I’m sure we all agree that love and relationships are important to us human beings. We are, after all, a social animal. The pandemic, and the way we are trying to control its impact on us, is affecting many things. Today we practice English speaking learning about how people are getting around the lack of physical contact during lockdowns.
There are a lot of especially younger adults missing out on a really important part of their social development right now. A key part of growing up is meeting potential partners and interacting with people, creating friendships and networks that support you.
Love can be expressed in a myriad of different methods, but the most timeless and most treasured will always remain the classic love letter.
⭐ Auliq Ice
For many people, especially older adults, our relationships get us out of bed in the morning. The desire and motivation to interact with others is an important part of our lives. We’ve often invested many years of our lives sharing ourselves with others, and now we can’t.
So let’s use this speaking topic to help practice and learn to speak English. Who knows, you might hear about something that can help you if you're in the middle of a lockdown.
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Hi and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. Speaking, learning, understanding English – Adept English is here to help you with that, all through our Listen and Learn technique.
Now a subject that was suggested to me by my elder daughter. What about ‘Love in the Covid Era’? What about love, romantic love that is, in lockdown? What is the effect of lockdown and the pandemic on peoples’ romantic lives? So just in case you’re not familiar, ‘lockdown’, LOCKDOWN is the word we use in English to talk about the restrictions, the situation demanded by the message ‘stay at home’ because of the virus.
That’s called ‘lockdown’ and we say ‘we are in lockdown’ or ‘we’re all locked down’. And the pandemic, PANDEMIC is the word for widespread illness, illness or disease which affects people all around the world. That’s pandemic.
Before we get into today’s topic – and I hope you’ll agree, it’s a juicy one? Before we get into that – just a reminder of our Course One, Activate Your Listening. If you really want to get some practice in learning English, then Course One covers three main topic areas – and gives you practice at listening to and understanding authentic spoken English.
Speaking, learning pronunciation, learning new words, understanding new topics – it’s all in the course. And it goes further than the podcasts, in that it gives you conversations to listen to, between two people. That’s good practice – you can improve your English skills there. And the topics covered? The UK, food and education. Fairly universal topics – the last two, anyway. So go to our website at adeptenglish.com and check out our Courses page – for details of all our courses, but Course One in particular.
So what’s the effect of the pandemic and the lockdown on relationships? Well, it very much depends upon what your situation is, doesn’t it? I think that the lockdown has easily been the hardest, the most difficult for those people who live on their own. Living on your own, in the middle of a city, in a one bedroom flat – that means that this last year has been really hard.
If you’re sociable, then of course, normally you would be out of your one bedroom flat, seeing your friends, going to bars and restaurants and generally having social contact with lots of other people. But of course, if you can’t do that and there’s no one with you at home, that’s really difficult.
You might be in the opposite situation – you’re in a relationship and you live with the person. For some people, who have good relationships, this lockdown situation has been much more tolerable. ‘Tolerable’, TOLERABLE means ‘easier to bear, easier to put up with’ – from the verb ‘to tolerate’. For many couples, it’s simply meant that you’ve had more time to spend with one another, more time at home – and if you have family living with you, more time with them also.
The situation has emphasised the importance of relationships, friendships and family. So if you’re happy and in a good relationship, then probably the lockdown hasn’t been as much of a challenge. Or not from the point of view of your social needs being met.
And in fact, there are those relationships which have benefited from the pandemic – that means they’ve got better. Sometimes people’s relationships with their partner, or with the person to whom they’re married – the word in English is ‘spouse’, SPOUSE and that can mean either husband or wife – so sometimes people’s relationships with their partner or spouse has actually improved since the lockdown.
A photograph of a rear view of Asian in an online meeting via video conference. As we practice English speaking.
When life is busy and both of you have jobs, or there are children, it’s really easy to get distracted with other things – and to neglect your relationship. So sometimes relationships go wrong, because they’re not given enough time or attention – the people in the relationship are too distracted by other things. So for some people, for whom lockdown and pandemic has meant going for daily walks together, cooking together, paying more attention to each other, their relationships have benefited and are stronger.
These couples may be keen that once the pandemic is over, they ensure that some of these gains are not lost. They may want to change their habits, so that they carry on spending more time together to benefit their relationships. For some people, the lockdown experience has changed their priorities, changed what’s important to them and they want to keep some of this afterwards.
But of course, spare a thought for those people who were in the situation perhaps last March, that they were about to separate from their relationship? Can you imagine you are about to go through a divorce or a separation, then along came a pandemic which from a practical viewpoint, meant you were locked down, with the person that you didn’t want to be with and you had to continue to share the same house? Ahhh.
