Despite the use of technology like FaceTime, Skype and Zoom that are helping us date during the Pandemic, there are nuances to dating now that make the situation complicated in itself.
And these very nuances can magnify any insecurities or fears you may already have, making it even more important that you are comfortable navigating dating and relationships during a time of social distancing.
Many might believe that it’s impossible to start a safe relationship right now, or that even if you meet someone, it is doomed to fail.
However, dating now can be completely worth it if you’re both willing to put in the work required to make the relationship succeed.
Recent research even shows that individuals who are dating now are actually developing more intimate and meaningful unions.
At Dating with Dignity, we are here to show you how to make a Pandemic dating work with these three important guidelines.
1. Communicate Clearly and Constantly
Because communication is a fundamental pillar of any relationship, it’s that much more important when you are going to be physically distant from one another, especially as you enter into the courting phase. Both of you need to openly communicate your expectations on everything from big-picture relationship goals to boundaries (e.g, when to get a covid-19 test, who is in your #quaranteam and how you will maintain, how do you feel about travel, eating in restaurants, washing groceries, etc) and a possible schedule of what it might look like to connect in person should things progress. You don’t have to get engaged or decide how many children you’re going to have, but the important thing is to make sure you’re on the same page with where things are going and how you’ll handle day-to-day communications using technology, what it might look like to proceed to in-person meetings, and what would make each of you feel safe to form a #quaranteam that feels safe.
Since you don’t have the luxury of frequent in-person interactions, consistent digital communication, whether it is texting or planning face-to-face interactions, is critical. Even the most seemingly insignificant text messages may take some concerted effort to remember on a daily basis, but they can make all the difference in building romance and connection.
Be sure to schedule in regular FaceTime or Skype sessions as well. Make sure that these are planned ‘dates,’ versus just logging in and talking in order to actually create NEW shared experiences together. Whether you use Airbnb Experiences, Netflix Party, or find another way to engage with each other in a virtualized date experience, taking leadership to plan the dates does not have to fall on the guy you are dating exclusively. Try using language such as, “I have an interesting idea. Are you up for an experiment?” to inspire his curiosity and amp up the flirtation. Then, after the date is over, suggest that he plan the next one! Relying solely on text messages and phone calls, which lend themselves easily to distraction, will often result in feeling like he is boring, or that there isn’t any chemistry. Remember, the ability to see one another’s facial expressions along with your voices in a new shared experience can help to cultivate feelings of affection and stave off loneliness.
2. Expect Unpredictability
No matter how rigorous a communication and progression schedule you’ve agreed to, all bets are off once you have decided to pursue things offline. Health, work, family or financial obligations can quickly become obstacles that make it difficult to see each other and may leave one or both of you feeling especially lonely or insecure for longer stretches of time than you were expecting.
To combat that unsettling sensation of feeling single while in a developing relationship, use time away from your significant other to your benefit. Foster old friendships, try something new that you’ve always wanted to do, or channel your energy into work or a passion project. Allowing yourself to wallow in and dwell on your insecurities will make the time go by much slower and could be detrimental to the relationship.
3. Establish a Milestone
No matter the circumstances of your situation, try to establish a milestone at which you’ll begin considering creating your #quaranteam where you are seeing each other in person regularly. Having these discussions early on is key; existing in an open-ended Pandemic relationship can accentuate self-doubt and cause one or both of you to lose hope, while having a light at the end of the tunnel can provide the encouragement you need to work toward the goal of a successful relationship. While we are in a period of uncertainty and the milestone may be a moving target…there will be an end in sight to your separation!