Dating After Divorce (And During a Pandemic)


Speaking with Susan Winter is always enlightening and fun! Jessica shares her Covid dating adventures and Susan gives additional tips on dating after divorce (and after Covid)!


  • You make your own rules according to what you need to do for yourself
  • There is an upside to dating during and after Covid.
  • The idea of dating may have changed from just hooking up, to going for a walk in the park.



Welcome to another episode of the exEXPERTS Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re Jessica and T.H

TH: We’re starting today’s podcast smiling and laughing because Susan Winter never fails to tap into stuff –

Jessica: The sexual zeitgeist.

TH: This is a safe space so it just it just comes out. She’s an internationally recognized love coach and best selling author. She is so fab that we want her back over and over again. She is going to talk to us about dating during this pandemic and her experience with her clients and give you tips. Welcome Susan.

Jessica: Thanks for being here.

Susan: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Jessica, not to put you on the spot, but the pandemic has not slowed you down.

Jessica: This is true.

Susan: My girlfriend has been dating since the pandemic began because she is divorced [Yes] and you relate, and she was almost 32 years with the same guy. I don’t know when they stopped having sex, but the resentments built up. He just destroyed her mind. I mean, she couldn’t wait to hit the dating field. I thought that I should make a public service announcement to all the young gentlemen in the Scottsdale, Phoenix area to watch out because there is [she’s on the prowl] a player on the loose.

Jessica: That’s hilarious.

Susan: She can play the player. She is oh my goodness, this girl is good.

Jessica: My question is how long is has her streak been?

Susan: Oh, a year.

Jessica: Impressive.

TH: That’s exhausting, no? She’s not tired?

Susan: No, it’s a new game to her. [Wow] It’s exciting. It’s new. It’s been a distraction. [For sure] She’s relocated. It’s been a discovery. It has been an exploration. It has been research. It has been rewarding. Of course, she began just casually dating. She just wanted to get out there and see, touch, taste, and feel everything, but she does not let the pandemic slow her down at all, and these guys actually fell for her. 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. It’s just that I don’t think the men were accustomed to this. She’s very self-possessed, very direct, lots of fun, beautiful, lots of content, and didn’t let COVID slow her down. However, she did tell me that she got really tired. She thought she had heatstroke. As it turns out, the guy that she was seeing, and he was an ongoing for about four months, one of the fellows at work had gotten COVID. He thought he might have been exposed, she got tested, and she was indeed positive. Because she was young enough and healthy enough, it didn’t put her in the hospital. I quarantined and I got tested because she was the only one I saw just occasionally. I guess it depends on your age and your mentality about how seriously you take this. I’ve got other people that will not leave the house.

Jessica: Yeah, but I feel with the dating situation, I mean, I know people who really, and I’m saying this in the nicest way possible because I’m not judging anyway, I totally understand people who are afraid of it, but there are some people who are kind of COVID crazy. They’re like, I’m not going to date anyone in person and I’ll go on the apps and I will have Zoom dates and we can meet on FaceTime and have phone calls and try to do socially distanced outside, which I think actually worked fairly well for some people in the beginning when the weather was really nice at the end of last spring and into the summer and into early fall even. Those specific friends have really slowed down in this fall and in the winter, because I mean we live in New York City and the idea of going out when it’s 10 degrees outside and trying to have dinner and enjoy yourself and try to feel if there’s any chemistry seems to not really be worth it. On the other hand, there are lots of people I know, [including yourself, yes?] it has not necessarily slowed them down. I will say in my own defense, I had COVID last March, I still have antibodies, so I do feel a little less vulnerable than some other people. Although I’ve said to people that I’ve dated, I totally understand where you’re coming from. It’s up to you. I don’t mind going out and going out to dinner and whatever else because I’m not really at risk of getting it. But it warrants a conversation and it’s been really interesting to talk to people about what these conversations look like. I think we’ve spoken about it once before like the conversations used to always be focused around: Have you been tested for HIV? Have you been tested for STDs, which I found out actually are not called STDs anymore, they’re called STI s. Who knew? Sexually transmitted infections, my doctor said it’s less judgey. I don’t know about that.

TH: Oh my god, they’re both bad.

Jessica: It is, and it’s incredible to me that COVID seems to be the only topic of discussion with regard to that. Yeah, maybe I’m not at risk. I don’t feel like I’m at risk of getting COVID, but like, dude, have you been tested for everything else? That’s the part that amazes me in terms of people not slowing down.

