How to Date During a Pandemic

Posted by on Jul 15, 2020 in Couples Counseling For One | Comments Off on How to Date During a Pandemic

Human beings have a strong need to interact and connect with other people. Stressful or anxious circumstances, such as the current COVID-19 crisis, can heighten this need. Masks, social distancing, and other measures necessary to slow the spread of the virus also make it more challenging to form these connections. So how are people supposed to date during a pandemic?

Should I Date?

So many people are struggling these days with loneliness and what to do about it. The question facing many singles is “Should I or can I date?” The answer is yes! Even during pandemic times, it’s still possible to date. But there need to be some adjustments. Dating as it was before the pandemic just is not possible right now. Options for meeting partners have changed overnight.

Prior to COVID, online dating was one of many options available for dating and meeting a potential partner; now it is the most common way! The use of online dating apps has exploded in the last few months. Even so, the basics of online dating have not changed.

1. How to Date During a Pandemic: Getting Started

The first step in dating online is getting online! Find a dating site or app that fits your personality. There are many options out there these days. Create a profile that accurately describes you and expresses your desires for a partner. Keep in mind what you are putting out there on the internet. Remember, accuracy doesn’t mean sharing your personal identifying

2. Get Know Each Other

With online dating, you really want to take the time to get to know a potential partner. It might be tempting to rush in and start dating, especially these days. However, getting to know one another is important. Taking your time will help you know whether this person is right for you.
One thing I recommend and encourage for daters to do is to get to know one another through phone calls or video calls.

With text-based conversations, such as email or texting, it’s too easy for people to selectively present themselves in positive ways and to over-attribute positive qualities to a potential partner. You will get a much more complete picture this way; it’s much harder for someone to “spin” themselves when on a video call or even meeting face-to-face.

3. How is Your Partner Coping?

Pay attention to how a potential partner is coping with the pandemic. Since people tend to put their best foot forward during the early stage of a relationship, we don’t usually get to see how a potential partner deals with stress. The current situation can give you a glimpse into whether the two of you are a good match in terms of coping strategies. This is an important factor in determining compatibility.

4. Decide Whether to Meet Someone

This is perhaps the most difficult decision new couples are facing regarding how to date during a pandemic right now. Spending time in close physical proximity with a partner is a huge part of what it means to be dating yet it also increases the risk of spreading, and perhaps contracting, COVID-19.

When making this decision, start the conversation remotely (phone, video chat, etc.). Remember that some people might be more open to meeting sooner, while others will be more cautious. Establish ground rules for the first meeting. For example:

  • Will you both be wearing masks and social distancing?  
  • Meet inside or outside? In public or private. That can be an issue because often one person will want to meet in public for safety reasons.  
  • What about intimacy? Will we hold hands or even kiss? 
  • Should we quarantine before meeting to ensure we don’t get each other sick?  

There are lots of questions that couples need to talk about. If couples can have these discussions and work together to come to mutually-agreed upon decision, that can be a predictor for future relationship success.

5. Be Kind to Yourself

Dating is challenging under the best of circumstances, and dating during a pandemic adds extra layers of concern. If those concerns are causing more stress, then it’s okay to take a step back from dating. Remember that choosing not to date doesn’t mean you can’t have meaningful relationships with others (friends, family, etc.) that can help sustain you through the pandemic.

If you are still struggling with understanding how to date during a pandemic, talk to a therapist for help. A therapist who specializes in dating and relationships will be a great resource for making these kinds of decisions.

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