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Dating during the COVID-19 outbreak can be confusing for many, especially because people want to stay safe during the quarantine. The goal is to keep the spark alive, so when you meet in person, it’s all smooth sailing.
Now that some cities, states, and counties are partially opening, what does that mean for dating IRL? Do you socially distance while going on a hike, do you kiss with your masks on, and do you even consider having sex?
These have been some of the most popular questions singles trying to navigate love during this pandemic have asked me. Here are my answers:
If you’ve taken the time to stay safe at home over the past few months, you’re probably itching to get back out there. My recommendation is to start your relationship virtually. Between chats, phone calls, and video calls, you can mix it up to create excitement before considering an in-person encounter.
Instead of meeting right away, arrange online rendezvous that help create experiences to help your bond grow. Going on a virtual picnic can be a lot of fun. Find a virtual background of a park setting to add to your Zoom account, and order food items you’d bring in your picnic basket to nibble on together while you each shelter at home.
In time, if the chemistry is there, schedule a social-distancing hike. Since walking, hiking, and biking are considered essential activities, wear a mask on the first date, avoid a make-out session, and enjoy nature’s beauty.
Dating activity has ramped up on dating apps, so there’s no need to put the brakes on dating. So many wonderful singles are seeking virtual companionship, and they’re turning to dating sites and apps to keep their romantic needs alive and kicking.
Our ongoing poll on DatingInTheAgeOfCovid19.com shows that only 18% of singles say they have put dating on hold, while 82% say they still want to date. The best news is that 76% of singles say they are actively seeking a meaningful relationship.
Singles who are dating are getting creative and are doing more than binge-watching shows together and comparing notes — each from their respective laptops. Some are ordering dinner for their virtual date and sending a Venmo payment to cover the tab, as they would if they were dining at a restaurant.
If you love music, create a combined quarantine playlist on Spotify and take turns adding songs. Watch a recorded concert together, and if you play a musical instrument, such as a guitar, a saxophone, keyboards, or even a ukulele, have fun serenading each other to show off your artistic talents.
Video dating is the new normal, and it’s become an essential dating routine you should add to your courtship process. If you still feel great about the connection after you match, you can chat on the app and talk on the phone, then schedule a video date either on FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or an in-app video feature. If you’re worried about having a bad hair day, know that your date is feeling anxious about looking their best, too.
To get ready for your video date, review your messages, so you’re prepared, and I recommend meditating to calm some nerves. Don’t forget to set up your lighting properly by positioning a light in front of you. Try sitting near a window or door to add some natural lighting. Select an outfit you’d wear if you were going to a restaurant and try to listen more than talk. If the date turns out to be a one-sided monologue, it will be a dud.
While I believe it’s a good idea to check in with an ex with whom you haven’t been in touch, but you ended the relationship on mostly amicable terms, you shouldn’t have ulterior motives about getting back together.
My best advice is to send a short text that says, Hi, [insert name]! How are you managing during this challenging time? I hope you’re safe and well.” Don’t expect a reply. If you do get a reply, though, keep it neutral and casual, and let them know a little about your quarantine life.
Relationships in the COVID-19 era are fast-tracking, with many singles who met just before lockdown deciding to become exclusive. Some are taking down their profiles and indicating they are in a “quarantationship“– a relationship taking place during quarantine or situationship. Relationship labels continue to grow, but if you feel a strong connection with one person and the feelings are mutual, there’s no need to play the field.
Instead, have fun talking about the things you’d like to do together when the coast is clear, and when you can get together in person for more than a virtual hug.
To let someone know how you feel, you can send an audio note via text, so they can hear your voice and romantic sentiment in the morning when they wake up.
If you haven’t heard of “zumping,” it’s the latest dating term for when someone ends a relationship on Zoom or other video date. Some people choose to do the slow fade and start texting less frequently, but others decide to do the deed and call it quits on a virtual date.
It’s no fun being zumped during a pandemic, but if you feel your relationship has lost its sizzle and you don’t have enough in common for the long haul, let the person know you’ve enjoyed the time you’ve spent chatting, but realize you have different relationship goals and wish them the best.
I believe the increase in personal health safety measures people have adopted over the last few months will transfer to a new way of dating beyond COVID-19. Washing your hands often, covering your mouth when you sneeze, and being keenly aware of keeping surfaces germ-free are good habits to have moving forward.
That consciousness-raising will likely spill over to the way we measure the personal health habits of potential love interests. Until then, enjoy the digital ride.