What Does It Mean To Date In The Age Of Coronavirus?
Have you heard? Social distancing is the thing to do right now. And, while it’s great for stopping the spread of COVID-19, the opposite can be said about your dating life.
Social distancing (read: very important, please stay home if you are able) has been hard on all of us. Attempting to maintain some sort of normal routine coupled with the unknown is difficult, as is staying in close contact with friends and family.
Maybe you just started to hit it off with someone new or maybe you had plans to go on a fourth date (which is monumental, by the way) when you received the news that staying in and keeping to yourself is the new vibe. Whatever the case may be, dating lives everywhere are undergoing major changes.
Add in trying to keep things going with people we were seeing or went on a few dates with before this all happened, and it’s…a lot. Still, it’s clear we need to connect digitally more than ever before, and some of us may want something (anything!) to think about, dwell on, and talk about other than coronavirus.
You’re probably feeling anxious, confused, and frustrated about what the future holds, especially as it pertains to your personal life. And if you’ve found yourself questioning what you should and shouldn’t be doing as it relates to dating while distancing, you’re in good company. Use this FAQ to get informed so you can make the right decisions.
1. If coronavirus makes assembling together in large groups unsafe, can I go out on a date? At least that’s one on one!
No, because even if one of you doesn’t appear to be ill, there’s a chance you’re still carrying the virus and spreading it unknowingly. Many of us want to continue as we normally would, but we have to remember that what’s happening right now isn’t normal. You will be able to return to your regularly scheduled dating eventually, but at this time, it’s important to continue social distancing. Your health and safety and the health and safety of those around you depend on it.
2. I just started dating someone new was excited to see where it would go. How do I keep the momentum going while we’re self-isolating?
We live in a digital age, so there’s no shortage of things you can do to stay in touch while apart. Of course, texting is great, but you can get more creative. Maybe you two can join a book club, have a Netflix party, get food delivered from the same restaurant and have a FaceTime dinner date, or do partner workouts via Zoom. We won’t tell you these things are the same as sitting within arm’s distance of one another, but they can help build chemistry and keep a connection until you are able to meet IRL.
3. Is it even worth chatting with and getting to know new people during this period of isolation?
Allow me take you back to Sociology 101. Human beings are innately social. Extended periods of social isolation can lead to loneliness, which negatively affects our health. In fact, the Younger Australian Loneliness Survey, which included 870 adults ages 18-25, found that loneliness is associated with “poorer mental health, higher inflammatory responses (i.e. bodily responses to disease and injury), and poorer cardiovascular health.” Not to be dramatic, but we need social interaction to survive and thrive. Sure, you’ve got some combination of friends, family, and your pets to talk to, but this is a great time to make new connections as well.
Thanks to dating apps, Twitter, Reddit, and the like, meaningful connections can be made anytime and anywhere. You can find people who share your interests, sense of humor, and, perhaps most importantly, sleep schedule. Online connections can be just as valuable as IRL ones, which is great in a time when IRL interaction is sparse.
4. Can I invite my new boo over so we can self-quarantine together for a little?
Please don’t. “You don’t know where they’ve been, and you don’t know who they’re going home to,” says Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Health. “They could be going home to a grandparent or someone whose immune system is more vulnerable than yours’ are.” And, again, one or both of you can be asymptomatic and spread the virus unconsciously. While the idea of self-quarantining together sounds great, the ramifications can be greater, especially when at least one of you goes back into the world. It’s best that the two of you keep it digital until things get better.
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