Lockdown Dating Detox


by Verity Geere

If there was ever a time for reflection and making grand plans to move forward with our lives (once we are allowed) it’s now! Lots of people have been using their time in lockdown to have a clear out of their wardrobes and kitchen cupboards, but what about a clear-out of the dating inbox? Dating expert and author of Man Detox Verity Geere gives her tips to singletons on how to use this time wisely to get rid of the old wood.

When I decided to do my Man Detox I was at the end of my tether with dating. I felt like I’d enjoyed all of the ‘joys’ of a digital dating revolution. From the cat and mouse games of ‘has he replied to my message yet’, to the instant ‘hook ups’, to the ‘I’m taking it slow this time’ to the lump in the throat ‘it was going so well and then he disappeared for dust’ moments. I knew I was no different to so many of my friends on the dating roller coaster, but I knew I needed to get off that ride(!) and clear my head. There wasn’t a worldwide pandemic going on when I chose to do my Man Detox, but I implemented some stringent lockdown style rules for myself; 

1. No dates
2. No sex
3. No speaking to men who might be potential dates or sex

During this time, I went on a journey of self-discovery. I wanted to find out whether stopping dating altogether, while I reflected on my dating misdemeanours, as well as the loves of my life, would identify the reason why I had ended up single, 39 and exasperated by it all.

I wrote down my love life history and peeled back the layers of my dating back-catalogue. I wanted to work out where I had been going wrong with the men I had met in my life. Had Mr Right already passed through, but slipped through the net? Had I been way too accommodating with the men I had dated who were never right for me in the first place? Had I been trying to find love through sex? Was I just not suited to modern dating in the digital world?


One of the big lessons of my Man Detox came from recognising the ‘submarines’ in my life. The men who I once dated, who then disappeared without a trace and then popped back up again – when they needed some attention. It often happens during key dates on the calendar; Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s. When you can’t help but look around you and wish you could be showered with gifts and affection. And I know that the isolation of the Coronavirus lockdown might have kicked a few submarines into action. They have flicked back through their little black book (a.k.a. scrolled through their old WhatsApp messages) and are back in touch to see how you are. Some submarines are so transparent, it hurts.

You might also have some old flames or not-quite-got-started relationships knocking about in your dating profile inbox. In those low moments of weakness it’s ever so tempting to ‘check in’, or reply to those messages. Take ‘Simon’ for example, he was the flashy one who broke my heart after wining and dining me and then feigning an illness before dropping me like a ton of bricks and friend-zoning me. I hadn’t heard from him since I sent an excruciating text after a few too many wines, along the lines of “I miss your massive manhood” (what an idiot). Off the back of that, he had not been in contact for nine months ago, but at Christmas, in true submarine style, he’s popped back up again.

I assumed his reappearance was due to the frisky Christmas party season. Instead he had just become single again (rolls eyes). He said he was just getting in touch to say ‘Hi’, to see if I wanted to go for a drink, so I thought there was no harm in it, although I was well aware there was normally an ulterior motive. We met at a pub local to me, he was dapper as always and looked at me with affection. After all, he had dumped me and moved on. I hadn’t wanted it to end! But seeing him again made me realise I was not bowled over by his looks and that I had put him on a pedestal. We talked about what he had been up to and even though he had said to me he didn’t want a relationship, he went on to be with someone for nine months! It certainly made sense of why he had dropped me out of the blue.

The relationship had given him a good time for nine months, jetting off on various far-flung holidays. But when it came to the crunch and she wanted them to move in together, he wasn’t interested and so they split up. So he got in touch with me. What a cheek! On the other hand it was nice to see him and catch up, as we didn’t ever fall out. And as my friend Holly always says, ‘They always come back.’ However, during my man detox I had moved on and recognised that I wanted more than what he was offering and didn’t want to waste my time with people who just got in touch when they were bored.

This period of isolation is offering a lot of people a time to reflect and recalibrate. But it’s also time to ditch the ‘Simons’ of this world and come out the other side (whenever that may be) like a newly restored car, which is very precious and needs to go to a good home where it will be cared for and shown off with pride. Use this time to have a clear out of the clothes that don’t fit anymore, but also all the ‘potentials’ in your dating inbox which never quite fit either. 


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