Susan: You know, the human need for another human, do you remember the whole pandemic hustle to get into a turbo relationship with people locking down? Do you remember Craigslist had things like: John from Queens, 5′9, 130 lbs., COVID-free, come chill with me for three months, we’ll have a good time, because people just wanted to be with somebody? People will always ignore certain health concerns in order to see somebody. We will take calculated risks and it just depends on your health level. I have a friend who is severely impaired and he did not leave his house. He cut his hair, he had all of his food delivered, and he didn’t go to the gym. I mean, I don’t know how he did it.

Jessica: You know what I think though is so interesting is how people have decided what they’re willing to do and what they’re not willing to do even when it comes down to not dating. I have a friend who has been dating throughout COVID and maybe all of the guys that she’s met, maybe it started virtually, maybe they met on Zoom, and anyway, she graduates to then going out on dates in person. She definitely has hooked up with a number of guys. She’s slept with several but wouldn’t go to dinner with me in a restaurant. Not for nothing, but I’m not going to have my tongue in your mouth, we’re not going to be breathing in each other’s faces. You’re like, go out on dates and like sleep with guys, but we can’t have a drink?

TH: Everybody makes their own rules for their lives.

Jessica: It’s so interesting.

Susan: You make your own rules according to what you need to do for yourself, right? You find your own justification. That’s all it needs. Any decision we make, it can be so bizarre, we will find a justification according to our needs period. That’s it.

TH: Jess, you weren’t going to be as satisfying as that guy. Dinner with Jessica was not going to be as satisfying [for sure] as hooking up with that guy. You just have to face it.

Jessica: Susan, what are you seeing as the trends that have been happening that have been a little bit maybe different than what you’ve seen in the past throughout all of the pandemic?

Susan: Well, now that we have the vaccine in this time, and also it depends on where you live, in the northeast, people are much more uptight because of that horrific lockdown. My European clients they’ve been in lockdown for months. I had people in Melbourne that were under lockdown, I mean serious lockdown. What about the people in China where they get locked into their apartment? Like literally they lock you into your apartment. You cannot I would oh my gosh, I would lose my mind.

Jessica: I would die.

TH: You’re a prisoner in your own home.

Susan: But people in Arizona, we’re in the west

TH: Did everybody see the expression on her face just now? We’re going to run that video clip. Jess, if you’re only listening to audio, you have watch the guy

Jessica: Yeah, you’ve got to log on.

TH: Go ahead.

Susan: It’s a different mentality. They’re seemingly lax, and lots of people don’t wear masks. I have gotten accustomed to that because it’s New York. I think it’s silly to be in a car by yourself wearing a mask. Yes, but some people do it. Do I think it’s ridiculous to be outside jogging with a mask? For me it looks ridiculous, or walking in the country with a mask, but everybody does what they think they need to do.

TH: To each it’s own.

Susan: And it does vary greatly from state to state, city to city.

TH: Well, look at Florida. Florida has been a free for all since day one.

Susan: I know. I’ve got my friends there. They’re like on mopeds, they’re sailing, they’re doing all these things, playing tennis. Here all the tennis courts were closed and golf courses were locked down. You could only be with the people [the members, right?] and everybody does it differently.

Jessica: I was visiting my parents recently in Florida now that they’ve been vaccinated. I’ll tell you like, we went to a couple of restaurants and I felt like people in the restaurants were looking at me funny because I was wearing a mask. Like, I was the outlier coming from the northeast.

Susan: Yes.

Jessica: Back to the dating situation though. When you’re talking to your clients, I mean, what are their struggles? Or are they trying to figure out new ways of dating? I mean, listen, 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.

TH: The good old days.

Jessica: Right, in terms of the more innocent kind of dating where you’re not touching each other, and it’s not all focused on getting a drink or sitting in a bar.

TH: Well, Jessica, you had a date in the car.

Jessica: I had two dates in a car

TH: You also had a dress-up date, which was very cute.

Jessica: That’s right.

TH: It’s definitely [But those were in person —] more creative.

Jessica: Yes. Yeah.

Susan: So there is an upside to COVID, as far as dating, that I have seen. Not for my Europeans that were separated from borders, and they just got locked out of each other. But for the rest of us, especially here in America, it slowed the roll, which is great. And Jessica, exactly to your point, it forced communication, which people didn’t do. They saw each other, they drank, and they hooked up. Then they went, shoot, why am I having issues? Right now, every dating app that didn’t even have it before started scrambling last spring to get virtual online, because there were just a few of them that did it. Say Allo came out of the box like, oh, we do virtual dating. Suddenly they’re like, everybody’s on just Say Allo, and it’s like pfft. Then of course Bumble got it, and then Tinder and everybody else is getting it, so you’ve got all of that. It forced people to talk to each other. If you think about it, the COVID relationships that were built, people say that was the make or break. They’re with a partner, they went through COVID, they stuck it out together, and they were each other’s person. They’re like, dude, if I got through this, we’re getting married.

