I’ve been proposed to three times, accepted twice and married once. So, I know a thing or two about commitment and lack thereof.
In the time of COVID-19, commitment takes on whole new meaning. Shacking up is in and hook ups are out.
The question is front and center in Italy where a new directive has been issued giving a green light for people to visit certain people. The word they use is “congiuniti” and the edict translates that those allowed to visit are spouses, cohabitating partners, civil union partners, and people who are linked by a stable emotional bond. Hello, explosion on Google as “congiuniti” (not an often-used term) becomes the most frequently searched word by Italians. Could this be your lover, girlfriend, boyfriend, clearly not a friend, but how about a friend with benefits? Would Romeo even be allowed to visit Juliet?
Come on, this is the original romantic culture of flirting and trysts and handsome men with pretty girls in flowing dresses riding a Vespa. But stable emotional bonds as a single person? Not sure that is on any Italian’s Bumble profile. One Italian woman felt that the new edict was an intrusion on her privacy with the government asking her to define her relationship. The Rome Bureau Chief for the New York Times weighed in on the confusion saying “Freedom rests between Like and Like like.”
Think about translating “a stable emotional bond” in America. We are a disposable culture where our biggest moral victory has been eliminating plastic straws. An article in the New York Times cites a statistic that before this virus hit some 34 percent of American singles had engaged in sex before an “official first date.” Like meaning even before the Vespa ride?
While we are all living casual Friday every day, casual sex is (mostly) gone from the landscape. As we are thinking about leaving normal in the dust and creating a new normal that is better for the planet, our health, our mental health, addressing financial inequality, food sources and who we want as our leaders, why not think about a new and healthier way to conduct our love lives? Notches on the bed post (or on Fit Bit) is so 2019. If singles were addicted to a different “snack” every day, how about a more nourishing diet of stable emotional bonds?
Some relationship experts say that this imposed distancing is forcing people in the dating world to slow down and get to know each other, often over the phone or a video chat before even meeting in person. Are people willing to reveal their true selves and what is really important to them?
It’s not about him picking you up in a fancy car and impressing with an expensive dinner. She can be in a ponytail and in sweats and reveal (quelle horreur) what she looks like without makeup. What are the questions you ask one another? What are the answers you give? What if your give a s**t is broken for tolerating unkind or uncaring people? What if it’s not based on looks and bank accounts? Is someone intellectually curious and able to share meaningful life experiences? I know there is fear of rejection, but with so many other things to fear in the world we live in, why not bury that in the backyard with the skinny jeans and the scale?
Is variety the spice of life? Or does the depth of a relationship give life its flavor? For me in my myriad experiences with commitment, the most important thing is someone who has your back, especially now.
I am opening up Kiss & Tell to a special edition where I will take readers’ relationship questions, sort of a non-judgmental Dear Abby. I will keep the questioners’ identities anonymous but give my answers, and there may even be a special prize. You can send to firstname.lastname@example.org.