‘Coronesty’ and how the pandemic has changed attitudes to dating

We’re more willing than ever to be honset about what we really want and need (Picture: Getty Images)

We’ve all been guilty of it. 

Dragging out a relationship that you knew was dead in the water because it was just too painful to have ‘the talk’, going on one too many dates with someone you knew just wasn’t quite right for you, feeling the need to ‘give things another go’ with an ex who, on reflection, was the worst person in the world. 

Well pals, not any more. The times, they are a-changin’.

From spikes in divorce rates to the so-called ‘Great Resignation’, the last couple of years have led to a lot of reassessment of our lives – often resulting in complete overhauls.

For many of us, it’s changed the way we think, our priorities and how we want to spend our time – and has impacted all areas of our lives, from our homes to our hookups. 

In short, the pandemic has made us all realise that life is short and we might not have as much time to waste as we thought. 

And, because we love a buzzy name for dating trends, we’d like to introduce you to ‘coronesty’.

What is coronesty?

Coronesty describes the increased desire for people to be honest with others – and crucially, themselves – about what they really want from a relationship. 

This honesty is super important when it comes to our happiness and wellbeing. 

‘Relationships is a key area of life – it’s where we find connection, self-expression and the opportunity to collaborate with our partners to share joy and build a future,’ says Rhian Kivits, a Relate trained sex and relationship therapist. 

‘When people find themselves in unhappy relationships that don’t reflect their core values and true desires, the lack of fulfilment and absence of love and belonging can be palpable.’ 

Going through the coronavirus pandemic offered an unexpected wake up call to many people.

‘We were reminded about the fragile, finite nature of life,’ Rhian continues.

‘We were also isolated, with more time on our hands to reflect and introspect.

‘Many single people spent lockdown in solitude, reflecting on what they believed they could be missing out on by being unable to date and form relationships. 

‘On the other hand, people in relationships spent lockdown in close proximity, and this lack of space may have illuminated compatibility issues and differences between them.

‘In all cases, many of us remembered what makes us happy and we were shown, very clearly, what does not. 

‘This prompted many of us to find clarity about what we really want to experience in our relationships and how we want to live. 

‘People then became more honest with themselves and others about their needs and aspirations because they realised just how much these things matter.’

Offended man and womanIn cases where irreconcilable differences are exposed as a result of greater honesty, relationships sometimes end (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

As well as this philosophical wake-up call, the practicalities of the pandemic also lent themselves to a more honest approach to dating. 

Ness Cooper is a clinical sexologist who works as a sex and relationship coach at The Sex Consultant.

She says: ‘Not only have people been able to think more about what they want in life, they’ve had more time to communicate. 

‘With lockdowns during the pandemic, many also started to use asynchronous communication more, which has allowed people a chance to actually think more before sending messages to those they’re dating.’ 

That space to reflect – and literally pause before replying – has meant that people were able to better assess whether something was what they really wanted. 

Why it’s important to be honest in dating

All of this renewed sense of honesty is a positive thing, for everyone – both in dating and existing relationships. 

‘Being honest and straightforward while dating or in a new relationship helps partners establish ground rules, boundaries and a structure for the relationship right from the offset,’ says Rhian. 

‘It ensures both people are clear about each other’s needs, core values and aspirations. 

‘This kind of clarity is useful because it means they’re unlikely to develop false expectations of each other and the relationship. 

‘It will also quickly illuminate any differences that need to be considered, which will allow them to assess whether they believe they’ll be compatible in the longer term.’

And let’s face it, nobody wants to waste their time.

A renewed sense of honesty in an existing relationship 

As well as being honest in the early days of seeing someone new, the pandemic also helped people look at whether what they had was really working for them. 

Being forced to reassess our lives, naturally also led to people reassessing their relationships.

‘A renewed sense of honesty in an existing relationship can help partners understand the differences between themselves more clearly and to consider how they can course correct to improve the relationship, if appropriate,’ says Rhian. 

‘It can also help partners identify how things have changed during the time they’ve been together and find ways to compromise or adapt so that they can support each other more fully, find a way to be happy together and continue to grow as a couple.

‘In cases where irreconcilable differences are exposed as a result of greater honesty, relationships sometimes end.

‘However, it’s healthier to admit that a relationship has run its course and for partners to set each other free than to continue in a stale, miserable connection.’

Being honest with yourself 

Woman looking back at friend falling from cliffDishonesty can feed into dramas and disagreements, and fuel confusion, frustration, resentments and even betrayals (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

But, of course, coronesty isn’t just about being honest with your other half, or the person you’re seeing. 

The main essence of coronesty is being honest with – you guessed it – yourself. It’s important to be able to do this, so you can be clear about what you really want and therefore, be clear with your partner. 

‘It also encourages the other person to be honest – from a place of shared honesty it’s possible to identify synergies, focus on solutions and be productive together,’ advises Rhian.

‘When people are not honest with themselves, they’re more likely to mislead their partners and hide their true feelings, needs or wishes, which is a form of emotional unavailability that lies at the root of many relationship problems. 

‘It can feed into dramas and disagreements, and fuel confusion, frustration, resentments and even betrayals.’

However, it can be hard, particularly when it’s not completely clear what we want or feel.

‘Listening to those gut feelings and not just logical thoughts is an important signaller that something isn’t quite right,’ advises Ness. 

‘This doesn’t mean you need to end things. If you’re able to, talk it through with the individual you’re dating and see how you can make things feel right for both of you.

‘Sometimes due to previous experiences we can find it hard to allow ourselves to be honest about the positives in future relationships. It’s important to listen to these feelings when we encounter them.’

However, as Rhian points out, it’s not always easy – and how honest we’re able to be with ourselves and others is a reflection of our self-esteem. 

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‘A person with healthy level self-esteem is likely to value their own opinion and feel entitled to speak their truth,’ she says. 

However a person who struggles with their self-esteem may be tempted to defer to other people’s truth as opposed to their own. 

‘They’ll fail to be honest because they believe their opinions don’t really matter, and they’re driven to seek approval and validation rather than validate themselves.’

Ness suggests that, if you’re struggling with allowing yourself to be honest about what you want, due to past relationships, it may be helpful to seek support from a relationship therapist or coach to help work through these feelings and thoughts.

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