TH: Or stay married. I’m going to stay with my wife.

Susan: Yes. Yes. Yes. You had other people who are like this just proved I can’t stand you and now’s the time to get away, so you had both happen.

Jessica: But that’s a really also interesting question and topic because I have seen a lot of situations and read a lot of things online about how fast relationships moved because of COVID. Whether it was in the very beginning when the pandemic started, and to your point, people trying to rush into who’s going to be with me during lockdown, or regardless of what point they met, and then you are forced into you have to spend I guess you don’t have to spend more time together, but you’re spending more time together because two people are working from home. Then you’re able to be on the phone more, and then some people who don’t want to be dating multiple people, and then they are spending a lot more focused time. Someone who in the past may have taken, I don’t know, a month to have four dates or now someone who dated six or eight months through the pandemic, it’s like the equivalent of someone who maybe dated a year or close to two years just because of the condensed time together. [The concentration] Are those relationships real or people have they overcompensated?

Susan: They’re both. I had a number of clients who had online affairs where they fell madly in love. One lady’s in New York and her guy’s in Woodstock and they’ve just on and on and on. Then when the quarantine was lifted, he said to her, you know, this has been fun. Thanks for that. She’s like, oh my god, I thought you were my I spent six hours a day; I told you things I’ve never told anybody. And he’s like, no, but I think I’m ready to go out. Now, that happened, and also what we call turbo relationships, the relationships that got kicked into high gear, because as you so beautifully stated, the level of conversation and getting to know each other 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 multitasking. They weren’t getting into a cab and getting into a meeting and stuff like that they could focus. We’ve discovered something beautiful, and I think, people say 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. Then at the same time, you’ve got other people that 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 it meant hooked up with, it meant to be courted, to spend time with, to get to know each other. I think people will have certainly discovered the difference now 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 thing in the sheets and go oh my god, and your name is what? Chet? Chad?

TH: How do I get you out of here? It also sounds like the simple things, so it’s solid communication. But you’re doing like, Jessica and this guy dressed up to have a date in the apartment. Suit and tie

Jessica: And it was his suggestion. He’s like, how about I wear a suit and you can dress up and we can like play Sinatra and dance and it’ll be like a real date?

TH: So sweet things like that, and playing a game, going for a walk in the park, those might end up just because you’ve gone through this, 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 part of your dating plan and how you measure if you’re a good match for the other person.

Susan: I love that. Do you think it will teach men to court us again?

Jessica: I think that there’s a certain kind of guy that would be more prone to that. Whereas maybe in the past that wouldn’t have been as acceptable, but now it’s like some of them really can be more in touch with their romantic side. There was one guy that I went out with one night, and I also feel like with the pandemic dating, I mean, some of the first encounters are really short. Whereas I think in the past, you really weren’t able to do that. Even if you’re going to go meet someone for a drink, it’s like going to wait for someone for a drink, you’ve got to be there for at least an hour. There was a guy that I went out with and he had a dog. We ended up meeting at 8:30 at night, I don’t remember what night it was, it could have been a Friday or Saturday night, he brought his dog and we went out and we walked his dog for 40 minutes. We weren’t a match, he’s a very nice guy, but we weren’t a match. But it’s like that was a good idea. There was no pressure just walking around the neighborhood. I feel like there are things like that, that people are able to think about that whenever would you have been trying to connect with someone and they would have been like, how about I come and we walk my dog and you’d be like, that’s a date.

TH: Now it’s acceptable. Now it’ll be acceptable, which is really cool I think.

Susan: I think that’s beautiful, TH. I think that’s great, and I hope that happens. I really do. That would be nice.

Jessica: So do I. We have a lot more to talk about as always, but we have to wrap this one up. Thank you Susan so much. What are the best ways for people to reach out to you and contact you directly?

Susan: I’ve got an active YouTube channel: Susan Winter and I got here very late. I’m not a .com, I’m a .net. You can see my whole website and all my different social sites. If you’re on Clubhouse, follow me there. I have a room on Monday nights at 7pm EST. And Instagram, I’m on all the social sites. I’d love to connect with you. Tell me you came from this show and I’ll show you a special life.

Jessica: Excellent.

TH: Susan is such a pleasure [always]. If you listen in and just hear, if it doesn’t even apply to you, maybe it applies to a friend, and if nothing else, you’re fully just going to enjoy listening to her.

Jessica: It’s always entertaining. 

Goodbye: For everyone out there listening, if you know anyone at all who would benefit from what we talked about today please share this episode and everything exExperts.  Be sure and click to subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and please follow us on social media @exEXPERTS on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube. Thanks for listening!

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