Remember that famous novel, Love in the Time of Cholera? Well, this blog is sort of about the same thing except it’s not necessarily about love and it has nothing to do with Cholera. So, it really isn’t the same story exactly, however, dating is involved which could lead to love. And if love does evolve, we could always change the name to Love During the Time of COVID-19, although that title may not necessarily appeal to a mass audience. Anyway, we digress. Our FirstLantic blog this week is about dating during a pandemic, staying safe while dating, and some tips on how you still might be able to find “the one.”
Number 1 – Test the Waters
If you are like many people, your first exposure to someone new is through a dating app. Once you actually find someone interesting, the second step is usually to meet face to face. Of course, that’s way more complicated that it used to be. So, you might need to find out the other person’s idea of an appropriate meeting. You can start with a simple question like, “What’s your definition of social distancing” which usually does the trick. Some people think that social distancing is no physical contact on a first date whereas someone else may not want to meet in person at all. Luckily, some dating apps will do the work for you. For example, Bumble now allows its users to add a badge to their profiles that signifies what kind of dates they’re comfortable with: virtual, socially distanced or socially distanced with a mask. Once you have determined what the threshold for a meeting actually is, then you can decide next steps.
Number 2 – What to do, what to do?
So, if you aren’t ready to meet in person yet, but you are interested in doing something fun together (but apart), what is the best way to go about it? Some interesting ideas for creative “dates” could be to have a Netflix party, a Zoom wine tasting, or even go on a virtual tour of a museum. These are great ways to have test out your compatibility and get to know each other. If you both are agreed on meeting in person, what can you do? Well, while drinks at a crowded bar or going to a movie are certainly out of the question, that doesn’t mean you can’t have drinks or dinner outside, pack a picnic and head to the beach or simply go a for a walk in the park. These are all activities that are safer because they are outside, but (spoiler alert) you should still wear a mask and remain six feet apart.
Number 3 – Getting a Little Closer
If you have already met in person and you actually want to get a little closer, that decision is going to require some pretty candid conversations. In the time of a pandemic, you might have to accept that spontaneity is not going to be the safest way to decide whether to be physical. In fact, the best thing to do is to both take a test and wait for the results. On Lex, which caters to the LBGTQ community, users often preface their personal ads with their Covid-19 or antibody test results, which eliminates a step. Once you know each other’s status then you can go in with your eyes open. That said, you are definitely increasing your risk. If someone tested negative at some point, that doesn’t mean they could not have been exposed to the virus at a later date and perhaps be asymptomatic. Consider your next move carefully as a brief physical encounter isn’t worth risking your life.
While dating can be challenging at the best of times, COVID-19 definitely adds some layers of complexity. That said, there are some silver linings. You don’t have to feel pressured to make it physical before you have had a chance to get to know each other. You might actually benefit from more conversation and the opportunity to understand the person better emotionally and intellectually before it goes any further. So, while this is definitely unchartered waters for all of us, you may find that a slower approach to dating can make it less complicated in the long run.