Whether you’re re-entering the dating world after a divorce or breakup, or you’ve been in the dating world for some time, you’ve doubtless had to adjust your approach in the last year. Lockdowns and social distancing requirements caused by the coronavirus pandemic have affected all aspects of life, including romance.
Even though restrictions are easing and there is some light at the end of the tunnel because of vaccines, it’s important to not throw all caution to the wind. Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate pandemic dating.
Invest in Distance Dating
Yes, this suggestion may sound cliché given that most social interactions have moved online in the last year as it is (school, work, medicine, etc.) But distance dating can be more meaningful than you think.
Once you’ve exchanged enough instant messages to be comfortable moving to videochat, squeeze this approach for all you can. The conversations you can have with someone over videochat can be enlightening and meaningful.
Likewise, since you may be quite limited in what you do for actual physical outings, you’ll have greater opportunity to get to know each other through conversation. It can be so easy to focus on the fun and excitement when you’re going to restaurants, bars, and parties together that you don’t really spend much time talking with the person.
COVID restrictions can mean that you’re allowed the privilege to get to know someone more deeply through videochat than you would have in person. At the same time, the pandemic may have led you to shift your priorities about life and dating. Maybe you’re more serious about finding a meaningful relationship now, so being limited to mostly calls and video provides a great way to explore that.
Vaccinations, Masks, and More
When you are ready to meet in person, make sure you’re both on the same page about what covid precautions you’ll follow. Perhaps you want to make sure each of you has received a vaccination. Maybe you still want to stick to masks and social distancing. If either of you has children, health-compromised roommates, or elderly parents living at home, you’ll want to weigh the risks of exposure on a date as well.
Have open conversations about this topic. What are you each comfortable with? It’s one thing to be mask-less with family and close friends, but it’s something entirely different when meeting someone for the first time.
Types of Dates
Along these same lines, consider what kinds of dates you’ll be comfortable with at first. Do you want to start out meeting in a park or outdoor event where you can comfortably distance but still be near each other? Or are you ok with meeting at a restaurant with limited capacity?
Think through all of your options. Get creative; the options are endless. And while you’re probably eager to get out into the dating world again and are excited to finally meet someone you’ve only met online, remember to make informed decisions. If your date wants to move more quickly than you’re ready for or go to crowded venues than you’re comfortable with, make your feelings known.
The last year has been a very lonely one. If you’re single, this may be even more true than for those who have a partner or children at home. It makes sense that you’re eager to find romantic connections again. While you may have to adapt your dating expectations to deal with the new normal, you don’t have to forego dating altogether.
If you struggle with loneliness or overwhelming anxiety about dating, please remember how helpful therapy can be. In my practice, I’ve helped many people just like you navigate the tricky world of post-covid dating. You don’t have to go it alone!