A few days ago, when I was scrolling my Facebook page, I saw a girl asking in a female group about recommendations of sex toys, and it immediately turned into a viral post. To my surprise, many women were comfortable sharing their personal experiences and the product they were using in a public group. It is eye-opening to see how women are becoming more open towards talking about sex toys-"the once skeleton in the closet". Thanks to the pandemic, sex toys are slowly casting off their taboo image in different cultures.

It has never been such a struggle for us to meet new people in life. With all the restrictions and curfews imposed worldwide, meeting people became one of the most challenging things during this pandemic. Those rules are a disaster for single people. Despite the existence of all the online apps, people are less keen to meet up in person. However, It is one thing to text with someone over the screen, but another thing to interact with someone face to face, let alone the physical touch. On the other side, couples in a committed relationship also feel trapped and deprived of passion because of the endlessly long hours they were with each other.

Today, I am going to share three love stories of my female friends. Their stories are not unique in any sense, but perhaps we can all relate to something.

I recently met a friend; let's call her Amy. She grew up in California but is now living in Izmir, Turkey, thanks to her Turkish root on her mom's side. When the pandemic started to hit hard in the US, she decided to move back to Turkey, the country where she speaks the language and is familiar with the culture. Deep down, she knew why she was back. One day, she realized she was still in love with this guy she was in love with back 17 years ago. They ended up breaking up when she was 23, and life moved on. "her love" married another woman and is now dealing with a painful divorce. Since her mom passed away two years ago, she has decided what she wanted is a family, most importantly, to have a child. At the age of 42, this pandemic made her realize what she truly wants in her life, and she was determined to prioritize it. After several days of deliberate thinking, she showed up at that guy's workplace and made a heartfelt confession, something she could not imagine doing in her life. She succeeded. Now she is planning all the appointments with doctors to prepare for her pregnancy.

Before the pandemic, Sophia fell in love with an American guy she met at her friend's wedding about a year ago. When the pandemic and travel restriction started, she had to decide whether she would go to the US to be with him. For anyone who knows Sophia well, she has always been ready to fight for anything she wanted in her life. She quickly packed everything and boarded almost the last flight to New York before they shut down the airport. Sadly, things did not go like a Hollywood romance movie. After a brutal breakup, she got stuck in the US for about five months until some countries started to reopen their international travels. She was left alone entirely to navigate a new country. Due to the covid restrictions and costly flight tickets, she did not go back to her own country but instead flew to one of the open countries and chose to set up her new life from there. The pandemic made it hard for her to make friends in a brand new country. Though tinder is not her cup of tea, she had herself signed up. She found herself a lover. Though They did not have much of an intellectual connection, she told herself it was not a time to be picky. They didn't live in the same city and therefore agreed to meet once a week for sex. Some days, she felt extremely lonely and depleted, doubting where her future was.

Grace had an LDR for a year. Before that, she was living her dream life as a digital nomad, a lifestyle known as working and traveling the world at the same time. Prior to the pandemic, she could meet her boyfriend every three months on average, depending on where they were in the world. Ever since the pandemic hit, traveling freely has become unrealistic, and inevitably, their dating routine ended up being broken too. Each of them ended up being stuck in a different country, and reunions became a complicated and expensive hassle. Every day, she was glued to her phone for hours. Though she knew excessive communication is not healthy for their relationship, but she could not help. This pandemic helped them understand what this relationship meant for each other. Lately, they reached a decision to close their LDR and move together once the pandemic is over. They started to research places that would be practical for both of them to live in the future.

It is no doubt that dating has become a lot harder since the pandemic. However, no matter if you are in a relationship, it is vital to take care of your own mental health by redirecting your default way of thinking and seeing the silver lining side of this pandemic. Spending time alone is not necessarily bad and can help you become more introspective. Perhaps you gain better self-knowledge and it helps you understand what you truly want in your life. Perhaps now you have more time for your family instead of endless sales meetings and excessive work. 

Let's all have our finger crossed and hope the madness will be over and life will return to some level of normalcy soon.