To say that 2020 has been an up and down emotional roller coaster of a year would be an understatement. So many areas of people’s lives were turned upside down, put on hold, or slowed down due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, including their dating and love lives.
Now that regulations have been eased more, people are beginning to slowly want to meet up in-person now to get back to some form of “normal” and date again. While the idea of dating the way we did pre-pandemic might not be fully an option just yet in our world, that doesn’t mean that your dating life has to come to a complete stand-still. It just means that you now have to get more creative and innovative with who and how you choose to date.
Here are some tips that you can implement right away to refresh your dating life again while keeping you (and everyone else) safe during the pandemic:
Understand Your Boundaries And Beliefs
Before you can actively start up a dating life again and especially before deciding to meet up with someone in person, you need to ask yourself the hard questions so that you are clear on your boundaries and beliefs.
Some of the questions you should be asking yourself include:
Are you immunocompromised?
Are you sharing a household or interacting in some way (ex: social bubble, family member, friend) with someone regularly who is immunocompromised?
Have you been following the rules/bylaws set in place during this time?
Do you wear a mask in enclosed spaces or when physical distancing isn’t an option?
Have you come into contact with anyone lately?
Who do you regularly come into contact with?
Do you wash your hands frequently with soap and/or hand sanitizer?
Have you – in any form – put others at risk through going about your day/when not self-isolating?
Do you always make sure to carry some form of hand sanitizer on you when hand washing isn’t an option?
By choosing to meet up in-person with someone for a date, will that be putting yourself and/or others at risk?
Safety for yourself and others is never something to joke about/not take seriously and your actions could have consequences. So it’s important to sit down with yourself and answer these hard questions honestly. Know what your boundaries and beliefs are in these areas and be sure to honestly communicate these to whoever you choose to go on a date with.
Use The Pandemic To Break The Ice
Everyone right now is being affected by the pandemic in some way or another. Ask your potential match how they have been handling the pandemic so far and how they have been feeling during this time.
Find out what their dating experiences have been like during this time and what their beliefs are on different areas revolving around the pandemic. When was the last time they were on a date? Are they actively going out on a lot of dates with a lot of different people? What are their thoughts on things like wearing a mask? Using hand sanitizer? Physical distancing?
Not only has everyone been dealing with the pandemic, but we all have different beliefs and opinions surrounding our thoughts on these areas and what our boundaries are and are not. It’s important to have this conversation up-front since this is such an important issue we are facing right now. Be sure to communicate what you are ok with and what you are not ok with.
Keep the conversation respectful and calm, especially if their beliefs aren’t the same as yours. If you don’t feel comfortable over what their beliefs and opinions are in this area, you should right away flag this in your mind (red flag alert!), politely cut the conversation, and move on. Never compromise your own beliefs, especially when those beliefs revolve around safety.
Don’t Be In A Rush To Meet In-Person
I can hear some people already groaning. “But Rebecca, I don’t want to waste my time and just text back-and-forth with someone for weeks or months on end.” Look, I get it. It’s a real shitshow we are going through right now. However, safety is the priority first and foremost at this time, so this means we have to be more careful than we were before.
Don’t agree (and also don’t pressure anyone!) to meet up with you in person when you’ve only been talking for a few days. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend asking anyone on an in-person date until around 2-3 weeks at the earliest of talking (hear me out first before you stop reading though!) online, through text, etc.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about dating during the pandemic is that it has forced us all to take things more slowly (versus rushing into something with someone new) and focus on getting to know someone better. In a world that is so surrounded by such a demanding “I want it now” attitude, the pandemic has allowed a lot of people to slow down, become more patient, and grow more in themselves and their relationships with others. Use this time to follow-through on the higher standards you set and be choosy on who you talk to so that you can be sure they are worth your time.
“I’m not looking for just a penpal though Rebecca.” I hear you there, and I agree, when it comes to dating, you need more than that. Don’t settle for simply just texting back-and-forth as the only form of communication. At the heart of dating, it requires human interaction and effort from both parties to make things work. This leads into my next point…
Utilize Safe Forms Of Communication
One of the best things about living in the year 2020 is that we have access to so many ways to communicate with others around us, not even just locally, but all around the world on a global scale! When you understand both your and your potential match’s beliefs and boundaries, it can make dating safely so much easier (or at least easier than if you both weren’t clear and didn’t communicate about things beforehand).
If you are not ready for an in-person meeting just yet (either due to safety concerns or it’s just too early for it), there are a variety of ways for you and your potential match to communicate safely during this time. Texting and talking online are the most common and first steps to getting to know each other, but once you both feel more comfortable, consider moving forward towards having phone calls. Even better, having video calls.
Zoom video calls skyrocketed this year during the pandemic, and it’s no surprise there because they offer a safe way to communicate (physical distancing) while having the opportunity to see and talk to a person live right in front of your face. While it might not be as satisfying as meeting someone in-person, video calls using platforms such as Zoom, provide the opportunity for you to hear tone and emotion in someone’s voice while seeing them exactly just as they are.
As a side note, I would not recommend talking to someone longer than 3 weeks who is still not comfortable getting on a video call with you. Zoom video calls are a safe way to communicate, not only in regards to the pandemic but also because it addresses the typical safety concerns a woman may have when it comes to dating (such as being alone with a strange man and giving out their phone number and/or home address for a date).
Be Safe Rather Than Sorry For In-Person Dates
When you and your potential match both feel comfortable with meeting in-person for a date, (remember, never pressure or let someone pressure you to do something you don’t want to do), it’s important to discuss all the safety precautions that you should implement during this first meeting. Be sure to have already discussed what your boundaries and beliefs are, as well as what your potential match’s boundaries and beliefs are.
Before meeting in-person, you both might want to consider getting tested for the virus first. There’s nothing wrong with you or your potential match asking you to do this, just like there is nothing wrong with you or a potential match asking you to get tested for STDs before having sex. Everyone has a right to ask these things. Of course, everyone has a right to also decline if they so wish. In which case, never compromise your safety and agree to both move on from there to talking/going on dates with other people.
Getting tested before meeting in-person is the biggest precaution you can take right now and will help to give you both peace of mind in meeting together for your date. This will also help to improve the chances with the date going better too, as neither of you will be freaking out at the back of your mind during the date if you are going to catch the virus from this person.
Another way of being safe during an in-person date is by planning a date outside together. A first date is also generally meant to be simple (I never recommend extravagant first dates) – from taking a coffee to go to walk around a park to eating at an outdoor patio (or even taking the food to-go to eat somewhere else) to just grabbing an ice cream cone together. A lot of businesses have also had to become flexible and adapt their services during this time, so consider having a date together by participating in an outdoor fitness class (for example) at a local gym.
Some additional precautions for extra safety on your date could include implementing physical distancing measures (like going for a walk or parking your separate cars in a lot and talking through your open windows), carrying and using hand sanitizer often, and wearing masks during your date. Whatever boundaries and precautions you both discussed and agreed upon before meeting, make sure you are honouring them. And don’t give in if someone tries to pressure you into getting physical when you are not comfortable with doing so. You are entitled to your boundaries.
Author: Rebecca Bartley, Dating & Relationship Coach for Single Men
Rebecca Bartley is the Founder/Dating & Relationship Coach for Dating Bites, a coaching company dedicated to helping single men tackle their dating and relationship issues to attract their dream woman and form a long-lasting relationship together. With over 10 years worth of industry knowledge and experience when it comes to dating and relationships, Rebecca has been coaching both men and women to become more successful in their relationships and the dating world overall. If you are interested in working one-on-one with Rebecca, click here to book a FREE Strategy Call with her to start seeing results and improving your love life today!