Single in the Pandemic

by | Mar 29, 2021 | Being Single, Quirkyalone, Relationships, Sensuality | 7 comments

The humorist Fran Leibowitz (star of Netflix’s docu-series “Pretend It’s a City”) talked to NPR’s Terry Gross about living alone in New York City during Covid.

Leibowitz said, “Well, it still seems to me to be by far the best choice. I cannot understand how people who do not live alone have stood this last 10 months, because the only upside of having to stay in my apartment is at least there was no one else there. I would find that unbearable, I mean, truly unbearable.”

Ha! When I heard this line on the radio, I glanced around my own apartment to ask myself whether I was happy that there was no one else there. I mean, sure, I love my solitude and all my weird secret single behaviors, with no TV blaring news programs or sports I don’t care about, but I can’t say that I genuinely agreed with Leibowitz that living alone during Covid is the best option—for me. I am not quite the badass Fran L. is, or rather, I’m a different breed of badass.

We all experience living alone and being single differently. Even if we can be OK with being single–or actively enjoy it–living Covid single has been something else. Since I’ve been in transition from Buenos Aires back to the U.S., I’ve done a little bit of everything over the last year: living alone, living with family, in a relationship, and single. I have to say, the transitions were the hardest. Living alone after spending weekends with a partner or living family most of the time was tough. Solitude is a good thing—and there can be too much of a good thing. I missed having people to talk to without setting up a Zoom or dialing the phone.

I was glad to see this news story from the New York Times: A Pandemic is Hard Enough, For Some Being Single Has Made It Harder. The concerns of people who live alone have often been ignored by governments in coronavirus guidelines that unilaterally discourage household mixing—what about all those households of one? For many of us who are single and living alone, the need for human contact can push us to the limit. Some of my single coaching clients have talked about not feeling human, just because they are working on Zoom or email, missing all the serendipitous, everyday fleeting encounters we’d normally have, at the dry cleaners or the office.

Not everyone has access to the New York Times so I will give you a few key nuggets:

“Some who said they were content with being single before the pandemic have nonetheless struggled with what they’re missing in emotional support and even routine physical touch.”

“…while people missed sex, there was more severe pining for nonsexual forms of touch: the day-to-day contact, couch cuddling and hugs — even high-fives — that have been severed off in an age of social distancing.”

“For some, losing nearly a year of searching for a partner is time people didn’t think they could spare…” “That’s especially an issue for those feeling a biological rush to have children.”

This is an especially good Twitter thread to read. A clinical oncology consultant in the UK started a conversation about the dreadfulness of being single during Covid.

All this time alone has its silver linings. Look at all that time you have to get in shape/learn a new language/get clear about what you really want in a relationship and your life. That’s all true, and I’m all for using our time intentionally, living consciously and deliberately.

And we need to be real about the challenges we are facing. Otherwise we stuff down the emotion in our bodies, and it manifests as pain, illness, stiffness, and get this—fatigue! Is that why Covid has been so tiring?

What about you? How are you living Covid? If you are single, are you savoring the alone time or dying for the time when you can go out dancing or to the gym or to yoga class, or wherever it is that you see people? If you’re in a relationship, do you sometimes wish you were living alone? If you are single and living alone, do you wish you were cohabiting so you had someone to talk with? If you’re single with kids home, how is it going for you?

Let us know in the comments.

I want to remind you that I am a life coach who specializes in working with women and men who identify or aspire to the quirkyalone concept, so if you have quirkyalone tendencies and you are struggling with any of the above (or something else), there’s a good chance that I will “get” you.

Could you benefit from the structure and support of life coaching?

If you think life coaching with me might be something for you, go ahead and send a message here.

Tell me what you want to focus on achieving or exploring through coaching.

If I think there’s a good chance I can help, we’ll set up a time for a free phone consult to discover whether we are a good fit.


  1. Linda

    At the beginning of the pandemic, I had a housemate, and I felt anxious, as she and I didn’t have the same ideas about what to do and not do, lockdown-wise. She moved out about a month later, and I had a month of solitude and loved it. Then my son and his wife (and their two dogs) moved in from New York City and stayed with me for about 7 months. I LOVED that time. We were on the same page in terms of coronavirus precautions, and suddenly I had help cooking and cleaning and taking out the garbage. It’s amazing how well we all got along. Not a moment of edginess or irritation. We all managed the together/alone balance well. And it was really beautiful seeing my son as an adult…how he is as a man, as a partner, as a protector, as a provider. Work beckoned him, so they moved to Los Angeles, and it felt like just the perfect time. So I’ve been here alone for 4 months. It’s been fine, since I had some big work commitments (wrote a book, doing a launch, etc.). I do have a little bit of fear that I will continue to “hermit” even after we don’t need to. I’m going to get a cat or dog in a few weeks, and I think it will feel really nice to have a live “being” here with me. Ultimately, I’m probably just waiting til I can travel again, but that might not be for the rest of the year.

    • Sasha Cagen

      Hi Linda, good to hear from you! Glad you have been weathering the storm well alone and together. The time with family can be an opportunity too… here’s to traveling again!

  2. Janel

    I’m single but didn’t really feel alone during the pandemic because I had roommates who kept me great company. There have been a number of occasions when I’ve even felt relieved to be single and without children because I do still have my own space and schedule.

    But I did miss the freedom of getting to do what I want and go where I please. What a year it’s been, to say the least!

    • Sasha Cagen

      To say the least! Thanks for your comment Janel.

  3. Batt Johnson

    What did I do during the pandemic?
    I went to the gym, I learned Spanish, and I wrote a book. Oh, I also drank a lot of whiskey.

    • Sasha Cagen

      Not bad Batt!

  4. Caren

    Interesting blog entry and responses! There are upsides and downsides to singlehood in the pandemic. I think this all leads to a suggestion: We need another Zoom happy hour!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi! I’m Sasha

Executive and Life Coach on a mission to help women connect with their bodies to pursue their truest desires in the bedroom and the world.

Author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperCollins) + To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon & Schuster).

At work on a memoir called Wet, about adventures in healing through sensuality.

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter (my primary way of staying in connection with readers and clients).

Follow me on Instagram where I share snapshots of my own turned-on life with advice on how to live your own.