Starting a new relationship from scratch and maintaining it is a tricky thing to do in and of itself. Throw in a global pandemic that’s causing panic and havoc—and the inability to be physically close to someone—and things become much more complicated. It’s a game-changer in the world of dating.
Fortunately, we don’t need to stop dating and getting to know potential love partners all together. But we do need to change our approach to dating so that we stay safe during this medical crisis.
Dating and relationship expert, Susan Winter, shares why she believes that this is a great time to date and develop healthy intimate connections, because of the special circumstances we find ourselves in. She also offers safety tips we should follow when dating during this pandemic.
Seline: How has dating changed during the time of COVID-19?
Susan: Firstly, it has slowed our pace. We're not allowed to meet physically in person, so our entire way in which we meet and begin to build a relationship is now based upon communication which I think is one of the most wonderful things that could possibly happen.
I say that because if we're looking at the history of 20 years of a hookup culture, where you meet somebody, you're having drinks and you go home with them, then you try and figure out where you stand. That has proven to be chaotic.
And even though people think they're going to be safe and liberated, there’s always a repercussion. And it has nothing to do with the sense of a moral code. So, because we have been forced to be sequestered, we have had to deal with ourselves.
This is a time of massive self-reflection. I know everybody is in a life review. And I think that can't help, but spill over. know it has with my clients. What I'm seeing is that people are really reevaluating. What's important and they're being more mindful. They're being more purposeful.
At the same time COVID-19 has created an entire genre of people that are posting things on Craigslist to be a COVID partner with ads that say “I've got a sequester mate, I've got TV and you can come here and I don't have diseases. We'll hang out together. I don't want to be alone.”
But for the most part, those people that are consciously dating and going online are using this time period to gain additional tools of communication because they have been required to and that will help to build a solid foundation for a relationship.
Seline: In this age of social distancing, how can we get to know people where it's interested in dating? What is a safe way to do it?
Susan: I love video dating because you're not going to be catfished. The person has to look the way they look. They have to be who they say they are. There are still some parameters you don't know if they're really single, but there's a lot that they can't do like bog you down in a year long, online, virtual love affair. And this happens often to even sane, rational, mature, evolved. My clients have confessed to me that they’ve had an online crush, a virtual person, who refuses to see them.
During this time period, though we're sequestered, I think video dating apps are fabulous. If you're not comfortable with that, contact the people that you had something developing before we went into lockdown. It's a perfect excuse to see how they are doing and see if they are okay. Use this thing called the telephone. I know some people don't even have it set up, but call people to experience the warmth of their voice!
Seline: Yeah. That's definitely something we need to be doing more of! Lastly, what are some precautionary measures that people can take when they actually want to get physically close to someone, when they decide to take it to the next level and meet them in person?
Susan: We would hope that you follow whatever the current standards are of the day. And they do change from week to week. Maintain social distancing-you don't need to start making out. I know you've been alone for three months or whatever now, but, remember the way that you picked your pod, the bubble of people with whom you felt safe. Use a sense of discretion and discrimination and move slowly, even if you have an amazing connection. Take your time and get to know them, talk to them. This is an adjustment. If you want to kiss them, want to make out, you want to get close. There is a risk. I don't know the degree. It's a little riskier and so keep that in mind.
Seline: Would it be appropriate to ask them to do a COVID-19 test before getting intimate?
Susan: That would be cool but the problem nowadays is people can't get a hold of these tests. If you can, that's excellent. It would be the same as starting a serious relationship and saying, let's go get an STD test.
Susan Winter’s checklist for safe dating during the Coronavirus Pandemic:
Avoid being catfished and maintain social distancing by using Say Allo’s in-build video feature.