COVID has changed the dating game for everyone.
Let’s get real about 2020, it has brought all the dirty things about our society (and ourselves) to light. Things are getting REAL and people are getting HONEST with themselves whether they like it or not. The same goes for dating.
One thing I realized about dating in a pandemic is that it didn’t change my values of dating. It just changed how I maneuvered the dating game.
I’m not a casual hookup person. Never have been and never will be. I don’t like my time wasted. If you’re not looking for something serious ya gotta go. These are just harsh truths about me and dating that I knew before the pandemic, but didn’t always follow. Situationship, entanglement, comlicationships, they happen. When you’re on lockdown for 4 months and not seeing anyone, for some people, they don’t. This pandemic was the first time I was not put in any "question mark box" with guys. And this may be true for you too. You slowly run out of things to say on facetime, text slow down, and when you finally got the chance to break out of your house, you found yourself in no rush to make to future plans with whats-their-face. So now what? Well, you tell me.
The first thing to dating in a pandemic is that you have to be honest with yourself. What are you really looking for? This can range anywhere on the dating spectrum, which is great! But you have to figure that out before potentially exposing yourself to everything out there (and not just Covid).
Let’s state the facts, you’re putting yourself at risk. If your potential partner is outside of your bubble of people you’ve established as “safe” to see, you are initially putting yourself at risk.
That’s why you need to be honest with them too.
This pandemic has truly brought the dark ugly confusing truths to dating to light. When I met Dan, we told each other with no hesitation about what the deal was and if we intended to physically meet up with other people. Pre-Covid this may have been a really sticky situation to talk about with a person. But things are different now and questions like that are necessary for your health.
Covid made us start our relationship with our intentions clear.
Our initial dates started off differently from what we were used to as well. Well thought out dates with as little contact with people as possible: hiking, elaborate picnics in secluded parks, social distancing dinner dates, you name it! No quiet movie dates, no group hangouts, and we definitely weren’t eager to bring people to our houses right after quarantine. We had to get creative but it worked. If we truly weren’t into each other it wouldn’t have worked. We wouldn’t have wanted to put that much time and effort into our dates and truthfully, the lack of distractions really made us be present in the moments with our dates. Without the “noise” of everything else, you’ll know.
So if you’re ready to get back out there, go for it! Just be honest with yourself before and establish what you’re really looking for at this time and is it really worth the risk.
Tips for dating in a pandemic
Virtual is always the safest option. The most effective way to stay safe is to limit the amount of contact you have with people. If you’re looking to take things slow, start with virtual dates: play games, ask questions, make food! This is also a great way to get to know someone new with the cold coming before you initially meet them.
The unknown is a no. Do not be afraid to ask for honestly from the beginning. If you’re not getting a clear answer asking “are you socially distancing and limiting your contact with people?” Chances are there will be a lot of unclear answers in the future.
If you plan on exploring your options before getting exclusive, play it safe. Try to space out your dates 2 weeks apart to make sure you’re not sick or getting other people sick.
Keep your circle in mind. No one likes having their friends and family in their business, but with a vicious virus out there, it wouldn’t hurt to let them know you’re hanging out with someone new. For the first two weeks I started hanging out with Dan, I stopped seeing my friends in person and limited my time in common areas in my house. It was a hassle but was worth not having the stress and guilt of getting my loved ones sick.
Plan ahead for dates. I started going out on dates in the middle of the reopening process of NYC. There were still so many unknowns and a lot of easy date ideas closed. Our best dates were the ones we planned in advance. With a little bit of creativity and research, you can still find amazing dates in your area while keeping yourself safe. With the winter coming, outdoor dates will become less appealing and make it even more important to think ahead and communicate. Will you do dining indoors? traveling out of your area for dates?
Here are 10 great dates to do outside for the fall and winter
Outdoor dining (some restaurants are getting creative with personal bubbles and space heaters)
Go-kart racing (can also be indoors!)
Workouts/ bike rides
Highline / Hudson Yard
Here are 10 great dates to do inside
Paint and sip
Pottery classes (some places also offer private lessons)
Indoor rock climbing
Rage cage (plate smashing)