That’s a difficult situation. It’s also harder to get over a relationship, if you can’t do what people normally do. That is focus on friendships, going out, travel and other areas of your life til you recover. Or even if you’re not in that position of a relationship ending, what about those people whose relationships are in difficulty, who find that when they spend more time together, they just have more arguments? It’s a difficult situation and for some, lockdown has brought to a head tensions and conflicts which didn’t surface in their normal busy lives.
Vocabulary here – if a situation is ‘brought to a head’ that means something has caused it to reach crisis point. So the verb is ‘to bring to a head’. Things that were troublesome but ‘under the surface’ in a relationship may have come out. So what I mean here is that if everyone is so busy and distracted, it’s possible to ignore or to not address the problems in a marriage or a relationship or possibly to not even see the problems.
But when we’re all in this repetitive, ‘Ground Hog Day’ situation, all stuck at home, any difficulties or tensions in a relationship tend to come to the surface and need to be dealt with. So some relationships have got worse and in some relationships, people have been forced to address their problems.
The same goes, of course, for other family relationships – those with your children for example. There are of course many young children stuck at home with their families, instead of going to school or seeing their friends – and we worry about them. There are also many teenagers, who’re seeing much more of mum and dad than perhaps they would choose to – and they’re not seeing as much of their friends as they would like to.
And of course, there are many young people, who’ve had their lives either at university, or in their first jobs – completely interrupted. They’ve had to come home to stay with mum and dad, even though this isn’t what they would have chosen to do otherwise. So all of this – people not necessarily being somewhere out of choice – can mean that tensions erupt, arguments happen. It can be stressful, all living under one roof.
But what about those people also who are in a relationship, who are dating but it’s not been long-term or serious enough or ‘fully formed’ enough that they live together? So if you’re in a dating relationship with someone, lockdown means usually that you can’t see each other. This can be really difficult and affects all age groups but again, it particularly affects young people.
What do you do if your boyfriend or girlfriend lives in a different town – or a different country even and you can’t see them? Well, there are lots of relationships being carried on like this at the moment. People keep their relationships alive by messaging a lot, talking online, doing video calls, sending each other little gifts. People sometimes watch films or TV series together, or eat a meal together online. I know that a nice thing that my daughter, who suggested this podcast topic, did with her boyfriend – they had a ‘restaurant date’ on Facetime.
This meant that they each ordered a meal for the other. And they ordered the meal to be delivered to the other person at the same time and the they ate it together on Facetime. And they had a glass of wine too. Very sweet. You have to be inventive in this situation!
Spare a thought also for people who want to date, but who aren’t in a relationship. The pandemic and effectively being in and out of total lockdown has been hardest on those people who would like to be in a relationship and who would normally be dating, but who haven’t been able to. If you’re in this category, then full sympathy to you – this last year has been hard.
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But people have continued with online dating. Dating apps and dating websites - they’ve had an increase in traffic. Now this could be because people are bored, they’ve got ‘time on their hands’. But it could also be because people are realising the importance of relationships and wanting to find new partners. Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Eharmony, SilverSingles and EliteSingles and others are all enjoying a boost at the moment – there are more people than ever using these websites to find a date. And it’s difficult to get to know someone this way, over FaceTime or Zoom, it’s not the same as meeting in person. Perhaps it means you take time getting to know someone.
It makes sure perhaps that things don’t move too fast and perhaps there’s less to regret, if it doesn’t work out. Another alternative if you’re in the UK, the only way that many of us can socialise with people outside of our own household – you go for a walk together. We are allowed in the UK at the moment ‘to meet one other person, who is not a member of your household’ for a walk.
This is what you do to meet friends – I’ve never walked so much! I’ve even had blisters – that’s BLISTERS! But if you’re dating, then arranging your first date as a walk out in the countryside, is really the only option for you to be face-to-face and stay within the restrictions. And be careful – as I mentioned in a previous podcast, you mustn’t sit down or eat anything on your walk – or you’ll be breaking the lockdown rules! So it really is very restrictive at the moment, But ‘going for a walk’ on a first date – well, I guess it could tell you quite a lot about a person! It’s certainly different to normal!
Well, let’s hope it all changes soon. Let’s hope that the news is more positive and that we can return to normal. Whatever your situation, whatever your ‘relationship status’ as we say, I wish you well in your relationships. Remember too lots of listening, and some conversation practice is all you need to speak English well and with fluency.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.