As luck would have it, a fair number of my clients have JUST met people who are contenders to win their heart and now, unfortunately, they are all wondering about dating during the coronavirus. Can their new relationship survive this unprecedented challenge?
Budding relationships are so fun and exciting, and they make the world a better place. They are also fraught with unknowns and uncertainties, ones often navigated the more you spend time together.
In this new world, time together is not something we have easy access to, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of a new relationship.
How do you survive dating in the coronavirus? How do you continue to build a connection that is strong enough to make it through?
It is possible. Here are some ideas.
1. Think big picture.
I know that today our future looks bleak. Stay at home orders and reports of the spread of the virus has brought all of us down.
But it’s not going to last forever. And when it’s over, life will go on.
An essential part of living a full life is love and relationships. Because of that, dating during the coronavirus should involve keeping an eye on the future, an eye on finding that person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
So, in these dark times, try to keep the rest of your life in sight and not focus on the here and now. If you do only look at today, you might find yourself overwhelmed and not hopeful about the future. If you do that, when this is all over, you just might find yourself alone.
2. Do things differently.
For many of my clients, they are frustrated because they can’t follow their normal dating routines. The things that they have always done to get to know someone are now not an option.
And I say, “Great.”
One of the reasons that you are still dating and not in a relationship might be because what you have been doing so far hasn’t been working. Of course, part of it is that you haven’t met the right person, but part of it could be that, in this modern world of dating, there are many opportunities for things to go astray.
Online dating, with its vast opportunities for hookups, often leaves us ghosted. The lack of available time to give to a partner makes it difficult for connections to get fully made. The speed with which we have sex can often kill a relationship before it starts.
So, now we have an opportunity to do things differently.
For hundreds of years, before the advent of social media, people got to know each other differently. During the war years, relationships were built and maintained through letters that often took weeks or months to be delivered. When I was growing up, we talked on the phone for hours and hours until our parents or roommates got sick of listening to us and guilted us off.
Many of my clients tell me that they hate talking on the phone and can’t even conceive of writing a letter, but why not try to do things differently? Look back on your past relationships, the ones that haven’t worked doing it the modern way, and do things differently.
Of course, modern technology does give us the opportunity to interact face to face and in real time with prospective partners during this time, but I also encourage you to go old school and see what happens.
This is an opportunity to date in a way that you never have before—maybe it will work out differently this time!
3. Respect each other’s fears.
In our house, me and my boyfriend’s way of dealing with everything that is going on is quite different. I have been obsessed with watching the news and learning everything that I can about what is going on (without getting hysterical). For my partner, he has been keeping up on the news peripherally but generally going about his life.
To his credit, he is happy to sit there and listen to me while I spout out whatever information I might have just learned. What occurred to me yesterday, when I was sharing “just one more thing,” was that I might be driving him crazy and stressing him out by interrupting him all time and sharing whatever tidbit I had discovered.
If your new person is more like me and you are more like my partner, are you being supportive and listening? If your new person is lackadaisical and you are stressed out, are you respecting their need to be that way and not insisting that they listen to everything that you have to say?
If you and the contender for your heart have different perspectives to this pandemic, don’t automatically write them off. Everyone reacts to things differently, and if this person is the ying to your yang, that could be a very good thing, now, during future crises and in life.
4. Play together—far apart.
Again, what is going on the world has altered modern dating.
Dinners out, movie dates, and social times with friends and family have all been put to the side for now. So what, people ask, is left?
As I wrote above, now is the time to do things differently. Imagine how it would feel to receive a love letter from your new person. Or to curl up in bed and talk into the night, not being concerned that you are in your old lady undies or your favorite holey t-shirt.
Of course, just doing things the old fashioned way isn’t the only option. Modern technology has made dating during coronavirus a little bit easier for all of us. How?
You can make a date for a drink on FaceTime. Agree to watch a movie concurrently and pause every now and then to discuss. Do the same thing with a book. How about doing a crossword together, online or IRL?
And, of course, there is the fine art of flirting in whatever fashion—via text and FaceTime is always fun.
Just because you can’t be in each other’s presence, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun together—apart.
5. Take care of yourself.
The number one piece of advice that I give to every person in every situation is to take care of yourself. This is especially important when you are dating during the coronavirus.
These times are incredibly stressful and, outside of dating, you might find yourself off kilter. This new way of living is throwing us all off a bit, and it will take a while to get used to the new normal.
Add dating into the mix and you just might find yourself in full stress mode.
During this time, make an extra special effort to take care of yourself. Take baths, keep in touch with friends, eat food that makes you happy, hug your kitty. And if the person you are now connected with makes you feel in any way bad about yourself, let them go. Don’t waste even one minute with someone who doesn’t make you feel worthy and special.
Dating during the coronavirus is a whole new thing with a whole different set of rules.
I see this as an opportunity, however, for all of you who are out there trying to find love.
This is an opportunity to do things differently, to get to know new people without all of the modern stressors, to have fun and face fears, and to get to learn how to take care of yourself first.
So put yourself out there, either with someone you have already met or with someone you connect with online. Have fun, do things differently, and see what happens next!