young couple embracing after whirlwind romance
Relationships

How a “reset relationship” could help you rediscover the spark you’ve been missing

Have you found yourself looking for a love that will help you hit the reset button? “Reset relationships” are becoming increasingly common – and they might not be as bad as they sound. 

Let’s face it – no one was surprised when Julia Fox and Kanye West split after just six weeks of dating. Not even Julia. In fact, in her opinion, the brief fling was just what the doctor ordered: “It was the best thing that could have happened to me,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “It was like hitting a reset button. It kind of brought a spark into my life that I had kind of forgotten about.”

It seems that Julia isn’t the only woman who has found herself looking to reset through a new romance. Countless studies have shown that Covid-19 has left Brits anxious for some kind of refresh – and this trend has translated into the dating world.

We spoke to women who, like Julia, found themselves drawn to “reset relationships” in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

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We’re all yearning for big life changes

Numerous studies from the past two years indicate a definite trend – in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there seems to be a widespread desire to inject something new or fresh into our lives.

One study found that 30% of us want to make “big life changes” such as quitting a job or ending a relationship. Another found that 70% of us want to reset our health and make better choices. One survey even found that “72% would prefer their life to change significantly rather than go back to how it was before the Covid-19 crisis”. And, according to a new study from Bumble and Plenty of Fish, almost half of single people are craving a reset in their dating lives.

“People are craving a reset this year due to the sense of hopefulness that comes along with potentially inching closer to the end of the pandemic,” explains Maria Sullivan, relationship expert and vice president of Dating.com. “It’s an exciting time for people everywhere to not only get back into the swing of things, but to shed unfulfilling habits and relationships as well as try new things – especially socially and when it comes to dating.”

In 2022, we all seem to be craving a major shift – and what better way to kickstart that change than through our relationships?

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“Reset dating” is a way to try something new

So, what happens when our craving for a reset seeps into our dating habits? You may find yourself in a “reset relationship” – or, in other words, a relationship that is all about serving your own need to refresh your life and get yourself out of a funk.

“For months I’ve been feeling stale somehow,” says Katherine, 29, from Kent. “Even after most of the restrictions were lifted, I still felt like something was off. I didn’t feel like myself and I couldn’t really put my finger on it.”

Katherine thought a change in her dating habits might help. She had been single for the entire pandemic. So, she did what most of us would do – she downloaded Tinder and started swiping. Soon, she was surprised to realise that her matches were not exactly in line with her usual type.

“I was like, ‘Whoa, did I seriously swipe right on a guy this obsessed with football?’” she laughs. She went on a date with him anyway.

“I was really skeptical, but it honestly felt so refreshing,” she recalls. “I felt funny and interesting again – for the first time in probably two years.”

Katherine’s relationship didn’t last long. The pair soon accepted that they didn’t have much in common – aside from their mutual love of happy hour, that is.

“Honestly, it was a great thing – beginning, middle and end,” she says. “I actually do feel like I’ve been reset!”

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For Billie, 22, from Manchester, her reset relationship was a less positive experience.

“I was basically sick and tired of being at home with my parents and sister,” she explains. “Do you know how when you’re home for too long, you kind of regress back into a teenager?”

After lockdown was lifted in the summer of 2020, Billie was quick to move into a flat of her own – finally, she’d get to try “adult life”. “Literally, I was like, ‘Get me out of here!’” she recalls.

For Billie, her need to reset was about feeling like herself again after months living back at home with her parents. She ended up dating a guy from the pub where she was working. They went out for drinks, stayed up late chatting, and even began hanging out with each other’s friends.

“It was amazing,” Billie says, “but I always kind of felt it was a short-term thing.” He, unfortunately, did not. While Billie got a reset – “It’s like I’ve been cleared out,” she says – she realises now that she hurt his feelings along the way.

Reset relationships aren’t that dissimilar from rebound relationships – except what you’re rebounding from is the pandemic. But reset relationships aren’t only a pandemic phenomenon. They can happen after any period of your life that leaves you feeling stuck.

Iona, 23, from Glasgow, is a musician. For her, reset relationships offer an artistic reset, too. “As a singer and a writer, I sometimes feel that dating and the men I’m dating mark eras. And sometimes you grow out of one era and into a new one,” she says. “A little like Taylor Swift, I’m definitely guilty of using new flames to press the restart button and refresh.”

“I think the exciting thrill and butterflies of a new thing – the chase, the wooing – sets my creative spark going too.”

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It might not last, but it could still be good for you

Reset relationships seem to be becoming increasingly common as restrictions are lifted and more people feel safe enough to return to some sense of normalcy in their dating lives.

“Meeting new people and building relationships is an important way to figure out what you want in this new chapter of your life,” Sullivan says.

There’s nothing wrong with a fun fling to reset – just be careful to ensure you and your partner of the moment are on the same page.  

“Lay the ground rules for what you’re looking for and don’t be afraid to ask your date what their intentions are,” she says. “This will allow you to be realistic about your future together and help you decide if it’s something you want to pursue.”

She also advises avoiding getting into reset relationships if you aren’t sure about what you want from them. Instead of trying to reset your life through your dates, you could try getting that reset elsewhere. “It’s OK to take things slowly and take time to revamp other aspects of your life first before moving on to relationships,” she suggests. “Learn what you want and who you want to be first and a fulfilling relationship will follow.”

If you wish you could hit the reset button on your life, we can hardly blame you – it is 2022, after all. And by the sounds of things, it isn’t always the end of the world if you enjoy a temporary reset relationship to get back into the groove – as long as you communicate your needs from the beginning. And, of course, unless you’re someone like Julia Fox, we would recommend steering clear of the Kanye Wests of the world!

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