommend having fun with them.”

How can the scene for seduction be set in the confines of the kitchen worktop or spare room?

Jeanne says there are many ways to attract love with a bit of imagination.

“You can do things like a virtual wine and cheese party,” says Jeanne.

“A virtual happy hour maybe, followed by an online concert or show.”

You can display your talents.

“Give someone a virtual cooking lesson.”

Better still, hook up with a chef.

“Ah yes, you can swap notes!”

When we can enjoy the great outdoors, a coffee, a walk in the park, a game of tennis, golfing or volunteering, can all bring new opportunities for love.

Nobody is going anywhere anytime soon.

“The point is, take your time,” says Jeanne, who kissed a lot of frogs before she found her prince.

“These days of discovery are the most exciting times of a couple’s courtship and strengthen friendship and connection before physical intimacy. 

"If all goes well and you feel ready to share intimacy physically, discus the best process for becoming part of each other’s bubble, such as Covid testing and quarantining.”

And then love stories might begin?

“Yes, they will,” says Jeanne.

“At this point, there should be enough of a connection that you both feel ready to be exclusive.

“If you are both ready and respect each other’s boundaries throughout the process, you’ve built a wonderful foundation for a potentially great love!”

Jeanne is hosting a Soulful Singles Valentine’s Playdate for interested parties. www.mysoulmatescoach.com

We find that people can be eager at the start. But they then fail to maintain contact in a resonable time and the connection just fades. It is easy to make contact online but it is harder to maintain it.

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