Dating During the Pandemic


If there’s anything I’ve noticed about Covid-19’s impact on the dating scene it’s that things have NOT slowed down!

Sure, Have you been tested ? is taking on a whole new meaning, but are singles hitting pause for the pandemic? Not a chance. They’re online, they’re on the apps, and they’re meeting in new ways. It’s an unusual dating landscape that has us connecting like never before while simultaneously bringing back some dating scenarios that might remind you of how grandma used to do it (oh, and speaking of doing it… yep… that’s still happening too).

I was lucky enough to join the exEXPERTS on thePODCAST to talk about Pandemic dating, and Jessica shared something curious she’s noticed (and I have too),

I don’t think in the past people ever would have considered to go to the park and have a picnic for your first date. I mean, it’s so sweet, but I just don’t think that people would have thought of that. I feel like people have been a lot more creative about ways to meet people and things that almost go back to the good old days.

Yes, there is an upside to COVID, as far as dating, that I have seen. Especially here in America, it slowed the roll, which is great. It not only changed where and how we date, but it forced communication, which many people weren’t doing effectively before. Pre-pandemic, they saw each other, they drank, and they hooked up. Then they went, shoot, why am I having issues?

The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to change how we approach dating and forced dating companies to adapt too. Every dating app that didn’t even have the capability for virtual dating before started scrambling last spring to get fully functional online, because there were just a few of them that did it. We brought those first-date conversations online and the pandemic forced people to really talk to each other– because often times, it was all we could do! If you think about it, the COVID relationships that were built in that environment were, make or break. It was like a relationship pressure cooker and it either quickly exposed misalignments, or created relationships with some of the strongest foundations out there because the communication was so strong. 

So in the end, yeah, the pandemic challenged(es) how we date, but here are a few things Covid “gave us” that we can learn from:

Covid gave us time (lots and lots of time).

Downtime, time to talk, time to connect, time to put each other ahead of work, time to get bored, or get real. Time to give a relationship a chance when you might have been prone to be more impulsive and quicker to judgement in the past.

As I said before, here is the US, the pandemic really slowed the roll.

It forced us to change conventions.

We got so creative! Because we couldn’t date exactly the way we’d been doing it – well, necessity is the mother of invention. We had to redefine what a date was. And yes, suddenly things as simple as a walk in the park, with no movie or meal between you, provided nothing but space to connect. And it was indeed a date.

It gave us new criteria for moving forward.

Maybe you really liked all the creative new ways to date– the simple dinners at your man’s apartment when he suggested you dress up and pretend you were out, or the new guy you met for the first time while you walked his dog. Sweet things like that, and playing a game, going for a walk in the park– whether that person was a good match for you or not, you might say going forward, those are things I like to do that I maybe never would have known I like to do. I like to get dressed up. I like to go for a walk. Those kinds of things are maybe now part of your future dating plan and how you measure if you’re a good match for the other person.

It reduced our circle.

Now, many might not think that this is a positive at all, but it can have its benefits. For some of those experiencing live, in-person dating… in order to reduce risk, they narrowed their dating field more than usual. Instead of dating various people, we may have found ourselves dating just a few or only one and giving it real focused shot. For some, this was a real practice in patience. If you’re one of those people who believes, I’ll know in five minutes whether we’re a match or not, and you’ve always really valued your ability to read people, you may have had a few more second dates than you would have before. Not for everyone, but for some, they found that the second date went a hell of a lot better than they ever thought it would and they liked the guy more than they realized at first. Going with your gut is great, but I noticed that some people really learned that they weren’t giving people a real shot and were suddenly having better, longer connections because they were more inclined to stick it out.

It taught us to get out of our own way.

Now while narrowing your circle may have encouraged an earlier focus on commitment to your few in-person dates, dating online in many ways provided the opposite opportunity; and for one of my client’s, proved to have unexpected results. She began just casually dating. Newly divorced after 32 years, she just wanted to get out there and see, touch, taste, and feel everything. She didn’t ask for commitment, didn’t want one. That was the safest way to do online because either way she wins. If she ends up in something committed she lucks out. If it’s temporary, she got what she wanted too. But the men weren’t accustomed to this! She’s very self-possessed, very direct, lots of fun, beautiful, and didn’t let COVID slow her down, and these guys actually fell for her.

It restricted physical interaction.

The level of conversation and getting to know each other for many during the pandemic has became so rich and so potent because we couldn’t jump into the bedroom. We got to know each other, the feelings grew roots and deepened, and now you have these meaningful relationships because people were not depending on the physical to carry the date. They were truly tuning in to one another. Asking questions and connecting on deeper levels. They could focus. In that way, we’ve discovered something beautiful.

What Now?

People say to me, what do you think is going to happen after the pandemic? I think it’s going to be two things. I think people are going to hit the bars and hit each other and do whatever. This summer is going to be crazy because they’ve been so pent up and they want to connect. In fact, New York Post is calling for it to be ‘slutty summer.’ 

Then at the same time, you’ve got other people that have learned about the quality of going more slowly and are going to look to create those conversations. As we use the word date, which before maybe meant hooked up with, it now meant to be courted, to spend time with, to get to know each other. I think people will have certainly discovered the difference and probably will find it less rewarding to go into a bar and stumble home at two in the morning and wake up next to this person in the sheets and go, oh my God, and your name is what? Chet? Chad?

Will we remember the dating pains, and will we remember the stuff we learned? Will we remember that communication and taking time to connect can change everything or that dates can be as simple as two people together anywhere doing anything?

I hope that happens. I really do. That would be nice.


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